Monday, August 5, 2019

Happy Campers

Well... it's HERE!  The most highly-anticipated week of the summer... SKY RANCH WEEK!!!  This year we have TWO happy campers!

We've talked and prayed and packed and prepped and they're OFF!  (The theme this year is Know Wonder)

We arrived at camp and were immediately reminded of why we picked and love Sky Ranch so much.  Warm cookies when you pull in, cheering counselors all along the road leading to the legacy center and cabins and just SO MUCH enthusiasm!

You get out of your car and are met by counselors who immediately greet the kids, call them by name, cheer EXTRA loud for first-year campers and load you up on covered wagons to head to the cabins.  This face says it all!

Luke was our first stop to check-in... and would you check out the porch and view from from that cabin?!?!?!

We got Luke all checked in and settled and he was pumped to be on the top bunk.

He has a friend from school there with him this week which he is SO EXCITED about (he wasn't there yet) and while Luke was a bit nervous he handled it like an absolute champ.

We grabbed a quick family picture, gave hugs and headed off to Mason's cabin to get him settled.  I knew he was nervous but also knew that the sooner we ripped that bandaid off and left the better.  

Mason has 4 friends from school in his cabin (he's a good recruiter if you need someone on your team! hahaha)...

... and it was a big ol' reunion as soon as we walked in :)

Excited to be living that top bunk life!

I. Mean. 

The only tears that were shed were a few little ones from Griffin because she SO wanted to go this session and she totally felt like she was missing out.  We didn't want to push her into something she wasn't ready for and when she decided (about 2 weeks ago) that she was ready to go her age/session was already full.  ;(  Next year she'll be READY!!  

We hit up Buccee's for smoked turkey sandwiches (Funyuns and sweet tea for this cutie!) and hit the road to head back home.  Now the countdown to Saturday morning can begin :)

Okay - camp prep.  I posted about this last year and didn't change much except to simplify a bit after seeing what Mason liked/didn't like and used/didn't use last year. 

The number one thing that Mason commented on liking about his trunk from last year were the photos in the lid.  He mentioned that on multiple times he would sit down with his counselors and talk about our pets, trips, his friends, etc.  This year I let them each pick out a bunch of fun photos that would be good talking points with their counselors and cabin mates and they were SO PROUD of how they turned out. 

I just used  these foam boards and pushpins to create the little bulletin boards.  I hot glued them to the lid and called it a day - so easy!  Luke's trunk is about an inch smaller than Mason's so I had to cut it down just a bit but it wasn't anything that serated kitchen knife couldn't handle.

I used  these car trunk organizers to create a few sections and then (per my boys request!) put one outfit in individual ziplock bags and labeled them for each day.  

They also put their theme night accessories/shirts into ziplock bags as well.

I labeled literally EVERYTHING in their trunks.  For clothes I use  these labels...

... and they're awesome because you can just write on them with a sharpie, stick them onto the clothing and then they last through countless washing and dryings.  These are the same labels I use for all of their uniform and spirit wear pieces at school as well.  Since all the kids are wearing the same things labeling stuff is SO IMPORTANT!

This year we left out the pre-addressed envelopes and paper to write letters and the notebook/journal with pens.  We did go with  these towels again because they dry SO FAST!  With regular towels if the boys don't hang them up just right (which, let's be honest, they probably won't) the towel would still be damp when it was time to shower or head to the pool again - but these dry super fast and pack up really small.

Last-minute they packed these portable fans and Luke took a reading light and 2 Harry Potter books "just in case" :) 

I packed them each one of these big bottles of  everyone soap because it's one product that does everything... body wash AND shampoo.  Simple is best!

Last year Mason took his school water bottle which is 16-oz and he asked for a bigger bottle this year because he had to refill his "all the time" during the day so when  these bottles were on sale I grabbed each of the boys one.  I swapped out the aqua lids with the black ones from my and Griffin's pink hydroflask bottles because I felt like it looked a little less "girly" and then popped them into  these carriers.  They work great because it makes the larger bottle so easy to carry and I stuck a chapstick and little sunscreen in the zipper pocket. 

And again with the labels :)  And I labeled the bottle itself as well.

I'd say that about 95% of the campers at Sky have trunks... they're easier to slide under the beds and then the kids can see/access everything quickly.  I love thinking about them using these trunks to head to camp for years and years!

Mason added a few more stickers to  his trunk this year...

... and  my friend Amanda did SUCH A GREAT JOB on Luke's name and Bible verse (his trunk is HERE).

Sky Ranch encourages parents to send care packages to their kids throughout the week (they even offer snack packs and other care packs you can purchase there and have sent).  You drop them off the day you arrive at camp and they deliver them to the campers at dinner.  Last year I spent SO MUCH TIME writing Mason detailed letters for every day and put a lot of thought into little coordinating gifts and this year I opted for a quick joke, little snack and fun/goofy little present.  

"Why did they quit giving tests at the zoo?"
"Because they were full of cheetahs!" 

Mason loved the jokes last year and asked for more snacks this year :) 

A typical little package would look like this...

... or this.  I just went to The Dollar Store and found some fun things I thought they'd have fun playing with with their cabin mates.

We are SO EXCITED for our boys this week.  For all the fun they're going to have, the friendships they're going to make/strengthen and for the time they're going to spend building their relationship with Christ.  I don't feel like there's much more influential and impactful than seeing faith lived out through their counselors and we are so grateful for their example.

Now, if you need me I'll be the one stalking the website for camper pics :) 

Happy MONDAY, friends!!!

PS - if you have any questions about our experience at Sky Ranch please feel free to email me or leave me a comment!  We absolutely love the program and would be happy to answer any questions!

PSS - this post contained affiliate links... thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog!


  1. Andrea, I thought about you guys all day long yesterday!! They're going to have a great week!

  2. I never went to a camp like this; only our actual church childrens camp or youth camp. I hope my daughter will want to do this one day though. I think it is so cool! I bet your house will be so quiet this week.

  3. Camp Week!! So fun and extra special to have some friends to share it with. Hope they have the best time and GG enjoys being an "only child" for the week;).

  4. HI - The link for the water bottle container goes to the water bottle. Where did you get the container from? Thanks

  5. So sweet! We are huge fans of sleepaway camp - our son has been going for the past 6 years and next summer will be his last as a camper. We love that it has taught him independence, accountability, community living skills AND keeps him unplugged for a full month :)

  6. I think this is so cool. Where I live nobody goes to sleepaway camp before 6th grade and camp sessions are 3-4 weeks. I can't imagine 1st graders at camp.

  7. I loved going to camp growing up! I hope Carter will be ready soon!

  8. I absolutely loved going to camp growing up! It was one of my favorite weeks of the year and was never long enough. I hope they have the best time!

  9. Praying both boys will have the best time at camp this week and GG will love her week at home as an "only child" and not feel as if she missed out. I can't wait to read about their week! Also praying for you as you start back to school. The link for the water bottle holder links back to the bottle - if you can check on it. I would love to maybe get one as I'm always carrying a bottle of water and love the zipper pocket! Thanks so much for sharing all your finds!

  10. This summer was our first "camp" experience and my kids loved it!

  11. My boss are at pine cove camp in the city this week through our chutch. And for the second year we are hosting 3 of college staffers. It's a great blessing to us to host these young men. But my oldest is aging out of camp in the city this year so he's already scheming on how he can help pay his way to Tyler for the real deal next summer.

  12. We did kanakuk for the first time this year and felt unprepared with packing the trunk. Definitely grabbing those labels for next year! We just wrote his name in each, but it was hard to see, so he still only came home with about half his shirts!! Thanks for the tips!


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