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Summer camp survival guide

 

Leaving the ’rents behind and heading off for the first time to that overnight odyssey we all know as sleepaway camp? Don’t stress, bunk-bed beginner! GL’s gotcha covered with six tips you’ve got to know before you go!

#1 Hit “Preview”
Scared of the unknown? Don’t be! You can get familiar with your new summer digs early on by taking a tour of the camp before your session begins. Have the ’rents schedule a visit, then let the staff show you around the place. On the first day of camp, ’steada wandering around the lakeside in circles in search of your cabin’s canoe lesson, you’ll be able to help other clueless campers with your swimming-hole sonar.

#2 Pack Attack

Your camp will most likely provide you with a list of bring-along basics—windbreaker, flashlight, flip-flops, bug spray. Follow that list to the letter…then pack extra! Not only will you be glad for the spare pair of sneaks when you ruin yours creek-running, but you can’t have too many clean undies, y’know? There are also a bunch of extras that can make bunk life more beautiful without puttin’ too much junk in the trunk:
 
*Fun foods (like lemonade mix, powdered cocoa and Cup o’ Noodles)
*A decent outfit or two (never know who you’ll see at the dance!)
*Products, products, products (your camp store probably doesn’t stock your to-die-for conditioner or fave lip gloss)
*Memory-makers (a journal, address book and camera are a good start)
*Rainy-day fun (jacks, an MP3-player or a good old-fashioned read)
*Stationery and stamps (They might be gettin’ on your nerves now, but your parents probably deserve some mail, right?)

#3 Twice the Fun

You don’t need a busload of buds to have fun around the fire—camp life can be awesome with just one really cool friend. Besides giving you someone to share care packages with, a close pal can make wake-up call wackier, mess hall zanier and lights-out less lonely. So, after you arrive, seek out a friendly face and try to make contact. Even the shy know how to say, “Hi.”

#4 In on the Action
A big part of camp experience is doing stuff you could never do at home. Mastering new skills ups your confidence and helps you learn more about your abilities. So try archery! Throw pottery! Take up kayaking! When you get home, not only will you be a braver, bolder you, you’ll have awesome stories to tell about scaled mountains and woven lanyards.

#5 Mean Girls
You might find that, in your bunk, there’s a person—or, worse, a group— you don’t get along with. If this happens, don’t panic. Living in such close quarters can sometimes bring out the worst in people, and a little friction is not a big deal. Don’t waste your time kickin’ conflicts up to WWE levels. The best thing you can do is take the high road and ignore any bunkmate baddies.

#6 The Homesick Blues   
Even with all the s’mores and hot dogs a person can stomach, a gal can get misty over missing home-cookin’. Make your bunk feel like home by decorating with pics of the fam, friends and favorite stars. When you’re dozin’ off, you’ll feel like they’re watching over you. Also, keep a journal. Spilling your emotions out on paper can keep you on an even keel when your feelings are flying outta control. Plus, you’ll have a written record of your summer…one that’ll keep being more and more fun!

BY GABRIELLE STREEP ON 7/31/2008 7:00:00 AM

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