Expert Advice: Labeling
Each year we publish a series of blogs to help our families prepare for camp. We understand that getting ready for camp can be stressful and at times overwhelming. But we have experience to offer and want to share with you all the tips, tricks, and secrets to making getting ready for camp exciting and fun. In our blog series “Expert Advice” we will be sharing our strategies and advice with you.
The topics vary year to year, but this one is the same each year- labeling. At the end of the summer, we load up our vehicles with our personal items, our offices, and what seems like the entire camp’s clothing and gear to bring back to our Chicago office. Sadly the car space is not equally divided and we have more of other people’s belongings than our own. Lost and found is unavoidable and we know that. But we need your help so once things are found they can be returned. This year, instead of calling it lost and found, we are closing the loop and calling it “Lost, Found, and Returned,” and there are some ways you can help:
The easiest way for our campers keep all their belongings is to label all of their belongings – every single item. This includes all clothing (even socks, underwear and shoes), towels, cameras, and any other possessions you sent to camp. If there is an item you think doesn’t need labeling, label it anyway- better to over-label than not label enough. Labeling can be as simple as legibly writing your camper’s name (or first initial and last name) on tags of clothing with a permanent marker, or you can purchase labels with your camper’s name on them. We have two preferred vendors that you can purchase labels through: Mabel’s Labels or Label Daddy, both of which carry a wide variety of sewn, iron-on and sticky labels, and both of whom donate a portion of all proceeds back to Camp Chi.
LOST, FOUND, AND RETURNED
The concept is pretty basic; not complex at all in fact. Caught up in the fun and excitement of the camp day, campers often leave sweatshirts, towels, and more behind after a fun hour of activities. Each day we collect items that are left throughout camp. Then we search high and low, inside and out for any sign of a label. If we find a label and it is readable, we separate it into the labeled pile. Anything where we cannot find a label or if we cannot decipher the label goes into an unlabeled pile. The labeled pile is then divided by village and returned to each camper, and they live happily ever after. The unlabeled pile’s fate has a much less happy ending. The unlabeled clothes are displayed for the whole camp to see, items can be claimed, and then whatever is left gets donated. But together we can avoid the parade of items if EVERY SINGLE ITEM IS LABELED.
There are plenty of other tips and tricks for labeling and lost and found (and returned). For example, if a camper never tells their counselor or any staff that an item is missing, we can’t look for it. And it is helpful for campers to help with packing, so they know what items they have, but we’ll save that for the next edition of Expert Advice!