Uniquely You

Recently a friend shared how her family’s roadtrips were unique. Turns out that instead of playing the license plate game Recipe that's uniquely you - Letters to Camp Blogor losing themselves in their iPhones, her family reads stories to each other. They take long roadtrips so we’re talking about whole books. Her family looks forward to their unique way of taking roadtrips. Each roadtrip reinforces the family’s unique and fun traditions.

I’m sure that that you have many special shared family traditions of your own. Perhaps you have a funny name for something. Or unusual nicknames for each other. Or amusing family stories that you enjoy sharing again and again. For example, in our family, we have a slightly offbeat sense of humor and we love to talk about our dog’s many [imaginary] adventures, such as when he starts attending P.U. (Puppy University). These are but a few of the things that make your family unique and that build a strong and lasting relationship between you and your children.

So when you’re thinking about what to include in your next letter, consider mixing in a bit of… you – your family’s unique shared habits, nicknames, history etc. Use nicknames. Tell stories. Continue your family traditions with your camper. I can guarantee that your child will enjoy it as you share the unique bond between you and your camper.


Txting Lttrs 2 Cmp

Sometimes, to do something different, sometimes you have to do something less. Less typing, less writing – i.e., fewer letters. As in fewer alphabet letters.

Abbreviations can be a god-send for parents with way too much to share in just one page (that’s the limit at our camp). And kids love the texting abbreviations they use with their friends too. Not that they’ll want to share with you.  But they may get a kick out of an abbreviated email from you. Or not. But you won’t know until you try… WTG (way to go)!

Check out the sample letter (with translation) below:

The Letter


Sup?  We’re having a good summer so far IMHO – even though it’s lonely without u.  WBU?  How is camp?  R u having fun meeting new kids?  What’s ur favorite activity?

OATUS, Sparky the dog was chasing his tail last night and it was so funny Dad and I were ROFL. LOL, it was funny!  SFSG with his potty training – no mess yet. LOL!

BTW, IDK about u, but IDC if I ever have turnips again because they are gross!  JK – As if I’d ever ever eat turnips!

JTLYK, Dad and I are going on a trip to NYC next week to see what it’s like to be in a small city.  LOL. OMG I am so funny.  NM, that was lame.  Wuteva… Anywho, we’re GTG, so I’ll say bibi.  BISLY



We love you. TTYL



B4 I forget – wtg on winning the swim meet!

The  Translation

Dear Daughter,

What’s up?  We’re having a good summer so far in my humble opinion – even though it’s lonely without you.  What about you?  How is camp?  Are you having fun meeting new kids?  What’s your favorite activity?

On a totally unrelated subject, Sparky the dog was chasing his tail last night and it was so funny Dad and I were rolling on the floor laughing. Laugh-out-loud, it was funny!  So far, so good with his potty training – no mess yet. Laughing out loud!

By the way, I don’t know about you, but I don’t care if I ever have turnips again because they are gross!  Just kidding – as if I’d ever ever eat turnips!

Just to let you know, Dad and I are going on a trip to NYC next week to see what it’s like to be in a small city.  Oh my god I am so funny.  No matter, that was lame.  Whatever… Anywho, we’ve got to go, so I’ll say bye bye.  But I still love you.

See you, er see you later

We love you. Talk to you later



B4 I forget – way to go on winning the swim meet!



What Not To Write – Dear Emily…

The toughest letter: the day after dropoff or visiting day

For many northern camps, today is the Monday morning after visiting day or the day after second/third session drop-off. Since this Monday can be a challenging one for many parent letter-writers, we’re taking a break from the usual suggestions on what TO write to your camper. Instead, take a look at the following letter to  see a few obvious pitfalls to avoid (at least we hope they’re obvious!). See the bottom of the post for more on what TO write. 

Dearest, Dearest Emily,

Your counselor told us that you were the most homesick camper they’ve ever seen. She said that your crying was keeping your bunk awake at night and that your letter-writing wasn’t leaving much time to take advantage of great camp activities like parasailing, parachute class, and hang-gliding. She said that, with all of your tears, your 24-pack of tissues ran out before the first week.

