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Our first family camping adventure

by Traci Schumacher on Tue, 10/30/2012 - 11:09am
Meeting at the flagpole.
Shooting at the alien target.

Camping. The mere thought of the word conjures visions of the great outdoors, toasting marshmallows, hiking, and a cozy tent. The reality of this past weekend did in fact include all of these elements, mixed in with a good dose of sibling fussiness, the revelation of things forgotten, and the logistics of coping in a large group environment, all rounded out with general sleep deprivation.

It was our family's first time camping all together. We made our debut on the Cub Scouts' Haunted Trail camping trip, and for the most part really enjoyed ourselves (see the aforementioned “visions”). It was refreshing to get away from normal life, enjoy a bit of nature, and watch the kids have some fun. My 6-year-old really enjoyed his first time using a BB gun and doing archery. Other activities included hiking, fishing, sports, and crafts. My daughter discovered a love for whittling, and she diligently searched for good pieces of wood and worked them with her dad's pocket knife.

Our first surprise came after we unloaded our minivan at our campsite and discovered our little Scout had forgotten to bring along his backpack. You know... the one with all his clothes and stuff in it. On the bright side, we were only staying for one night, and as a bonus our son got a lesson in responsibility and adaptability.

We brought a Coleman camp stove, borrowed from my parents, but forgot to bring anything to cook our hotdogs on (we didn't think we would have enough time with all the scheduled events to make a fire, cook, and clean up). We also forgot the cream cheese for the bagels that I brought. So we improvised with our eating plan... another lesson in adaptability.

Overall I think this was a great first camping experience. It was long enough to have some fun and get a feel for it, but also short enough to avoid being overwhelmed by the details of forgotten things and sharing a bathhouse with 1000 other people. You can survive just about anything for a day and a half.

We did observe that, in the future, we will need to find a better way to manage our food to keep the ants away (they didn't miss a crumb... or a hotdog or a grape). My husband suggested we bring less food next time so certain individuals can get by with less bathroom time. And we need to work out a system for packing, organizing, and remembering everything (maybe a well-planned check list would do the trick). Aside from these issues, our family is excited to take our camping fun to the next level sometime... into the wilderness. Or a state park.

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