Secret Mission: Operation Care Package

Week three is just about in the books, but not before we send you off with a secret mission! One of our goals with Escape Lab was to not only improve the lives of the participants, but to encourage them to make a difference in the lives of others, too.

We hope that the experience of opening your Treasure Box was special. We hope that you were able to sense the care we put into each one, and we hope it brightened your day.

Now we hope that you’ll be inspired to create that experience for someone else who needs it.


This week’s secret mission is to create a care package for someone. I could be for a person close to you, or somebody you don’t know well at all, or even a complete stranger. It doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to cost much; it’s more about the thought that goes into it.

We are excited to share a video created specifically for this Lab by our good friend Ryan McRae. Some of you may recognize him from last year’s Escape Adulthood Summit. Quite simply, he is a master at putting care packages together and he was willing to share some tips with us. We think you’ll find this short video as helpful as it is humorous!


Obviously, this mission will take some time and thought, but when you complete it, we’d love for you to share your experience below. Oh, and if you’d like to share your story with Ryan, you can email him directly at

Who did you make your care package for? What did you include in it? How did the process make you feel?


  1. Avatar Ron England says:

    Love this challenge!!!!

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Can’t wait to hear what’cha do! Lucy and I sent one a couple of weeks ago and just got a notice back from the recipient. SUPER SUPER fun stuff.

  2. Mary Eickemeyer Mary Eickemeyer says:

    Such perfect timing. I am busy preparing a care package for a friend of mine who lives in a very rural part of the western USA. She and her husband have 2 foster children and have cared for many more. The closest Walmart is 80 miles away from her so she appreciates everything that arrives by mail. I have my care package 1/2 full and was wondering last night what else would be good to send. Ryan gave me some fantastic ideas. This is what is currently in the care package: three kinds of velvet art sets which her kids love, 4 medium heart shaped boxes of Whitman candy (my favorite), a Valentines-making kit that I found on sale last week, lots of heart-shaped stickers in different sizes, and some blank white note cards and envelopes. I plan to see if I can find some comic books, some tea, maybe some fun socks, Legos and a few other items.

    My family has been sending care packages for generations beginning with when my uncles were in World War II. My mom often send care packages to family and friends. She called them Boost Boxes and filled them with things that would bring joy to the recipient. When she died, we joked that the Post Office would miss her as much as anyone because she would not be there every other week sending out a box.

    I started sending mine in college. The first one I sent was to my parents who complained that I was not home to make cookies for Christmas. So I made them in my little apartment kitchen in college and sent them to my parents along with a few other items from the area in which I was living at the time. They were so happy to receive that box and were very surprised that I would do that. I sent out a bunch of them after my mom’s passing with things that she had that were important to those that she left behind. One of my cousins sent me a note this Christmas telling me how much that still meant to her. And the tradition lives on.

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Wow, Mary! So fun to read your plans for this box. I love “Boost Box!” Your moms example… what a gift! How special that you’ve followed in her footsteps. Your friends will surely be squealing with delight very soon. YAY!

    • So awesome, Mary. What a wonderful legacy!!

  3. Wendy Whitney-Scherer Wendy Whitney-Scherer says:

    Went to Dollar Tree and picked up some goodies! If you haven’t experienced wack-a-pack add then to your list. You whack the pack and it sets off a chemical reaction causing the balloon inside to expand and break open the package.

  4. Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

    Wow, Mary! So fun to read your plans for this box. I love “Boost Box!” Your moms example… what a gift! How special that you’ve followed in her footsteps. Your friends will surely be squealing with delight very soon. YAY!

  5. Jen de Ridder Jen de Ridder says:

    I love my package and the excitement it created in me. This is a great challenge.
    I am planning on using this idea for my staff training for my summer camp staff. I do a week long training with about 60 folks and finding ways to make it fun, focused on learning, impactful and team focused. This month has really got some inspiration going. Thanks to all!
    But that is so far away so I am thinking and planning today some packages to do sooner. I will have to update once I am ready to rock.

  6. Lynn Carter Lynn Carter says:

    I was working on a care package for my daughter for when I headed off on a business trip, when a care package for *me* arrived in the mail! And all this happened before I had any idea it would be an Escape Lab Thing! NB: That shrinky dink “paper” is not expensive at all, and it takes up no room whatsoever in a care package!

