The Caring Care Package

Delicious desserts!

With the excitement, and vitriol, generated by the recent “The Care Package Wars” in The New York Times last Sunday—we wanted to help parents navigate the world of Sanborn care packages.  We allow parents to send packages, and we allow them to send food (read: candy)—but we have a few tips to help your campers keep their focus on their friends, fun and adventure in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and not on the mountain of crumbling cookies occupying the living room.

1.  Like the ancient Greeks, we are seeking to create an idyllic environment where we can discover meaning and order in both the natural world, in ourselves and in our larger community.  To live together in the outdoors building a sense of self, a sense of community, a sense of the earth and a sense of wonder through fun and adventure is a mission Socrates could get behind. If parents can also practice the mantra of “nothing in excess”, we very well could avoid large scale Greek tragedies involving Swedish fish.

2.  Your child has his/her own personal pastry chef (she likes to be called a baker…but it is all semantics when you live in the woods).  Remember the cookies and delicious breads you ate on Opening Day?  Vickie makes them and they are celebrations in baking at elevation.  In our cookies, cakes, breads and other delicious delights are ingredients that are not only identifiable, but are not terrible for you in small quantities (like a single cookie after lunch and dinner).  See number #1

3.  No matter what the letter says, your child will not die without Cocoa Crispies at breakfast.  We promise.

4.  Exponential growth is real.  Consider the following math problem, as care packages increase (roughly by 105% per day), the sample mouse/rodent population ALSO increases roughly 105%.  At Big Spring, where the care packages are stored in the only bear-proof buildings on the ridges—the washhouses—this problem becomes much larger when the washhouse door is inadvertently left ajar.

Save the Squirrels!

5.  Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics.  When aforementioned mice and bears become addicted to Twizzlers, Twix bars, and Pringles, they cease to eat what they are actually supposed to—thus leading to wide-scale environment imbalance and upheaval to the local Montane lifezone.  We do not want to be responsible for mice that are permanently altered, or 9 feet tall, because of their ingestion of GMO’s…we prefer that the Ninja squirrels just steal cookies off of the trays during the Million Dollar buffet.

6.  Another math problem: Elizabeth writes a letter to the following people:  Mom and Dad, Granma Allen, Aunt Sissie, Uncle Mark and her best friend, Alice.  In each letter, Elizabeth says, “Camp is great, but I would LOVE to get a package containing Pringles, Oreo’s and some gum.”  Each of said letter recipients mails requested package.  If every other child in Elizabeth’s cabin (total: 19) writes the exact same number of letters and has the exact same recipient response, how many care packages will arrive at the cabin by the end of the month? That’s right, it’s a little crazy.

6.  No matter what the letter says, your child is not starving to death.  We promise.

7.  Great care package ideas that encourage authentic connection, fun and sharing:

For girls:

  • Embroidery floss and beads for friendship bracelet making
  • Henna kits for hand decoration
  • A ready-made “party in a box”
  • Books/magazines to share and read aloud
  • Mad Libs
  • Board games/playing cards
  • Other fun (small) collectable items like puzzle erasers, inexpensive bracelets,  temporary tattoos, or silly headbands/hair decorations
  • Hair Chalk, nail polish and other fancy group dress-up fun
  • Glo-sticks (bracelets/necklaces)
  • Stickers and the Sunday Comics
  • Cool shirt or Sanborn accessory from the online Camp Cloz store

For Boys:

  • Small Legos (Chima racers are cool…)
  • Cards/Board Games (Brain Teaser games like Rush Hour, or Block by Block, Magic are awesome)
  • Water blasters (foam tube kind)
  • Hammock
  • Bubbles/Putty/or Goop stuff that makes gross noises
  • Pocket knife or cool multi-tool (if age appropriate)
  • Zany sunglasses or other costume accessories
  • Kazoos and whistles (Big Spring staff might not be pleased…)
  • Frisbees/kites/unique outdoor games
  • Books/magazines to read aloud
  • Animal/Wacky T-shirts

8.  If you do send food or cookies, please make sure your camper knows that the food is to share.   At the end of camp, all of the campers donate their leftover care package items to the “Buddha Bowl” (the Buddha has a zen-like, round presence who makes an excellent role model when we are trying to pack over 300 children in a three hour period).

In many ways we are  “dinosaur” camp as well, because we know how fun it is for a child to see his/her name on the “package list” in the lodge…yet we also know that a newsy, fun, handwritten letter—or a few photos printed from the camp website–will beat the heck out of Oreo’s any day of the  week.

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