Every parent knows there is a buzz in the air before a child heads off to camp. While kids may wonder what they will do at camp and who they will meet, parents are left wondering what they will wear and if they will bathe.

Every parent knows there is a buzz in the air before a child heads off to camp. While kids may wonder what they will do at camp and who they will meet, parents are left wondering what they will wear and if they will bathe.

As the leading authority of the camp industry, the American Camp Association (ACA) has tips and suggestions for parents about packing light.

ACA recommends that families prepare for camp together. Decisions about camp - from where to go to what to pack - should be a joint venture, keeping in mind the child's maturity. When children participate in the decision-making process, their likelihood of enjoying a positive experience is improved.

Below are six categories, from the toes up, to consider when packing for camp. Check out the complete packing list at www.CampParents.org/travellight.php. Before shopping and packing for camp, check with the camp director and review the camp packing lists to see what items are recommended or required.

1. Footwear is important for children at camp, especially when they are hiking, spelunking, running and heading to the beach. ACA recommends packing boots, tennis shoes, sandals, lots of socks and dress shoes, if the camp requires them.And don't forget to break in shoes and boots before camp begins!

2. Headgear is a necessary item for camp to protect a camper from the sun and bugs.ACA suggests that parents consider packing scarves, bandanas, baseball caps or a sunhat, as well as needed eyeglasses, sunglasses and swimming goggles.

3. Clothing is a necessary component of camp, just don't expect any to return home clean! ACA recommends families include T-shirts, a swim suit, and shorts for hot days; a jacket, sweatshirt, jeans for cool or cold days; and a raincoat or poncho for rainy days.
Also, long pants will protect a camper from poison ivy, bugs, and thorns during hikes. Check with the camp to see if dress clothes are required.

4. Bed and Bath is an aspect of camp that can't be ignored, as having fun and getting dirty go together for most kids! ACA recommends a family bring towels, as well as a blanket, pillow, pillow cases, sheets, sleeping bag, laundry bag, and mattress pad.

5. Bathroom Kit's are essential, even though there is no guarantee they will always get used as often as parents would hope. ACA recommends families provide campers with a brush and comb, shampoo, soap and soap container, toothbrush and holder, toothpaste, deodorant, insect repellent, feminine products, sun block, shaving gear, and lip balm with sun block in it.

6. Gear can keep a child entertained during those rainy or slow days. ACA recommends packing books and magazines, flashlights and batteries, frisbees or other toys, a water bottle, and writing materials. When considering electronics, musical instruments, and other special gear, check with the camp about policies.

For advice from camp professional and child development experts about what to pack, and how to prepare for camp, visit ACA's family-dedicated Web site, www.CampParents.org. As parents and families plan for summer activities with their children, the American Camp Association is a resource for all information about camp-from the benefits of camp to what to pack.

The American Camp Association works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-accredited camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards.

For more information, visit www.ACAcamps.org.