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Parent Resources: What to Expect on Opening Day!

Opening day at camp has been described as “the summer version of Christmas morning!” It’s the exciting day that we’ve been waiting for all year, whether it’s your first summer or your tenth. For kids who haven’t attended camp before, the idea of going away can be a little daunting. Uncertainity can breed anxiety. Your child may feel nervous about not knowing anyone, worried about not sleeping in their own bed, or simply feel unsure of what to expect. You can help your child to settle in by preparing them in advance for that first day of camp. Here’s an overview to help you set your camper up for success right off the bat.

The first sure sign of being on GRP property is when your car tires hit the gravel road - with over 3400 acres of land, it takes a bit to reach our opening day entrance. Roll down your windows at this point, take some deep breaths, and just enjoy the sounds and sights that come your way up the drive. If you are coming from Highway 25, the dirt road will take about 15-20 minutes and you will want to go slowly. It’s a narrow road with several blind curves; so, please drive safely. If you are coming from the Brevard direction, your time on the dirt road will be minimal. Because of the single lane driving on this road, we do encourage families to approach from Highway 25/Zirconia direction and depart towards Brevard via Greenville Highway 276.

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Once you reach our entrance, you’ll be greeted by several of our friendly staff members. They will direct you into our parking area and let you know what your cabin assignment will be! Once your car is parked, staff will help you load your camper’s belongings into a cart.

In the back field there will be a check-in table to make sure all your camper’s forms and paperwork are submitted and in order. Please make sure to log in to your CampinTouch account and submit all necessary paperwork as soon as possible. This is also a time to pass along any information that may have changed since you completed your online forms. Also, feel free to drop off any letters for your camper that you would like distributed throughout the session - we encourage this for our shorter sessions as letters take a bit longer to get here through snail mail. Most families spend very little time at this station because they have turned in all their forms by the May 1 deadline!

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Now for the really fun part…..moving into your cabin and meeting your counselors and cabinmates! Staff will guide you and your camper(s) to the assigned cabin and help you move belongings inside. Once there, families are welcome to make their camper’s bed and get them settled; however, we do ask that you keep this time brief for a few reasons noted below:

  • Our drop off window from 1-3 is tight. We are welcoming over 100 families and we only have so much space to accommodate all of these cars. Keeping the flow of traffic moving through an out and back driveway is a challenge.
  • We ask that all families with campers 5th grade and below arrive between 1-2pm and all families with campers 6th grade and above arrive between 2-3pm. This doesn’t solve the traffic issue completely, but it does lessen the intensity of the back-up.

Once your camper is moved in to their cabin, please head up to the lodge together to meet our medical team, turn in any medications, and visit the camp store before saying goodbyes.

If your child takes any daily medications, please make sure you have uploaded these medications with the dosage and instructions into CampMinder prior to arrival. This will help our medical staff immensely. Once you meet the medical staff, you will confirm the medications and communicate any necessary information. Please carefully follow the below medication instructions.

Instructions for bringing medicines to camp:

  • Please package all medicines your child is bringing to camp in reusable pill boxes and label the pill box with their name and date of birth.
  • Separate the medication into morning, lunch, dinner, and bedtime for 1 week and place medicines and camper’s information in a clearly marked ziplock bag.
  • The medical staff will fill the pill boxes for the subsequent week(s) (unless you choose to bring another reusable pill box).
  • If a camper typically takes medications at bedtime, but can take them earlier in the evening, please move these meds to dinner to avoid extra mighttime trips to the Health Hut after evening program.
  • If you are sending as needed medication (e.g. ibuprofen because your child takes this regularly for shin splints when they are active), you do not need to put this into a pill box. Please also know that we have a fully stocked over the counter medication supply.
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After you have visited the lodge, it’s time to reunite your camper with their counselor, say goodbye, and head on your way!

  • We want to keep the transition between getting out of the car and getting into your camper’s cabin and camp community brief. When parents linger, campers (and parents, actually) can start to feel sad and wallow in the knowledge that they are going to have to say goodbye. Stringing these feelings out while we are trying to engage your child with new friends and exciting activities just prolongs the goodbye. We want to keep the drop off time short and sweet. Think of the difference between slowly taking off a bandaid and just going for it. We want you to just go for it!

How exciting for all of you! Camp is one of those monumental milestones. Know that your child will make new friends, learn new skills, gain confidence, learn problem-solving skills and, most importantly of all, have fun. Camp is designed to be fun - we want your child to have the time of their life.

Once you leave, your camper will engage in some cabin games and activities until the entire cabin has arrived. When everyone has been welcomed, we will move into our first camp-wide gathering: The Respect Circle. This is where we ask all members of our community to do 4 things while they are at GRP:

  1. Respect Yourself. So make sure you are hydrated, eating food to fuel your body, brushing your teeth, and communicating your needs and limits.
  2. Respect Others. Ask before you borrow. Communicate clearly and with kindness. We are here to support one another.
  3. Respect the Environment. We say we are in the animals’ living room out here, so please think before you smash a spider or break off a tree limb.
  4. Respect our Home. GRP, these cabins, these buildings are your home for the next 1 to 3 weeks. Please treat them as such and let us know if anything needs attention.

Following the respect circle, we will move into group games and the swim review. This is generally a fun and appreciated time to just run a bit and let some of that energy out. The final step before heading back to the camper’s cabin, will be a camp tour that includes a stop at the health hut. Campers are introduced to our health staff and everyone gets what we call a head massage (lice check) and a tick reminder. This is typically a 10 minute brief check-in for all cabins.

After completing the round robin, campers will head back to their cabins to change into dry clothes and spend some time together. They will create what we call “cabin norms” or guidelines that they want to follow while living together. Typically cabins hang these on one of their walls and even add to them as their time together unfolds.

Is it dinnertime, yet? By 6pm, it’s time to get ready for our first meal together: fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, salad, and more. Nothing is better than filling the belly with one of Rayette’s special home cooked meals. Campers are introduced to our dining hall procedures, our composting system, how we clean up as a group, and meet a superhero or two.

After dinner, we will head to our first Evening Program together, the Council Fire. Here we introduce camp songs and camp traditions, and listen to a story from one of our mentors. Once this is finished….it’s off to bed for all of our sleepy heads. Opening day is fun, exciting, and also action-packed….so we want to be rested and ready for our first full day at camp!!!!

We hope this will help you have some positive conversations about what to expect that first day. As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out. We can’t wait to welcome you this summer!