The camp store is a great chance for campers to show their spirit for camp and have some souvenirs to take home with them.
We often use the store as a reward or as a punishment. If there was a lot of trash on-camp, for example, the store privileges were suspended until it was earned back.
Or, if a cabin won a certain game or activity, they received "double store", which allowed them to buy two candy bars and a pop instead of just one candy bar. Since the camp store is an important element, here are some suggestions on what to stock up on…
One of our most popular items this summer was our hooded sweatshirts. We offered two colors (forest green and gray) with our camp's name on the front. This was popular with both the campers and the counselors, and has been for several years.
One of the biggest questions each summer is what color the sweatshirts will be. We were fortunately able to sell the sweatshirts at a fairly inexpensive price (less than $25).
Another popular clothing item was long-sleeve t-shirts. It was a fairly simple design. Our camp name was written on the front with our lake in smaller print. The back was a large design of our mascot (a bird named "Frodo").
The short-sleeve t-shirts were also popular but not quite as popular as the sweatshirts or long-sleeve t-shirts. From my experience, the younger campers tend to like the t-shirts better while the older campers wanted the sweatshirts.
One tendency I've noticed is that the simpler the design, the more popular the item is. One of our t-shirts had several designs on both the front and the back and was not as popular as our other items.
Some items I wish we had included were bumper stickers, water bottles, and possibly towels. In the past, bumper stickers were sold that said, "I'd rather be at Camp Al-Gon-Quian," which several campers requested this summer.
Also, I wish we had gotten stickers or clear static decals of our camp mascot. We could sell these in the store or give them away as souvenirs or as prizes for certain activities.
Water bottles were also frequently requested. We considered getting Nalgene water bottles (normally used for camping) with our camp's logo printed on them, but were unfortunately too late as the order takes six to eight weeks. This item would be popular with both the staff and the older campers.
There were also some requests for beach towels with the camp's logo, but this request was only made every so often.
One more suggestion is to offer everyday items at the camp store. For example, several campers asked for batteries, disposable cameras, toothbrushes and stationary. You may not need large quantities of these items, but a few for campers who accidentally forgot.
The camp store is a great place for campers to take home souvenirs, buy clothing, sport camp pride, or just get a daily treat of pop and candy. Selecting what to sell is a tough decision but can also be extremely fun.
Christie Enders just spent her second summer at Camp Al-Gon-Quian on Burt Lake, Mich. In the summer of 2000, she worked at Camp Pendalouan. Currently, she is a senior at Michigan State studying community relations.