Can you feel it? That buzz in the air? As arrival day gets closer, it gets more difficult to tell whether it’s the hum of excitement or your stress levels. At this point, it’s probably a little bit of both.

For staff and campers alike, arrival day culminates weeks or even months of planning and anticipation. And no matter how much you’re looking forward to seeing those excited faces — and maybe some old friends who’ve been camping with you for years — it can be challenging.

Slow down, take a breath. And follow these top five tips to make arrival day easier for everyone.

Simplify Check-Ins

One of the most stressful things about arrival day is making sure all the baggage gets to the right bunk. In the past, you might have had parents helping. But if you’re not allowing families to walk around this year, that means even your littlest campers will be lugging their oversized duffel bags to their bunks — which means a lot of extra help from busy counselors.

This year, encourage families to ship their camper’s luggage straight to you. They can send baggage days in advance. Staff can deliver them to their bunks or beds on the schedule that works best for you. When campers arrive, their luggage will be waiting for them to unpack. 

On arrival day, your staff can focus on getting the kids settled, instead of the influx of dozens — or more — identical duffel bags.

And at the end of the session, campers can just as easily ship their stuff back home, making departure day as smooth as arrival day.

Leverage Social Media

YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are the perfect way to communicate with parents. Set camp guidelines, share packing lists, and ease campers’ nerves all at once.

Pictures, interviews with counselors, and even a walking tour of the grounds will create excitement for arrival day. At the same time, campers will know exactly what to expect and where to go, making that first day easier on all.

Designate a Hang-Out Area

Are you one of the many camps not allowing families out of the car this year? Safety-wise, it makes perfect sense. But for first-time or anxious campers, it won’t be easy to say good-bye to mom and dad and make the walk to their bunks on their own.

Help them adjust by setting up a hang-out area, preferably outdoors, where campers can meet staff and new friends. Make it a fun area with music, balloons, and a large welcome sign.

You can even set up activity stations to keep them busy. Arts and crafts, Mad Libs, or anything else that requires less supervision from already-stretched-thin staff would be ideal.

Post Signs Everywhere

Campers have a lot to take in on the first day, which means constantly asking questions to staff. And as much as your counselors want to be helpful and informative, this is the year to cut back as much as possible on multiple interactions.

Try to anticipate camper’s questions — especially if parents aren’t allowed to walk around with them. Post directions, simple rules, locations of main areas, and reminders to social distance at regular intervals outside. 

And post your COVID-19 rules inside sleeping areas and bathrooms; it’s surprising how easily kids forget!

Promote Outdoor Fun

The Great Outdoors is one of the main reasons kids love camp. And this year, we can agree that the less time spent indoors, the better. That includes check-in day.

Plus, even the most cautious kids have a hard time remembering all the COVID-19 rules (no high fives!). And your staff can’t be expected to monitor all of the accommodations to make sure they’re sticking to policies.

Try to keep the kids outdoors as much as possible, especially the first few hours. They’re still adjusting to new ways of interacting with their buddies. A little extra space will help.

Making friends and memories: your camp will be the highlight of your campers’ summers. And starting off with an easy, stress-free arrival day will set the tone for the rest of their session.

This sponsored blog was provided by LugLess.

Periodically, the American Camp Association (ACA) makes timely and relevant information about products and services available to its members so they can make informed decisions for their camps. However, the ACA does not endorse products, services, or companies.