It’s only natural for you to be homesick since Mom and I, the centers of your life, are not there with you. We know that Mom’s cooking is so much better than camp’s. We understand that your bed at home is safe from the lizards and alligators that swim in the swamp your camp calls a “pond” and the ginormous black bears that stalk the nearby forest. We realize that your bunkmates are the meanest, nastiest, smelliest, and disgustingist  girls on the east coast, if not the whole wide world.

We get that your bunk counselors are meaner than army drill sergeants. And yes, yes, yes, we know that girls like you should never ever ever ever have to make their own beds, fold their clothes, swab the floors, clean the toilet, or scrub the front steps. We know how horrible it is to be limited to 10 pieces of candy a day. We’re sorry that you couldn’t bring 5 trunks of your favorite clothes to camp. And of course we understand that you can’t find a single activity you like among the camp’s 50 different skills, land sports, water-sports, swimming, horseback riding, computer class, theater, singing, dancing, ballet, art, cooking, archery, fencing, woodshop, nature, hiking, and creative writing elective activities. We understand. Really, we do. But that’s what camp is all about and we know you’ll have a great time anyways.

You will get over your homesickness. Then again, maybe you won’t. Actually, we’re kind of happy to know that you’re homesick since it means you do miss and love us, even if you told us that we were the worst parents in the world when we left you behind at camp yesterday. I guess I do feel kind of bad for you of course. Heck, don’t focus on camp – just think about home, and how much you love us and miss us, and you’re sure to get warm feelings all over. So what if it makes you even more homesick if you miss us! We actually want you to miss us. Really, we do.

In case I forget to mention it, please don’t make a scene next year by screaming and running after us as we drive down the mile-long road into town.  A police officer stopped us to ask if something was wrong and you know how we don’t like speaking with the police after last year’s “incident” in Iowa.

Anyways, do what you can to have a great rest of the summer. And remember not to come out too early on pick-up day because we’ll probably arrive after the rest of the families have picked up their kids and left for home.  Have a great summer – and remember – we love you more than (just about) anything!

Your Loving Parents,

Mom and Dad

Looking for ideas of what TO write?

A Good Disconnect

When I was growing up, kids didn’t have the constant electronic tether to their parents that they do today.  It caused the inevitable problems of course – for instance, never knowing where my brother was at dinner time (and having to call everyone in the neighborhood to find out), going to the wrong mall entrance to get picked up and missing our mom, not knowing when she’d get there to pick us up, etc.

Continue reading ‘A Good Disconnect’

CampLib #3: Toilet Trouble!

Even More Fill In the Blank Fun

If you’re in a hurry to download, skip to the bottom and click on the ScribdSlideshare, or Box logos to view and download this CampLib.

Our first two CampLibs™ (Wake Up and About Your Room) were so popular that we’ve created our next CampLib in the series, Toilet Trouble! Continue reading ‘CampLib #3: Toilet Trouble!’

What Not to Pack

Sometimes too much is, well, too much

Let’s face it, some things are better left at home.  Same goes for letters to camp.  A few years ago, I wrote the  “Letters to Camp Packing List” post. Now here are a few things NOT to pack in your first (or any) letter:

Continue reading ‘What Not to Pack’

The Funny Letters to Camp Resource List

The ultimate resource for time-strapped parents searching for funny letter ideas!

 Sometimes you just need a quick list of resources, say for writing funny letters to camp. Here it is: the official Letters to Camp Funny Letters Resource List:

Jokes Kids Love

Mix Up Your Letters with CampLibs

Multiple Choice Letters/Fill-In-The-Blank letters

Camp Letter Ideas – Change Your Perspective!

So You Still Need More Ideas?

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Finally – Help for Parent Letter-Writers

Challenged to write great letters to your camper(s)? Help is here! The Letters to Camp Blog will help you to write better letters. More

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