Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Camping Trip to Remember

So I volunteered to be one of the adults at this years Brownie Try-It Camp at a council campground. And since they changed the ages of the different levels...they go ahead and let first grade Daisy's attend also. That would be my Mouse. So it only made sense to volunteer as this would be a first in her book.

(And you know...the nightmare issues.....snicker.)

And adults cannot be in the same tent as the girls.

And Mouse WANTED to go tent camping even though I wouldn't be in the same tent. No way I was going to hold her back. (She wasn't willing to go without me.)

So, its off to the woods and platform tents with 6-8 year olds. Seven of them. Only a couple of which had ever done this kind of camping before. Three adults.

Are you laughing at me yet?

The first sign of things to come was in the parking lot while loading up the girls and gear. Yep. One parent let us know about his daughters sleep walking. Lock her in and barricade the door to keep her in the room of their cruise last vacation kind of sleep walking.

Um....okay. Hubs and son sleepwalk so I have half a clue. Half. Yes, that would be a good description.

Now I have a van full of girls that constantly asked if we were almost there. This is funny if you know that it took about 40 minutes. Less than an hour. And they wanted to know every couple of minutes. This was a very good reminder that I am used to dealing with Juniors....not the little ones. Helped me slip into the right frame of mind. LOL!

First day we arrive about 2 or so and sign in, get our cabins and have the girls tested at the pool to see where they are allowed to swim. They are given a colored swim cap to show which parts of the pool they are qualified for. Very very good and smart system. Makes the job for the life guards so much easier.

At dinner time the mood was set for Mouse by having pizza the first night. Yes, my friends. My daughter has FINALLY discovered pizza -- and is currently obsessed with it -- so this was just the greatest. (And the only melt down all camp by Mouse was when she was not at the same table with me and someone put sausage on her plate. I made sure she was with me at meals after that. Oh well - it was worth a shot.)

We had s'mores the first night. Mouse LOVED them. I don't think she had ever had them before. So it was a cool first time.

Oh, I haven't mentioned the PA's. These are the older girls that were with us almost all the time. They got us where we needed to be. They did the fire and s'mores. They interacted with the girls. As leaders, we were oversight but the PA's did all the real work. It was rather nice.

First night I was kind of nervous. We shared a camp site with another small troop with 3 girls. All first timers also. They had a rough time of it and we heard them a few times but no big deal. Poor leaders were tired the next morning.

For us it was hot and the bugs were all over. I had a tent fan with me and as long as I had it on they stayed off my face and away from my ears so I was the lucky one. (One of our girls went home with over 30 bites - some from before the camp - poor baby!) And yes we hosed everyone down with the spray more than once..or twice.

We had two girls that stayed up talking until about one. Had to get up a few times for that. Then came the raccoon. A very tenacious raccoon. I listened to him for half an hour....praying he wouldnt visit us in our tent as we had both ends open for the air flow and any ole critter could have walked right in. Gotta love platform tents. Finally the rat got the lid off the can so we jumped up to go chase him off before we had to spend hours cleaning up garbage all over our site. That thing had actually chewed the bungie cord in half!! (Had to show it to the director to get them to believe it. Of course its going to be a first with us.)

After that it was all good and we got to sleep around two.

Next day was hot and busy! Even with that it was nice as an adult...because the PA's ran everything. And I have to say our helpers had their work cut out for them because I'm pretty sure we had the least excitable kids at the place. They were not easy to get to jump in and sing or dance or whatever. They just looked at the older girls like they were crazy. (I thought it was pretty funny myself.) I'm sure next year they will be more themselves, but this year they were pretty stoic!

The girls did great but were wearing out after dinner and we still had the big all camper campfire to attend.

The one where all the troops have to perform a skit of some kind.

Kill me now. We all know how Autumn hates all things singing and drama-ish. I'll get dirty. I'll play with bugs and snakes. I'll get sweaty and stinky. Just don't make me sing. Or act.

And nobody had any ideals. They did decide on a song -- but then someone else did it earlier so we had to put our thinking caps on and come up with something quick.

Enter the iphone. Type in "quick girl scout skit" and there you go. Skit took about 2 minutes tops. And we got them to let us go first as Mouse was DONE and needed to go to bed. (But she did manage to stay awake for the whole thing somehow.)

The second night was when I expected trouble. And got it. It only makes sense as all the girls are now very over tired. Its been a rather long day.

First signs of trouble came from the other camp. (And my fan was no longer working, sniff.) Now their girls didn't want to sleep. And some wanted to go home. NOW. And there was lots of crying. They finally got that quieted down. Then I hear one of ours. One of our girls was missing mommy very much and she cried for half an hour. I asked her if she wanted to talk to her daddy (the third adult with us) but she said no. After half an hour I went and got him. He fixed it and we all went back to bed.

Then came the hysterical screaming and all three of the other girls crying. One of the girl rolled out of her cot and off the floor and onto the ground outside the tent. That is a good drop of a couple of feet. I checked on our girls and everyone was still sleeping so I told my tent mate I was going to head to the bathroom. Took 4 steps and stopped. I could hear something not right.

I head for one of our tents and as I got closer I could hear our little sleepwalker crying softly. It took a minute to get the flaps unbuckled (our only way to keep her in) and I hit her bed with the flashlight and it was empty.

Of course it was.

Went flying out the back of the tent without even attempting to unbuckle it and couldn't see her with the flashlight but could hear her. And that forest is dark. But I swung around and found her trapped in the lumber frame that the canvas tents are attached to. She thought she was boxed in and was bumping off the frame and crying. She was fairly easy to untangle and get back in bed. I have no idea if she crawled out of the tent or fell out and will never know since she didn't remember a thing.

After that I settled back down until MM started up with the nightmares. That was about 4 trips out of bed to settle her back down.

And the third day our girls are tired. Luckily it was just clean up, breakfast in the dining hall and an ending ceremony.

And as we are transferring gear around between the cars we go to move mine. Won't start.

Dead battery.

Not kidding.

And I have no cables. So the camp starts a search for the cables and finally finds some and our third parent is wonderful enough to jump the van for me. And we get everyone dropped off - me leaving the car running. And then Mouse and I drive over to Walmart to have them install a battery as Hubs is out of state and I will be stranded if I don't go do it immediately.

With three day camp hair. And shoes that smell. Like I can smell them every time I stand still. Because those shoes and the feet and socks in them....have been wet for two solid days. The dew point was so high the grass was wet all day long...and so were all of our shoes.

And Mr. Walmart told me it would be an hour and a half and I had no choice. (But he was a major sweetheart and had it done in about 20 minutes -- I think it was the shoes....)

And after all of that I have to say we had the best time. It was a great trip. I'd do it again in a heart beat.

Cause that is good times.

Not kidding.


  1. I keep telling Andy we need to get Canaan signed up for Cub scouts. But I am thinking that I will let him do the camping trips with them. I will be thrilled to help with meetings, baking them snacks, whatever - but I don't think I could handle the wet shoes, or the bugs. I like camping, but not in the middle of July, in an open tent, with kids that are not mine...
    You are my hero.

  2. You are SUCH a good mom!!! I spent part of my first-ever Brownie camping trip puking b/c I ate too many s'mores. Ah- the memories...