Care packages are increasingly becoming an unwelcome feature at camps for a number of reasons, from the jealousy and competition between campers over the packages they receive and their contents and the waste those packages produce.
Camp Alleghany for Girls in West Virginia recently put a ban in place on the practice, noting that the move is in line with industry trends (camps like Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert in Minnesota and Gold Arrow Camp in California have had bans in place for years).
Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, the camp’s assistant director, explains the thinking behind the new policy in a recent blog post.
“I know parents can identify with the frustrations of our increasingly abundant society, where cheap and available goods are constantly marketed to us, making us feel like the sign of good parenting — especially when we’re separated from our kids — is found in pouring on the little gifts.
We think the kids will love the gifts but soon find the little items discarded, forgotten, and just another source of clutter and trash!
The same thing happens here at camp — except times 200! The negative side effects are many.”
She goes on to quote the camp’s Parent Handbook:
“The subject of packages, including who was receiving them and what was in them, began causing jealousy and unnecessary competition, as well as an influx of excessive and wasted “stuff” that hampered the camp experience.
In an effort to celebrate the unique, simple lifestyle that camp allows and to promote unity within the camp family…we encourage you to use creative ways of interacting with your camper through non-package letters, such as including word puzzles, a comic clipping from the newspaper, riddles, and pictures.”