  7. Wendy Whitney-Scherer Wendy Whitney-Scherer says:

    #1 care package to sister for her birthday: guacamole card, snow flakes mini table runner *handmade, wax snowman, hand-shaped sticky notes, socks, children’s book, heart slinky, Valentines’ to be opened Feb. 14th, note about college visit days, note about decorating

    #2 So my care package idea for my mom has evolved into, “The Five Days before Retreat” (to the Tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas). I will be giving my mom a surprise each morning leading up to our retreat. Here’s what’s in the works so far. The contents came from me and my friends who will be attending the retreat.

    The Five Days before Retreat
    (To the Tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas)
    On the 5th day before retreat, my houseguests gave to me … recipEs. (some ingredients for the recipes, 2 pictures for Groundhog Day colored by the kids)
    *Including Groundhog Casserole for Groundhog Day!
    On the 4th day before retreat, my houseguests gave to me … two decorative towels.*handmade
    On the 3rd day before retreat, my houseguests gave to me … a Piggly Wiggly gift certificate and three nights swimming. (guacamole card all in a little file organizer)
    On the 2nd day before retreat, my houseguests gave to me … relaxation and gardening stuff-E. (gardening: garden gloves, seed mix, relaxation: paper dollie, candle, rose petals for tub, just for
    fun: whack a pack balloon, heart slinky, jelly beans, all in my Escape Lab box)
    On the morning before retreat begins, my houseguests gave to me … a new cell phone cover-E.
    My houseguests also gave to me…Point of View embroidered sweatshirts for Andrew and ME.

  8. Angela Dunlap Angela Dunlap says:

    Because today is a snow day (yeah!), I had time to take care of the care package challenge. I haven’t got it in the mail yet, but it’s sealed and ready to go. I’m sending the package to a friend with whom I went to high school. She consistently sends me Christmas cards, and I consistently don’t send her anything (smile). I don’t send Christmas cards to anyone at all, so it’s not like I’m slighting her over everyone else.
    I was going to do a movie night theme, but that required a trip to the W place, which I opt out of doing, so I went to the local grocery store and they had several $1 items out for Valentine’s Day and I immediately switched gears. In the care package, I am sending gel window clings, a light-up lips necklace, a coloring book with scratch n sniff stickers, crayons, a memo notebook, a sheet of encouragement stickers, Sweetheart strawberry lip balm, a cherry Blow Pop (from THE box), scratch-off lottery tickets, and a photo of a red pepper (just because what else am I going to do with that photo?).
    I went to the post office to buy a shipping container and came home with a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer padded envelope that was 50% off original price ($1.30). Who says Rudolph can’t represent on a care package sent in February?!?! :0)

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    • What a fun collection of stuff, Angela!

      Also, “Thou shalt not use Rudolph-themed mailers in February” = #notarule

  9. Amy Metcalf Amy Metcalf says:

    Tomorrow is, Thank a Mailman Day, so I have decided to make our mail carrier a little care package!
    Bright and early tomorrow, I will spruce up the inside of my mailbox with metallic curling ribbon and a cute little package, including: Ghirardelli Chocolates, Hot Cocoa Mix from Starbucks, Hand Cream, Lip Balm, a wonderful smelling candle, and a gift card to a local coffee shop. (I can’t tell right now if my picture is going to post — hopefully it is above for all to see)

    Although I have put together many care packages before, I felt EXTRA giddy about this one — the thought of surprising a stranger and adding a little unexpected sunshine to their day makes me feel really good inside. :)

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  10. Sarah Tipperreiter Sarah Tipperreiter says:

    I’m super-psyched to send this care package to my godson. His birthday is coming up, AND he just got accepted into 2 PhD programs (at least!!) after working like crazy on his MA in Archaeology at Arizona for the past two years. I wasn’t sure what to send him, but as I was browsing Target, saw lots of Cubbies stuff and remembered he’s a huge Cubs fan! So that, along with all this other fun stuff, will be perfect for a starving grad student (I even wrapped some in Cubs wrapping paper!). Thanks, K&J, for the care package idea. I had a great time putting it together and hope he loves it!

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