Tips for Surviving (and Thriving) at Band Camp
We asked members of the St. Amant Band Family to share their top tips for surviving and thriving during band camp. We compiled responses, and our informal survey said:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Increase water intake several days before camp and maintain it throughout. Bring water everywhere and refill your water jug frequently. Camp chaperones also keep coolers filled near the practice areas. Sports drinks that replenish electrolytes are favorites during hot days. Avoid energy drinks, coffee, soft drinks and others that contain caffeine, which accelerates dehydration.
- Focus on food and nutrition. You’ll need well-balanced meals with sustaining protein and energy-laden carbs. Bring your favorite healthy snacks and eat during breaks, spreading your food intake. Avoid sugary snacks and dairy products for breakfast and lunch. As one band mom and teacher explains, “Dairy plus hot kiddos equals lots of upset stomachs… and clean ups.”
- Acclimate to heat. The July forecast includes hot temperatures and high humidity. Experienced band members, alumni and parents agree: Start a few hours of walking or other outdoor activity daily in early July to help with conditioning and readiness.
- Get into camp routine. Beginning at least a week before camp, set the alarm and allow a leisurely pace for waking, eating, and other preparations. Don’t wait until Day 1 of camp to learn how much time this all takes, then arrive late, unprepared or unfed. Remember, you have to be early to be on-time!
- Gear up and accessorize. Recommended items include filled water jugs, hat or cap, sunglasses, sunscreen (reapplied throughout the day!), thick socks, comfortable shoes, support insoles, hydration packs and water bottles, towels, and padded neck straps (for sax and low reeds). Create a checklist, and double-check items daily. Be sure to label everything with your name. And consider an optional fanny-pack survival kit with essential items (like poker chips, dot cards, and a towel!) and handy storage.
- Build your band network. Band camp creates a ready network of friends and experts, for members and parents. After camp, band members arrive at school with friends and classmates they know and trust. Overwhelmed freshman parents also can make essential contacts. Whether student or parent, introduce yourself, ask lots of questions, and volunteer to help.
- Encourage, motivate and support. Parents are the best cheerleaders and supporters for their band members. One parent wrote: “Don’t let your kids give up! There may be tears, exhaustion and fears, but this too shall pass! The first few days are hard, but it will be worth the lifetime of memories and friendships.” Remind your band member, “You can do this!! And that 1st time playing for a crowd…you’ll be so glad you did!!”
Almost Everything ELSE You Need to Know
- New parents, check out our Guide for New Band Parents, which provides more information for you to get started.
- Everyone should check out our 2023 Summer Newsletter for all camp-related info including full-season listing of the most important things you need to know, do, see and complete for a successful band season.