I am not what you would call an adventurous person. I love to go new places, meet new people, and try new things but I prefer to do all of these without the use of skis, sporting equipment, mountain climbing gear…you get the point. I used to go camping a lot as a kid but as I got older I needed electricity for my curling iron (late 80’s-early 90’s hair QUEEN), indoor plumbing, and a real bed. I have gotten out of the habit of “roughing” it on any level.
A couple of months ago my oldest came home absolutely giddy because the entire fourth grade class at her school was going on an overnight field trip to 4H camp. It would be a 24 hour conservation outing about 30 minutes from our house. Her teacher needed chaperones and I gladly signed up to help. All of this was occurring in February when the thought of any weather that didn’t include a -25 wind chill was very appealing. After much anticipation, papers, schedules, and a parent meeting, it was time to pack up and head to camp!!
Now you should know that I had a horrible Girl Scout camp experience when I was nine. Here are the things I remember: We slept in what amounted to a tarp hung badly over a wood floor and furnished with cots. It stormed (I HATE storms, more about that later) the entire time (I’m exaggerating but if felt like the thunder and lightning never ended). We went spelunking. No, not like walking into a cave or even shining a light in to see if any bats flew out. I’m talking crawling on our bellies, needing a miners cap, oh dear God will I ever see my mommy again spelunking. Did I mention I wasn’t a fan of getting dirty either? I wanted to come home and I flat out begged to call my parents. The counselor/Gestapo in charge of me said no. I started to believe that all phone lines had been sliced in an effort to make sure I stayed the entire week. But I’m no dummy. I wrote a letter (which my mom found recently and gave to me) and it was simple, “Dear Mom and Dad, I hate camp. Please come and get me.” I waited. I just knew my dad was hightailing it to rescue me from this place. He and mom finally showed up…on Friday. They had received my letter that morning and felt terrible. Apparently even the mail couldn’t get out of that place without a struggle. In the end, I lived and my “camp” story has always been a favorite in my family.
Fast forward to last Thursday. It rained, a lot, and there were some storms. I stayed in a real cabin with three other chaperones and 10 very hyper girls. There were more storms. The kids learned a lot, got very wet and muddy, and had a fabulous time. No one in our group asked to go home. It stormed a bit more. On Friday morning, after one hour of sleep, I took a shower, a lot of Advil, and had breakfast with 40 very tired but happy fourth graders.
My soon to be 10 year old insisted we sign her up for the full week of 4H camp this summer. Her tuition has been paid and all papers have been signed so I guess she’s really going to do it. I’m very proud of Riley. I think she will have a blast. I’m happy to say I gave that place the complete once over and there wasn’t a cave in sight.