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Ten "Camp Mom" Transportation Considerations

Keep these things in mind when arranging rides and trips


Once you've decided who will be coming to "Camp Mom." and where it will be held, the next step is getting everybody there. Who will drive, and who needs a ride? Keep these ten considerations in mind when planning your transportation.

1. Who Can Drive

Start by surveying who among your parent "counselors" is able to provide transportation. Single-car families may not have an auto to share all day, and some parents may not drive at all. When you've got a fix on which cars are available when, move on to the other considerations.

2. Car Size

You'll get more of a "camp" feeling if multiple campers are riding together. Instead of each family to their own car, try to carpool, if not for camp arrival and departure, then for field trips and events. Minivans are great for being "bus" like, and also offering options in terms of separating adults and kids, or separating rambunctious kids from each other. If there are no vans among you, think about how you can break up your group among a smaller number of smaller cars.

3. Location

Ideally, when planning carpooling for morning and afternoon commuting, you'll be able to group drivers with campers who are closest to them. Nobody wants to go out of their way every day unless they have to. Ideally, too, the person who's hosting the camp will not have to do any pick-ups. If you're dividing up campers to drive to a far-off field trip, try to organize the passenger lists so that everyone can go home afterward instead of stopping at the camp house.

4. Money

Expenses for "Camp Mom" need to be spread around, with those not hosting paying for supplies or lunch items, and the same goes for the transportation costs -- those who aren't driving should donate toward gas and wear-and-tear, and maybe a nice car interior vacuuming when camp's over. You may be able to handle this informally, but if that's either awkward or never followed through on, set an amount for each non-driving parent to pay at the beginning of summer and split it between the drivers.

5. Car Mess

Your standard summer-camp bus isn't known for its pristine cleanliness and unstained seats. Your "Camp Mom" transport probably shouldn't put a high emphasis on that, either. You'll want your young passengers to clean up after themselves, sure, and try not to harm your vehicle. But if you or any of your prospective drivers have complex rules about car behavior, about no drinking or snacking, no feet on the seats, no fingerprints on the windows, no, no, no ... well, perhaps someone can be camp driver. "Camp Mom" is all about fun for kids, and being lectured every day? Is not.

6. Entertainment

Particularly for longer field trips, a car with a screen for showing DVDs can do a lot to keep kids occupied. If not, a fun "Camp Mom" project for kids might be putting together their own mix CDs or tapes for playing in the car. Also useful are word games like "I Spy" and 20 Questions, which also provide some nice speech-therapy reinforcement.

7. Seating

Be prepared to rearrange seating as necessary to avoid inter-kid conflicts and enable supervision. If necessary, offer desirable seats as a reward or sitting next to an adult as a consequence. Keep in mind safety rules about children below a certain age staying away from front-seat airbags, no matter how much they may beg.

8. Trash Disposal

Keep a garbage bag in any car that's used for long trips and make sure any snack or drink residue gets tossed in it. It's much easier to dispose of things properly as you go along than to dig wrappers and empty water bottles out from under seats. If you want to make recycling a camp project, bring separate plastic grocery bags for different recyclable items and do weekly drop-offs.

9. Supplies

Consider keeping a bin full of games and toys to play with in any car that does much camp driving, including road-trip bingo, UNO cards, paper and crayons, Etch-a-Sketches or Magna-Doodles, and whatever other vehicle-friendly items kids might enjoy. Throw in some non-meltable, minimallly messy snacks. You may not need them for every trip, but it will be nice to have them available without prior planning -- and having one convenient place to put everything away.

10. Co-Pilot

Another adult may want to act as co-pilot for the adult who's driving, handling things like cell-phone communication, child wrangling, game instigation, map navigation, snack procurement, and other things that might take attention off the road. Driving kids day in and day out is a lot of work -- spread it around!

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