Posts Tagged ‘camp’

Camping: Great for Family Bonding

Friday, August 2nd, 2019


If I had known how wonderful camping would be for family bonding, I would have gone camping with my family a lot sooner. Yes, I find it nearly impossible to sleep outdoors because of all the noises and light, a feeling of not being protected, and the constriction of a sleeping bag which is way too hot and tight for comfortable sleeping. During the day in the summer months, the outdoor temperature induces sweating and wilting, not the ideal conditions for a pleasant experience.


Notwithstanding the aforementioned drawbacks of camping, I still have to say that the beauty of nature, the delicious food cooked over a campfire, and the deep conversations without any electrical devices can be refreshing and invigorating. And it helps if there is a lake or river nearby to dip your feet into to cool off.


Years ago we were given a family tent that was big enough to sleep our whole family, back when our kids were young. We used this family tent for church camps because we couldn’t afford a cabin. During those church camps when my children were toddlers and preschoolers, the sheer amount of work to take care of the children was enough to bring me to the brink of tears out of sheer exhaustion.


Now that the kids are older and starting college, we took a weekend to re-connect as a family. I found a new 2-person tent at a yard sale for $5, so we even had separate quarters for us, the parents. My sons immediately started whittling sticks with their pocket knives. It had been years since they had learned to use their pocket knives at Cub Scouts, which my husband and I used to lead.


We set up the tents and threw our backpacks into the tents and settled into our canvas chairs around a campfire. We had brought food to cook over a campfire for each meal, and of course, we brought S’mores. As we sat around the campfire in the evenings, we would talk and talk. It was wonderful! My kids are interesting and their thoughts run deep. They have opinions about everything, and they are hilarious. We laughed a lot while sitting and telling stories the second night around the campfire. My kids all have active imaginations, and their conversations reminded me of when I was young and all of life stretched out before me.


During the day we went exploring the area, finding beautiful other-worldly places. The marshy ground revealed long-necked birds and more exotic insects than are found in the city. A small lake reflected the blue sky and was surrounded by low mountains. It was a beautiful sunny day, both days that we were camping.


It was nice to smell bacon and eggs in the morning, especially when cooked by someone other than me. My son Stephen made pancakes the second morning, and we were always ravenously hungry. Maybe the fact that we were outdoors caused us to expend more energy through exercise, causing us to need more food. And the food always tasted wonderful.


The conversations we had as a family enabled us to bond in a beautiful way before we sent two kids off to college. One of our sons left to Oregon for Bible college, while our second son is commuting from home, but both have definitely matured into godly men. Sitting and sharing our hearts over a campfire is definitely an experience I would not have traded for the world!


Wednesday, July 28th, 2010


One of the fun activities at Cub Scout camp is archery. Each of the boys is given an opportunity to shoot with a bow and arrows. First the boys are given a set of safety instructions. They put on three things: goggles to protect their eyes, a wrist guard to protect their arm, and a finger guard to keep their fingers from hurting when they pull back the bow with their fingers. One finger goes above the arrow, and two fingers go below. The arrow is notched into the bow string right below a white dot. You pull back the string to the edge of your mouth, which is a lot harder than it looks. Then you let the arrow fly, hoping it lands somewhere in the target.


I tried archery for the first time this year, and I realized that I have no upper body strength. I had no way to aim the arrow because my arm was trembling, making the bow and arrow tremble. Three of my six arrows went into the tarp behind the bulls eye. I had always envisioned archery as a fun Robin Hood activity, but it would be much more fun if I did pull-ups and push ups for several months before I try it again.


My boys did much better than I did. My one perfectionist son was upset that he didn’t hit dead center every time like he does with BB gun shooting. My husband told him that archery was much more difficult. I think each of my boys got all their arrows in the target, but they had help. Nobody put their arms around me to help me steady my bow. I’m just saying.

Camping Under the Stars

Friday, July 16th, 2010


Here is my crazy experience camping under the stars with my family. My story includes sleeplessness, a helicopter, and a downpour. No wonder I hate camping!

Camping is a fun summer activity for most families. For some oddball reason, I don’t like sleeping on the ground. An air mattress does not resemble a real mattress. It just doesn’t. (Remember what happened to me in Paris, and you’ll understand why camping isn’t my favorite thing.) But last year when my husband wanted me to go camping with him and the boys for Cub Scout family camp, I decided to give it a try again. Since I love nature, and I love the idea of my boys having the adventure of being in a tent, I felt gung-ho about the whole thing.

When we arrived, the first order of business was to set up the tent. It was a big tent, so it took quite a while to set up. Then we blew up the air mattresses and unrolled the sleeping bags, and voila! …home away from home.camping-under-the-stars-2

That night I had trouble getting to sleep. First the boys were giggling and tossing and turning and swishing and whispering and shooshing. You get the point. My husband told them to knock it off, and they were quiet after that, aside from the occasional turn.

Tick, tick, tick. Time just passed, and I wasn’t falling asleep. I was finally beginning to doze off at 1am, when a loud helicopter flew above us and nearly scared me out of my wits. Every 10 or 15 minutes, it would circle back over, just to make sure that people drifting off would not be able to actually get to sleep. (Later my sister told me they were probably looking for a fugitive, and that a helicopter is always bad news, especially in the middle of the night. I told her I was glad I hadn’t thought of that.)

camping-under-the-stars-3The next night when it was time to go to bed, we had gone stargazing, and the boys had pointed out lots of constellations. My husband took the top off our tent, and we went to sleep under the stars. The boys were snoring within about 10 minutes of hitting the sack. My husband and I made love under the stars. I thought to myself, “This isn’t so bad. It’s romantic and fun, and I’ve never fallen asleep under the stars before.” No helicopters disturbed my sleep.

Water suddenly splashed my face at dawn, and I realized there was a huge downpour of rain coming straight into our tent! In the few seconds it took me to wake up my husband, I noticed the puddles on top of the sleeping bags of my 3 sleeping boys. My husband and I grabbed the tarp and flung it up onto the tent, getting completely drenched in the process. I looked like a drowned rat. “Good morning. We might as well get up. Can anyone find any dry clothes? It doesn’t matter if they’re dirty at this point. Dry is the only thing that matters,” I instructed my boys. They eventually got dressed. In the process of going to the camp bathroom and back, we tracked mud all over the inside of the tent. (We let it dry during the day and later swept it out.)

I shook the puddles off the sleeping bags. Oddly, the rain stopped the minute we put the tarp back on. Looking around the camp, the ground was dry everywhere except for where our tent was. It was as if God had dumped a bucket of water right on us because it gave Him pleasure to do so.