What to Bring

I’m assuming those who are tent or trailer camping will know what essential camping gear they will be needing.  

There is no WiFi, but cell service (Verizon) at the camp is excellent.

There is electric power  in the ramadas, in the bathrooms, and at the amphitheater….and possibly in the tent cabins.

It’ll be warm to hot during the day, but in typical Napa Valley fashion, it will probably cool right down in the evening (and is sometimes damp)…..that’s why the grapes taste so good…so be prepared with layers!  

For the most part dinners are “organized” group meals so pleas come prepared to share a dish at dinner time.  Other than that, you will be responsible for keeping yourselves nourished.  Having said that, we will be offering raffle tickets to folks who keep our staff well fed.  

There is a store about 8 miles down the road, so you will be able to restock and refresh your ice.

Other than that, there are a few things you should bring to make sure you have the very best time possible, plus this gives you a chance to see what you are in for.


folding chair

A good folding chair that will be easy to set up and move around….Your cozy, comfy camp chair may not be the best one for sitting in to play your uke, especially during a workshop.  Otherwise, you will be able to sit at one of the picnic tables, but you may not be all that comfortable.

Bring a music stand (and battery-powered light), if you have one.


You’ll need quarters if you want to take a nice, hot shower!  (And we hope you do!) Two quarters buys you a 3-minute shower, which is generally plenty………


I didn’t see any poison oak either time I was at the Eco-Camp, but this is California, and it is hard to go anywhere in the wilderness without at least seeing it.  And, believe me, you don’t want to get it. The rash it creates is painful and ugly, and besides being annoying, can be downright dangerous.  It’s unlikely you’ll encounter any poison oak at this camp, but just in case you do, you’ll want to rub yourself down  with Tecnu after you think you’ve been exposed.  This will chemically break down the oily noxious sap called urushiol.  Let it sit a minute or two, then you just  shower it off.  (Don’t forget to bring quarters!)</>

IMG_0189Something for the Wednesday Night Potluck!  On Wednesday afternoon we’ll all be busy setting up (and decorating!) our campsites and the easiest way to deal with dinner that evening will be with a little pot luck, something you bring from home and that may just need to be reheated.  It’s also be a great way to get to know each other. One of the secrets to making potlucks work well is for people to bring everything needed to serve their dish, which includes serving utensils…..I repeat…..serving utensils. (No pasta and sauce thrown on the table in a plastic ziplock!  Really!  I’ve seen it happen.!) Beverages to share are also always welcome. Everyone will be responsible for cleaning up afterwards.

Non-disposable cutlery, dinnerware, and beverage containers.  We will have some paper plates, etc. on hand in case you forget, but let’s, please, try to be kind to the planet. And no single-use disposable water bottles! I will be setting up a skullery area so that everyone will have a convenient and hygienic place to wash their dishes. But I will be counting on everyone to help heat the water and make it work.  A few extra dish drainers and pairs of rubber gloves would be handy.

If you have an electric coffee pot and would like to be the camp hero, you should bring it.  There is power in the ramadas which offer a great way to heat water for coffee or tea.

b29ef390f5caccb54e99231863b963b2If there’s a song or two you’d like to share at any of the song circles or jam sessions, please bring at least 25 copies to pass around….unless it is one we’ll learn to play by ear!  We will not have a copier at the camp.

And bring along your extra tired and lonely ‘ukuleles.….yearning to be played. We’re planning to have a ‘ukulele swap meet on Saturday afternoon so bring anything (ukulele-related only, please) that you’d like to see pass into some other loving hands. We’ll provide the space, tables, and customers; you provide the merchandise and the salesmanship required to sell it. And bring along some cash in case you see something you want to buy!

Speaking of cash: We will have a camp store set up and you’ll have an opportunity to buy assorted ‘ukulele paraphernalia: ukuleles, cases, strings, tuners, etc. along with instructional and song books produced by our illustrious staff.  But with limited access to WiFi, we probably won’t be able to accept credit cards.  So, please, bring sufficient cash (or your checkbook) so you can satisfy all of your ukulele whims and support your local musicians.

ChilesPeach-pancake-breakfast-peaches-666x300-395x250Pancake fixin’s!  I’m still not sure we’ll be able to pull this off, but I’m hoping to have a pancake breakfast for us all on Sunday morning. Our goal is to provide the basics–pancakes, juice, coffee, etc.–but we’re counting on you to bring your favorite “fixins.”  Special syrups, fresh fruits, what ever you like to doctor your “cakes” with.  (And don’t forget mimosas or bellinis, if you’re so inclined.) We’ll have more info on this at camp, but I wanted to make sure you at least had a little time to prepare before hand. (Last year a couple of campers stepped up and took this over……)

Chili_with_garnishes_and_tortilla_chipsChili?  Right now there is a chili cook-off on the schedule for Friday evening, but this will only work if we get a number of people willing to bring chili and enter…everyone else needs to bring appropriate accompaniments such as corn bread, salad, and/or desert. The best part is that you can get your favorite chili recipe prepped and frozen before camp. (A block of frozen chili in your icebox is as good as ice to help keep everything else cold!) If we don’t actually have enough “entrants” for the cook-off, you will at least have something for your own dinner on Saturday night….!

Flashlights!  You don’t want to be tripping over things and causing a ruckus once the sun goes down!

Water shoes, pool toys, sun screen, and sun hat.  Right now it looks as though the weather will be giving us a break.  But just in case, the best place to cool off will be in the lake.  There is a dock for getting in and out of the water (not sure about a ladder) but pool shoes (or old tennies) will come in handy when you wade in at the beach.  And, we may stage some races and lake-side ukulele water follies for the more adventurous, so if you have any pool toys, inner tubes, floatees, or noodles, please bring them!

Firewood and s’mores.  There’s a wonderful fire pit at the amphitheater that will just need a little fuel.  And, if you’re so-inclined, it’ll be a great spot to roast marshmallows for s’mores. (The wood-fired pizza oven, too, will need some suitable fuel if anyone wants to try to figure out how to use it.) And, if you have a favorite s’mores recipe……by all means bring it! (And don’t forget to bring a long stick!)

And most important: bring a great attitude!  I can tell from your emails that you are all excited and anticipating a wonderful time at Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay and we’ll do our best to deliver. But we are counting on all of you to help out.  One of the beauties of Camp O is our ability to shift on the fly. We will have a skeleton schedule posted, but there will also be a number of empty spaces for you and our staff to fill in. Perhaps there’s workshop you’d like to offer.  Or a jam session you’d like to lead.  In the spirit of good summer camps everywhere, we will be rewarding all good Samaritans with raffle tickets and have a grand prize drawing Sunday morning. (And raffle tickets cannot be bought; they must be earned.)  So, the more you earn, the better your chances of winning something totally fabulous! (You can even earn raffle tickets by donating something to the raffle!)

Camp O is not about a rigid schedule and taking attendance. It is about getting together, being together, learning together, laughing together, making music together, and building a community of adventurous ukulele players who love the outdoors….a community that we hope will grow and flourish in the years to come. It’s going to be what you make it.  And we know that you are going to help make it be fabulous!


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