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Going to Beantown for the first time? Here are some hot tips from some Beantown veterans!

Use the packing list on the Beantown website. Don't forget a check for your room key/meal card deposit. You'll get it back when you check out.

• The beds on campus are pretty uncomfortable unless you like a really firm mattress. If you have one, bring a mattress topper (foam egg crate or even a sleeping bag to lay on top of) and your own pillow. The beds are XL twin size. Everyone needs quality sleep at camp!

• Bring plenty of clothing including extra t-shirts, socks, and underwear. You'll get sweaty and it's good to have multiple outfits for each day. Some people get a little more dressed up for dances, but that's up to you.

• On the topic of sweat: having a stash of handkerchiefs, towels, or sweat rags in your bag is highly recommended.

• I bring a small mirror so I can get ready without hogging the bathroom.

• The caffeine junkies among us like to bring a travel mug to the dining hall so we can take a cup of coffee with us when we leave. You could even save one for before the dance. We also bring toothbrushes in our backpacks during the day so we can brush after meals before going to class.

• We usually take a group photo of the Lindy Maine/Portland Swing Project crew as soon as the photo booth opens up on Saturday at the dance. As I'm writing this in 2024, the photo booth opens on Saturday night at 9:45 pm. Be there or be left out of the photo!

• You can see a map of campus and also the camp schedule on Beantown's website. It's good to have those links handy for reference at camp.

• You're going to be taking classes and learning a lot of stuff! There will be opportunities to take videos of class recaps so make sure you have room on your phone. I also collect videos of class recaps so we can share with each other. Send your videos at https://wetransfer.com/ (it's free) to sharedlindyvideos@gmail.com and I'll upload them to https://www.youtube.com/@sharedlindyvideos. Be sure to record your videos horizontally (landscape mode) and zoom in to fill the screen.

• I also sometimes take notes about things that have resonated with me or inspired me in classes. Keep a notebook or notes app on your phone handy for this.

• Don't skip the history/culture presentations! It might seem like a great time to take a nap, but you can still rest your feet while you learn about the roots of Lindy. These are opportunities you won't get anywhere else so don't let them pass you by.

• You'll get to take classes with some of the best instructors in the world at this camp! It can be eye-opening to study with teachers other than your hometown peeps, as awesome as you may think they are. 😀 Try to expose yourself to as many different voices as you can while at Beantown. Some teachers' ideas may really resonate with you; some may not. Take what you like and leave the rest.

• It can be really difficult to do ALL THE THINGS that Beantown Camp has to offer and still get enough rest. Consider what you value: are you interested mostly in classes, or social dancing, or a little of both? Make decisions about how late to stay up and when to nap during the day based on your goals. Sleep or take care of yourself in whatever way you need to when you have a break. 

• On the topic of taking care of yourself: bring Advil, Aleve, or Tylenol and stay hydrated! Electrolytes can help, especially when exercising in the heat.

• The social dancing is top-notch, so try to ask as many people as possible to dance! Don't be shy. That means you too, followers!

• Sometimes folks may go through a little angst at some point during camp. Ray has been going to Beantown since Noah had his first rowboat and he still gets a little anxious sometimes. You're not alone! Talk to one of us if you need a pep talk and try to remember: it's just dance camp. You're there to have fun!

• Speaking of angst, don't worry about what track class level you are in! You've done your best to place yourself in the proper class or you've chosen to audition for a higher level. If it seems like you are in the wrong class after taking a few track classes on Saturday morning, there's an opportunity to ask for a level change on Saturday afternoon. Keep in mind, though, that there is a range of skill levels in each class. Someone is the least skilled dancer in a class and someone is the most skilled. You could be anywhere on that spectrum. Also, the class material from one track to another is often very similar, with the only difference being how fast or in-depth the material is taught. Try not to be overly focused on your track. I guarantee you will learn something in whatever track you are in.

• Most of all, have a great time! 

-Jen & Ray

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