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.

 

Luggage

 

  • 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.

 

Labels

 

  • 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.

 

Shoes

 

  • 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.

 

Climate

 

  • 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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Bears’ Adventure

Bears’ Adventure

A kid today can likely tell you about the Amazon rain forest – but not about the last time he or she explored the woods in solitude, or lay in a field listening to the wind and watching the clouds move.
-Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

At GAC, “getting outside to experience the awe of nature” is one of our core values. Many of our campers, who primarily live in cities or suburbs, have never had the opportunity to live in and experience nature up close. The rustic set-up of our living areas, which are large tents on wood platforms, allows campers the feeling of being close to nature throughout their stay at camp. With no electricity (and the distractions inherent with being plugged into technology), campers truly get to experience living outdoors. From their tents, campers can hear birds chirping, the water running in the creek, and the breeze rustling the tree branches. Evenings include relaxing chats and stories around the campfire while the sun sets and the stars come out overhead.

 

Campers experience the wonder of nature from the moment they arrive at camp, but there’s just nothing quite like being really far from “civilization” and even further out into nature. Because we’ve experienced how life-changing it is for campers, getting our campers even deeper into the woods is also a priority. With even fewer distractions than what they experience at main camp, our backpacking program serves the purpose of getting our campers completely immersed in nature. For campers who have completed 4th-6th grades (our “Tigers” age group), their cabin group is scheduled for a one-night overnight backpacking trip. Campers get to experience exploring, sleeping, cooking, and living in an even more rustic setting than their camp tent home. I wrote about one of these magical Tigers’ backpacking trips in my post, “Nature Pees and Lanyard Fishing Poles.” Our older campers, the Lions and Eagles (who’ve completed 7th-9thgrades), have the option of signing up for a backpacking trip, one of the most popular choice options for their free choice days

But a highlight of the two-week session for our youngest campers (grades K-3), and their version of “backpacking,” is Bears’ Adventure. This one-night trip allows campers to experience sleeping outdoors under the stars and cooking over a campfire. Campers’ luggage is taken for them to the campsite, so they are not technically “backpacking,” because they have no pack to carry. With just their water bottle and their positive attitudes, they set out from camp singing and talking on their hike. Once they get to their destination, which feels far from camp (although it is less than a mile away), they are rewarded with a spectacular view of Huntington Lake and the surrounding wilderness area. They truly get the feeling that they have been on a long, adventurous hike.

The best part of Bears’ Adventure is the free time kids get to play and explore the area. For many campers, the longer sticks provide the perfect start to a fort. Others enjoy laying on their sleeping bags talking with friends or silently watching clouds move overhead. Some participate in crafts and games while enjoying being outdoors. For many of these kids, Bears’ Adventure is their first experience “roughing it,” and they absolutely love it.

When they hike back into camp the morning after their Adventure, our Bears’ campers stand a little taller. And their dirty, smiling faces are the best indication that they have experienced the awe of nature.

 

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