Calling All Campers!

Mail call at summer camp is a highlight of the day.

By Gay Gasser


Mail call! If your child is at sleep-away camp, this is an important time of day. Camp may be the only time your kids give “snail mail” a second thought, but for these few summer weeks, the U.S. Postal Service plays a significant role in the lives of many children.

Whether they get mail can figure into oft-told family stories, future comedy routines, or stints on the psychiatrist’s couch! Make sure your little camper gets lots of short letters, postcards and care packages. Here are few ideas to keep a smile on your child’s face:

  • Keep it short! Better a note or postcard with a funny picture that just says “Thinking of you,” than a laundry list of your day’s events. You may feel it’s important to fill a page with scribbling, but honestly, your offspring does not care about your latest dentist appointment or whether you had chicken or pasta for supper.
  • Some kids love rebuses and other word puzzles. A rebus is a sentence or phrase that uses pictures and letters instead of words. For example, a cutout of an eyeball replaces “I,” a heart means “love,” and a female sheep, which officially is a ewe, replaces “you.” (A nice touch is to draw exaggerated eyelashes on the ewe, to declare it is a female.) Send the answer the following day.
  • Kids seem to love letters written “bank-robber” or “ransom-note” style. Cut letters and words out of magazines and catalogs and paste them on a piece of paper to make a message.
  • Send games that the entire bunk/tent can play. Cards, pick-up sticks, Ad Libs, charades, Monkeys in a Barrel. Don’t spend too much money; the pieces probably will not make it home.
  • Send stamped postcards and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a card back.
  • Send fill-in-the-blank letters with stamped, self-addressed envelopes. Here’s an idea of what to say: “Dear Wonderful Mother, I have ____kids in my bunk. The weather has been (circle one) rainy, hot, just right.” You get the idea.
  • Send a disposable camera and write your child’s name on it in permanent marker. You might get to see what some of those bunkmates look like!

Keep in mind that camp mail is usually a one-way street. You will send mail, your kids will not. After all, sleep-away summer camp is one of those situations where, for the most part, no news is good news!


Gay Gasser is the founder of Mirth in a Box, an online source for whimsical and humorous gifts and care packages for camp. Go to