Who: Rosie O’Neill, L.A.-based founder of gourmet candy boutique Sugarfina
The Campers: Three children, aged 16, 14 and 12
The Care Package: “Basically, our goal with our kids’ care packages is to satisfy their sweet tooth and make them laugh. Since each of them has a favorite candy, we’ll create a personalized candy box with their name on the label. We also include travel-sized games—things they can play with their friends—like Uno, Monopoly, Deal or Taboo. And even though they have lots of fun at camp, they still miss their pets, so we’ll put in photos of their dog and cats with funny photo captions like ‘life’s RUFF without you!’ Sometimes, we’ll throw in a photoshopped picture of us in an outlandish location (‘having lots of fun hiking this active volcano while you’re at camp! xoxo, your parents’). A box of magic tricks and practical jokes can be really fun, too.”
Who: Keri Glassman, New York City nutritionist and founder of Nutritious Life
The Camper: A 10-year-old son
The Care Package: “I love that my son’s camp is electronic-free, so I go old school and send him Mad Libs, sketch pads and fun pencils and markers; he and his friends can use these together. I also throw in a fun mind game like a Rubik’s Cube. The one thing he always asks for is candy!”
Who: Rachel Roy, New York fashion designer
The Campers: A 13-year-old daughter
The Care Package: “What fun to give your BFF’s matching bracelets (pictured above) to remember secrets promises and adventures by…we like to double and triple up on friendship bracelets galore!
Also, when it comes to who misses who more, I’m sure it’s me missing her much more. I believe our children are only as strong as the foundation we build for them. I enclose love notes for my baby—one for every day of camp so she always has something to open every morning!
And so we both feel good, I’ll send my daughter cookies from Karlie’s Milk Bar, where a portion of the proceeds is donated to FEED, one of my favorite organizations.”
Who: Brent Zacky, L.A.-based senior VP of original programming and development for Logo TV
The Campers: Two daughters, aged 12 and 9
The Care Package: “[The 12-year old] tells me that the best care package contains magazines (fashion and gossip), gum and cool sunglasses. For the 9-year old, it’s her second session of sleep-away camp, so we’ll send her stuffed animals and special cards to her to keep her feeling connected to home. Before she left last summer, we also picked out some family pictures together and put them in an envelope so when she felt lonely, she could look at them.
For both of them, we’ll also send some combination of nail polishes and remover, playing cards, lip balm, hair ties, scarves and a fuzzy blanket. Of course, we always make sure to include stamps and envelopes so they can write home—though we’re lucky to get one or two which is fine since it means they’re having fun.”
Who: Elizabeth Dinkel, Los Angeles interior designer
The Campers: A 16-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter
The Care Package: “First and foremost, my kids always ask for Fat Witch Brownies (from NYC’s Chelsea Market). It’s been a favorite year after year. You can’t really go wrong with these, ever, and they always seem to travel well.
My other faves are Miette (in the Ferry Building in San Francisco), which has beautiful artisan cupcakes, cookies and just really adorable packaged candies, or Lette Macarons for macaroon lovers.
And last but surely not least, they love Rocket Fizz Candy (in Ventura), a specialty store that sells every kind of candy under the sun, especially anything old-fashioned or hard-to-find. I usually stock up here, and I know whatever I get will always be a huge hit.”
Who: Alison Brod, New York City publicist
The Campers: Two sons, aged 7 and 5
The Care Package: “My boys think that Mickey is hilarious and the fantasy of Disney is still fresh in their minds. So I’ll send them H20 Plus Blushing Orange Shampoo and Conditioner for Disney Parks and Resorts. It smells amazing.
Individual or minis of food items are always good to send, but stay away from mailing something like a cake which can show up smashed. Treat House, the brand new mini-crisped rice treat concept, has great flavors such as bubble gum, birthday cake and caramel fleur de del.
The only other things my kids want right now besides sweets are gift cards for iTunes to download songs and games.
(If I had a girl, I’d send her boxes of Nails Inc. minis to share with friends).”
Who: Elana Drell Szyfer, Montclair, New Jersey-based CEO of AHAVA North America and Deputy CEO of AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories
The Campers: Three daughters, aged 11, 10 and 6
The Care Package: “I have a new favorite thing, a snack pack called Go Picnic—it’s a mini-meal in a box with crossword puzzles on the inside of the packaging. The meals are well-balanced and could include crackers, a package of hummus, a blend of fruits and nuts and chocolate with sea salt. Of course, I send them personalized stationery and pre-addressed postcards with stamps so they’ll write home. My girls ask me to send stickers, portable fans, nail polish and always candy. One of my daughters always asks me to send her her favorite team’s scores and standing (she loves the Yankees)!”
Who: Carolina Wolkowitz, New York-based manager at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery
The Campers: A 10-year-old daughter
The Care Package: “I send her a variety of purple candy from Dylan’s Candy Bar (purple is her camp); e-postcards I make with the Postagram App (it’s a fabulous way to send photos of the family while she’s in camp); a selection of cozy Hot Sox designed by her grandfather Gary Wolkowitz; some toys from tech company Little Bits; a travel size version of BLOKUS (the best board game out there); always more sun spray protection by Sun Bum (last year, the whole bunk loved it; it is a mist SPF 70 Spray so the girls don’t get sticky and it smells great); and Ciate Nail Polish kit to make nail art. Plus Hello Kitty nail stickers and a Hello Kitty makeup kit for her dance performance at camp.”
Who: John Besh, New Orleans-based chef and author of Cooking from the Heart: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way (out October 29, 2013)
The Campers: Four sons, aged 17, 12, 10 and 8
The Care Package: “I like to send them fresh blueberries, signed baseballs from their favorite LSU team players, roasted pecans, roman candy, Mad Libs, playing cards, water bottles with the Saints logo and stamped and addressed cards for them to write home.”
Who: Sallie Giordano, New York City interior designer at Leta Austin Foster & Associates
The Campers: Two daughters, aged 15 and 12
The Care Package: “When you’re putting together a camp care package, think about what they might appreciate from home after a week or so away. This could include new underwear and socks in fun prints and colors, hair ties, room spray, comic books, teen magazines with pull-out posters, mini photo albums, autograph books for your cabin mates to sign, and games like Mad Libs that you can play with flashlights. I also put in cute little boxes of stationery as an obvious hint that they should write home.
And, of course, send candy, candy, candy—preferably the fun, old-fashioned, penny-candy kind like dots on paper, candy whistles and Charleston Chews. With its prohibition on phones and other electronic devices, their camp life is a throwback to the way it was when I was a kid so anything I remember playing with and enjoying, I know my children will like, too.”