It’s not easy to find time to sit down with Melissa Goldwag for an interview. She’s insanely busy processing orders, helping out customers and making arrangements with suppliers. But I just had to get answers to my most burning questions about Pack for Camp, so with a little persistence (OK, a lot…), I managed to get this interview.

So, Melissa, tell us how Pack for Camp was born.

My parents have had a store selling things for camp and summer for as long as I can remember. When I thought about starting a business, the idea was natural. I know the items well and I even remember some of the suppliers from when I was a kid. Besides, it's a good space to be in. Summer is fun for everyone, right?

Did you love camp?

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve my summers in camp. When I first went to camp, it was 1989, and CD players were pretty new. I remember listening to a Richard Marx song Right Here Waiting on repeat, all summer. I loved Color War and mud sliding down a hill in the rain. 

When I was older, I became a lifeguard and spent most of the summer hoping it would rain so that I could hang out with my friends instead of working!

Why do you send your kids to camp?

I send my kids to camp so they can get away from regular life, meet new friends and have new experiences. They can learn how to get along with all types of people in a very tiny space. As a parent, I love getting a bit of breathing space and I know that a little time away makes the heart grow fonder...

Melissa and Gaby at Pack for Camp

What’s your best advice for a parent of a first-time camper?

Don’t stress about the packing list that the camp sends! It's important to speak with other parents and campers about what your child actually needs, and not follow the list exactly down to the 8 bathing suits and 12 towels the camp suggests. In this day and age, even if your child forgets something, you can always send it later or bring it on Visiting Day.

What is the worst advice you have heard people give to parents?

Unfortunately, lots of parents think it’s OK to wait until the last minute to pack, because “it will all come together.” I disagree. It's super important to go through the list in advance and see what you already have and organize what you need. Labeling also takes time, so make sure you have that in place too. 

That being said, if you find yourself scrambling at the last minute type, give us a shout, we can definitely help! 

If you could invent one convenience for camp, what would it be?

I dream of a magical expanding storage space. Kind of like the back seat of Harry Potter's car - whatever you put in there is always space for more. Space is so limited in camp and storage solutions can maximize underutilized space such as under the bed or in a cubby. But when it comes down to it, there really never is enough room.

Thanks so much, Melissa! Until that magic storage space is invented, we’ll continue packing the old-fashioned way!