Now before going to camp this topic was high on my list. As someone who likes things done a certain way, I needed to know how washing your clothes works when you work at an overnight summer camp. Do you do it yourself? Do you book a day to do your laundry? Is it like hotel laundry where they pick it up and drop it off? What is the deal?
As some of you know my first camp experience was a weekly session camp in America that lasted for 12 weeks. This meant that laundry was not something they offered to campers. Subsequently, the camp did not offer to launder staff clothes either, but this did not mean we could not wash our clothes.
At camp, there was a small laundry room - like one in university halls of residences - that you have to do yourself. You would use your own time off to do laundry. My first experience meant during my free time on a busy camp day, I would have to lug my laundry across camp to the laundry room, pay quarters into the machine and wait for the laundry to be done. It was definitely an experience.
In hindsight, the pros to this meant I could do laundry the way I wanted to, I could separate it into piles, and decide what goes into the dryer and what does not. I could keep my certain way of doing laundry the same. The little part of normalcy from home.
So going into my second summer camp experience - this time in Canada - I was ready to do the same procedure again. I have had the experience and I did overpack a little as I did not want to do as much laundry as I did the previous summer. However, this camp laundry was a very different situation.
The Canadian camp setup was more traditional with campers staying for up to two months at a time. This meant that campers (and staff) need to have laundry for their clothes, bedding, towels etc.
The way the laundry was set up was communal. A cabin - which included campers and staff - would put all their dirty clothes into large labelled laundry bags. One filled bag would be one load for the industrial machines. The labelled laundry bags would be put out at a drop-off point where they would be picked up in the morning and taken to be laundered. The laundry would take 24 hours before being returned folded and washed. Where your cabin would collect said bags and then unpack and reclaim your items.
This was totally out of the blue for me, someone else was tasked with doing my laundry, so I can have more time exploring and having fun. Do not get me wrong I enjoy doing things a certain way but taking this off my plate was amazing. The only drawback about this is that everything gets washed and dried on the same machine setting. This is the reason why it is important to think about what items you are bringing to camp and what you are handing off to be laundered.
With all of this being said I have some top tips about laundry at camp no matter what the situation is:
Label your clothes.
Use a silver sharpie to label dark items.
Use a large safety pin to keep your underwear together.
If the machine allows, use mini-mesh bags to put your socks in to keep them together.