Parents Who Insist On Sending Forbidden Care-Packages To Their Children At Camp Are Being Ridiculous

shutterstock_146763233__1374431480_142.196.156.251Go through any camper’s mail, and apparently you will find elaborate systems for sneaking in junk and other forbidden items. Many camps have banned the “care-package” for a variety of reasons and some parents just aren’t having it.

From The New York Times:

In camp after camp, directors described how they had outlawed such packages after getting fed up with hypercompetitive parents sending oversize teddy bears and bathtubs of M&M’s.

And they’re not alone. Across the country, sleep-away programs of all sizes are fighting back against overzealous status-mongers.

Not taking this in stride, parents have turned to increasingly elaborate smuggling routines, from hollowing out Harry Potter books to burrowing holes in tennis balls to get their little dumplings a taste of the checkout aisle.

What a great lesson to teach your children; you don’t have to listen to authority and you can get around rules by using intricate methods of deception. Also, if anyone asks you about these packages, lie! Good job, parents.

Why would any parent absolutely need to send their child a care-package? Camps insist that the packages are usually filled with junk food. This makes children less hungry for meals, attracts vermin, and promotes jealousies amongst children who aren’t receiving them. I understand it’s nice to receive news from home, but wouldn’t kids be happy receiving letters, too? Why do we always have to give our kids “stuff” to make them happy? And if the only thing that makes them happy is “stuff,” wouldn’t they do well to be without it for a few weeks when they’re at camp?

“We get parents who call us up and say: ‘Oh, my God, my kid is in a bunk with someone who gets a care package every single day. We have to keep up.’ ”

No, you don’t. Explain to your kids that it isn’t allowed and you want to respect the rules of the camp. If we’ve come to a place where we feel like we need to bribe our kids with stuff to be happy, we’re failing big-time.

If our kids are getting jealous because someone is getting junk and they’re not, it’s a pretty good life lesson; there will always be someone who has more shit than you. I guess the earlier they learn that, the better.

(photo: dnaveh/ Shutterstock)

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    • Cee

      Ugh at parents breaking the rules for unhealthy purposes! A couple of years ago, I supervised kindergarten students and there was a parent that would come every day and bring her child fast food lunch EVERY day! I mean, I get it, school lunch sucks but if you’re gonna send “care packages” or something special, send them because you really care about your child’s well being whether it is health (sending a healthy snack) or emotional (sending their blanket or night light for comfort). Hollowing out a book for junk?! SMDH

      • Paul White

        I kind of have to say “ug” at parents complaining about having to keep up with the people sending care packages too though! Holy crap, learning to deal with some people getting care packages while you don’t sounds like a good life skill to have…

      • Rachel

        When did care packages get to be such a thing? I remember when I was at camp–it was basically a note, a book, and maybe some candies to share with all my new friends. I had no idea there was a contest over it. Does anyone know if this was always the case, or is this just a new thing that came about when my materialistic generation came of age and had their own kids.

      • http://www.facebook.com/RetiredSceneQueen Emmali Lucia

        I’m thinking it was the materialistic generation.

        But then again I have never heard of this happening at the girl scout camp I went to. I think that might be because out in Oregon if you bring candy into your tent a raccoon WILL attack your face, we had a bear that would get into the dumpster occasionally, once or twice at the camp we all had to sleep in the lodge because of that bear.

        I remember sneaking snacks into the camp because I was a little shit, I actually got sent home because of it (I also got in a verbal altercation with one of the girl’s there because of it).

      • Cee

        True true

    • Gangle

      Why the hell do kids need a ‘care package’ whilst on camp with people you just paid to look after them anyway? Were the parents incapable of making sure their kid was packed off with all the stuff they need?
      I was in the scouting movement as a kid, not to mention school camps etc. The only care package I received on any of those trips was on a 3 week camp. I got a letter from my parents, a birthday card and some sweeties to share with my friends because I had a birthday whilst I was on camp. I remember one girl whose parents insisted on sending regular care packages, even on short camps that lasted less than a week. She was totally embarrassed.
      The whole point of camping etc is to learn some independence and self-sufficiency.

      • Paul White

        some of it may be length of camp. The longest scout camp I ever did was a week at Philmont (which ROCKED). But for multi week camps? I can kind of see sending a card and a small pack of a favorite treat or something

      • Gangle

        A card and a favourite treat on a long, multi-week camp isn’t bad, particularly if it is a young child who hasn’t been away from home or their parents before, and may be home-sick, but I don’t think it is always necessary. I started going on multi-week camps when I was twelve. I don’t think I needed a care-package to get through it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      Imagine what these parents will be trying to send to their kids when they’re in prison, because they were raised to believe the rules didn’t apply to them and they could do whatever the hell they wanted.

