Campfire Notes

How To Pack For Camp

How To Pack For Camp

Packing for camp is the start of your child’s independent camp experience. Please have your child participate in packing for camp so that he/she knows where to find their clothing and other items. Campers who don’t participate in packing often don’t know what they have or where to find things at camp, which makes it harder to get acclimated to camp. Click HERE for the PDF formatted packing list.




  • For our two-week (and longer) sessions, we recommend campers pack in two pieces of luggage. One larger piece (soft-sided trunk or footlocker) can be used for most of the camper’s clothing. A smaller duffle bag can be used for sleeping bag, pillow, and other equipment that doesn’t fit in the main piece of luggage. The smaller duffle bag will be used for travel to and from Shaver Lake. For campers traveling by air and coming with only one piece of luggage, a backpack or small sport-sized duffle bag can be packed within your main bag and used for the Shaver trip. A small backpack is also useful for carrying a towel, shower supplies, or other equipment around the camp.


  • All luggage must be tagged with camper’s name. We will send luggage tags one month prior to your child’s session. Additional luggage tags will be available at the bus stops and camp on the first day of each session.




  • All of your camper’s clothing and belongings must be clearly labeled with your camper’s full name. Items that are not labeled are unlikely to be returned to your camper after being sent to our camp laundry or if lost in the cabin or around camp.




  • Our terrain at camp is rough and uneven, and appropriate footwear is a safety requirement. Please make sure your camper has at least one pair of closed-heal and closed-toe shoes that have adequate tread for walking on rocks, dirt, and other uneven surfaces. Running shoes, hiking shoes, or other athletic footwear work well at camp, as long as they fit the camper well and have adequate tread. Other types of shoes (flip flops, Crocs, Converse, etc.) can be worn in the cabin and at the waterfront, but closed-heal, closed-toe shoes must be worn while walking around camp, participating in activities, and traveling to and from camp.


Little Ones


  • For younger campers, we recommend placing outfits in large zip lock bags or rolling outfits together. Roll together a t-shirt, shorts, underwear, and socks to create one outfit.




  • Gold Arrow Camp is located at 7000 feet elevation, and our night time, mountain temperatures can get very chilly. Be sure your camper’s sleeping bag is rated to at least 30o (or lower), so that your camper will be warm at night. Sleeping bags used for indoor, overnight sleeping are not sufficiently insulated for camp use.


What Not To Bring


  • Do not send any of these items, as they are not allowed: food, candy (including gum), cash, water guns, silly string, water balloons, sling shots (or any other weapons), electronic games, cell phones, fireworks, knives, matches, lighters, tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs. Items such as cell phones, iPods, game boys, etc. will be sent home and the postage will be charged to the camper’s store account. For campers traveling by air, iPods, cell phones, and travel money can be held in our office.


  • Do not send valuable items such as expensive cameras and jewelry. We recommend campers use a disposable camera marked with their name. These can be purchased in the camp store.


  • Send old clothes that do not require dry cleaning or special washing. Laundry is done once per session. Do not purchase new or irreplaceable items for camp, as they could get lost.


  • Please do not send any personal athletic equipment (water skis, fishing poles, etc.). We provide top quality equipment that is sized for our campers.

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A Grateful Family Is A Happy Family: Five Gratitude Practices

A Grateful Family Is A Happy Family: Five Gratitude Practices

Creating a grateful family culture is a challenge in our entitled, indulgent age. Yet much research has confirmed what we intuitively know – practicing gratitude and being grateful are keys to a happier life. Therefore, it’s well worth our consistent and continued effort as parents to model and teach our kids to practice gratitude. While I’ve researched and written about gratitude quite a bit, my family still has a long way to go to live as truly grateful people. So, as we enter this Thanksgiving week, I am once again doubling down my efforts to promote gratitude in my family. After all, if we constantly dwell on what’s going wrong in our lives and in the world (and stay focused on what we don’t have), we are left feeling anxious, empty, and depressed. But when we take time to count our blessings, we shift our mindsets and become happier, more grateful people.

For those of you who, like me, would like to create a more grateful family culture, here are five family gratitude practices you might try. If your family is like mine, they will most likely only agree to participate in one or two of these, so choose one that resonates for you and go for it! (Just tell them it’s required before they get to eat their turkey.)

Daily Gratitude Sharing

Just like we do with our Highs and Lows at dinner, we can get into the habit of sharing, as a family, one (or more) things we’re grateful for. This can be at family dinner, on the car ride to school, at bedtime, or whatever time works best with your family’s schedule. Just make it a daily habit and everyone will get used to it. When we’ve tried this, it seems to eventually warrant some kind of guidelines about what types of things are “shareable.” For example, being thankful for a particular video game might be appropriate to share once, but it’s best to encourage everyone to share about people and events (rather than things) they are grateful for.

Gratitude Jar or Board

This can be an ongoing family gratitude practice, perhaps kicked off at Thanksgiving and ending on New Year’s Eve. For the jar, people jot down things they are grateful for and put the notes inside. On a specified day (end of the year is good!), empty the jar and read the notes so the whole family can reflect on individual and group blessings. A board is a more visual way to show thanks. Simply tack the notes up as you think of things you’re thankful for. For my family, whether doing the jar or the board, I think I would have a “minimum daily or weekly requirement” of one note per person, just so we make it a habit and fill up our jar or board.

Thankful “Warm Fuzzies” at Thanksgiving

This is one of my favorite activities and something we’ve done for the past few years. Each family member and visiting friend has an oversized place card at their dining spot. Throughout the afternoon and evening, people are required to write something they appreciate or are grateful for about each person on the inside of their place card. It can be just a few words or a whole sentence, but each person needs to write on everyone’s card. These are really fun keepsakes that provide a nice boost to each family member. This can also be done as a group by passing the cards around until each person has signed each other person’s card. When your own card gets back to you, you’ve completed your warm fuzzies!

Gratitude Journal

This is an activity we did as a family a few years ago. We had a lot of fun creating the journals, but we didn’t keep up with writing in them regularly, so I’m going to call us failures at gratitude journals. However, I’m going to dust off my journal and put it on my bedside table so that I can write three things I’m thankful for each day. But I’m not going to force anyone else to write in their journals. I think sharing out loud, at dinner or bedtime (see #1), is better for kids who don’t enjoy writing. Perhaps a good alternative would be a family gratitude journal, completed by a parent or designated scribe, when everyone’s sharing what they’re grateful for. That would be similar to the gratitude jar or gratitude board.

Giving to Others

Perhaps the best way to promote gratitude in our children and ourselves is reaching out and serving others who are less fortunate. There are so many opportunities this time of year (and all year long, for that matter) to participate in collection and delivery of food, toys for children, winter coats, and more. There are so many needy people, and reaching out to help others not only makes us more kind and compassionate, but also more appreciative of what we have.


There are so many ways to build up our gratitude muscles, and helping our kids learn to be more grateful people can have a life-long positive impact. Here’s to an attitude of gratitude during the holidays!


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more about positive parenting, visit Audrey’s blog, Sunshine Parenting, or follow her on Facebook or Pinterest for links to other articles and ideas about camp and parenting. Thank you for reading and have a happy day with your kids! Happy Thanksgiving!

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