    • Sara610

      Isn’t the whole point of sending kids away to camp that they develop some independence and learn to function without being attached at the hip to Mommy and Daddy?

    • Andrea

      My kids camp has banned packages all together. NONE AT ALL. There is to be NO PACKAGES. If you defy this and send one anyone, they will throw in the trash. They are upfront about this and to tell you the truth, I absolutely LOVE that rule. It takes all the pressure off.

    • Wha wha

      Word. I used to work at a summer camp that did not allow any food in packages. Campers had to open them in front of me, and I confiscated any “goodies.” Parents sewed candy into novelty pillows, into the hems of shorts, filled a carton of contact solution with the tidbits. The kids got a good lesson: their parents were not perfect; the rules did apply to them; and when rules were broken, someone else would likely benefit (in this case, the counselor room, which was the depository for the candy).

      Still, though, I was very surprised that parents who would spend upwards of $8k for their kids to attend a camp for which a major component was character development would so blatantly ignore the rules.

      • http://www.facebook.com/RetiredSceneQueen Emmali Lucia

        They would sew candy into pillows?

        The hell is -wrong- with those people?

    • Rachel

      I wish parents like that could just take a step backward and consider how lame their behavior is.
      I really have a special antipathy for people who assume that the rules come with some magical footnote that excludes them. It annoys me even more when it’s parents who act like that, because entitled parents just feed the ‘anti-child’ circles. I can cut some slack for people who do it for reasons that are slightly understandable, but care-package one-upmanship is just pathetic.

    • Blahblah

      Kids got care packages? My Mom gave me a handful of quarters for the pay phone, my asthma inhaler, and a kiss. See you in two weeks, honey!

      Seriously though, it irritates me that they’re ruining books to sneak in junk food. The kids don’t need it, I promise. If you want to send something, send a deck of cards so they can play a game with their new friends. Or a lovely letter saying you hope they’re having a great time and you love them. There.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      Once at a weekend camping trip with the girls scouts we had some moms who were camping with their daughters–these were not leaders just moms who could not bare to spend 2 nights away from their children. And they were really prissy sort of moms too, the types who bring not only their make up cases for a weekend camping but also their manicure kits as well. Cause you know you have to have perfectly manicured toes to shove into a hiking boot.
      We were all camping in platform tents and one of the big rules is NO FOOD IN THE TENTS! It not only attracts bugs and mice but also larger animals like raccoon and bears. In fact at this particular camp we also ask parents who are driving and staying the night not to leave food, even un-open food like a bag of chips, in their cars because bears can still smell it and they can break open the window of your car to get to it. And there are bears in this area along with wild boars too. That is why it’s called the woods. But this camp does have a very nice cafeteria and we would be happy to store what ever food you brought there.
      Well these moms did not believe us, and how dare we–the experienced campers–tell them that their little precious sweeties can not have food in their tents. What if their little princess wakes up in the middle of the night and wants a snack? Well they found out the hard way when around 1am in the morning a trio of raccoons found their way to their tent, slipped in in under the tent flapped and went to town tearing up their stuff trying to find the delicious hidden stash of food these moms were keeping in their backpack.
      They were screaming bloody murder and freaking out. The poor girls I’m sure were scarred for life. The moms were pissed beyond all reason and insisted on leaving right then and there. They were threaten to sue the Girl Scouts for putting them in a dangerous situation. Never mind the fact that they were told, often and repeatedly, not to have food in the tents. They even signed a Camp Rules document that stated they understood and agreed to abide by the camp rules. They are lucky it wasn’t a bear.

      • http://www.facebook.com/RetiredSceneQueen Emmali Lucia

        The same thing happens time and time again at the girlscout camp I went to. They were even thinking of getting rid of “Mommy and Me” for that reason. It’s ridiculous

    • Rachel Sea

      When I worked at a summer camp kids got care packages, but it was infrequent, and they were always packed with the thought of being a treat for the whole cabin, like a couple loaves of grandma’s zucchini bread, or mom’s cookies. When major storm fronts were headed our way we got more packages with joke books, and playing cards. There was actual care that went into making them. I hope the one-upmanship is an isolated and dying trend. Care packages done right can be sweet comfort to a homesick kid.

    • Marian Dreaver

      How dare they hollow out a Harry Potter book. That’s a sin in my book.