Posts Tagged ‘camping’

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!

Camping in the Backyard

Monday, August 13th, 2012


My husband and third son went camping in the backyard last weekend. It was my husband’s idea. He wanted to spend time one-on-one with each of our kids this summer. He is planning to go fishing with my second son, and he will be taking my oldest son to a robotics class for youth. He also plans to take my daughter to the local children’s museum. I love that my husband wants to spend time with our kids, and that he enjoys them.

It must have been fun for my son Nathaniel to lie down in a sleeping bag next to his dad’s sleeping bag, chatting as they fell asleep in the tent. There’s something about one-on-one time that makes a kid feel important, like he matters. It doesn’t even have to cost any money.

Cub Scout Camp

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

One Cub Scout cacub-scout-campmp is a family camp, and the families of the Cub Scouts are invited to come. The camp takes place near a lake in our area. As soon as we arrive on the campgrounds, we need to set up our tent. Then the children (and any adults who want to go boating or swimming) take a swim test. If you are considered a non-swimmer, you can’t go out alone with another non-swimmer. There has to be one swimmer on each boat. Also, there is a trampoline in the lake, and your child can swim to it on his own if he passed the swim test. Otherwise he has to wait for an adult to go with him. All the boys wear life vests unless they are taking the swim test on the first day.

cub-scout-camp-2The boys are divided into groups, and the groups go through six different stations during the three days we are there. The stations include BB gun shooting, archery, crafts, orienteering, geology in the treehouse area, and waterfront activities. The waterfront activities this year were water basketball and water volleyball. During elective time, there are swimming activities, boating, fishing, marbles, chess, badminton, knot tying, astronomy, and bike riding. The orienteering included instruction on how to use a compass and how to orient a map. We went on a short hike using our compasses. BB Guns and archery can only happen at camp, where everything is gated off, and the boys are given safety precautions. Everything happens slowly and deliberately. For example, “Notch your arrow to your bow string,” is one command. The instructor waits until everyone does this one step. Then he gives instructions for the next step. This way when everyone shoots, it’s the safest environment possible.

Crafts include leathcub-scout-camp-3er crafts, bead work, and woodworking. This year there was no woodworking because we made model rockets instead, which the boys blasted off on the last day. The boys also played with some weird colored sand that always stayed dry, even when you added water. The boys pounded different stamps into their leather bookmark. Last year the boys made a leather pouch for marbles. They also pounded together a wooden treasure chest with nails, and then decorated it. The year before, the boys made a wooden bug catcher with an iron netting stapled to it. Twice the boys made a key chain out of beads. Bead work is harder than wood working and takes longer.

The food is served at the cafeteria, and two Scouts from each table volunteer to be waiters. They bring the food to the table, and afterwards clear the table and wipe it off. A flag ceremony occurs in the morning and at night before eating, and the Scouts wear their uniforms. The boys salute and show honor to our flag and our country.

cub-scout-camp-4After dinner each night, a Turbo Rush is blown up, and the children run through it. It’s kind of like a big, puffy trampoline with a slide at the end. The boys also play human fooseball. A rectangle of wood is entered, with a hole on each end for the goals. Ropes hang across the area, and PVC pipe pieces are connected to the rope, at each place where a boy would stand. The boys hold on to their PVC pipe, which slides across the rope. A soccer ball is thrown into the area, and a soccer game is played, with no one allowed to let go of his PVC pipe. It’s actually quite fun for the boys.

A campfire follows tcub-scout-camp-5he games around 8:30 or 9 pm, when it’s dusk. The first night the talent show is put on by the camp counselors. Many skits, songs with hand movements, and jokes are told. The boys laugh and have a good time. The second night the Scouts themselves are involved in the skits. The camp counselors usually help each camping section to come up with a skit to present.

Finally, the Scouts go to bed in their sleeping bags in a tent. Stargazing happens on the final night. If you take the top off your tent, you can look up at the stars as you fall asleep.

A Frame

Monday, July 26th, 2010

a-frameOur church goes camping once a year during the summer. During that time, we listen to speakers and spend some time talking with other believers at a nearby lake. One year our family was able to stay in an A frame. The cabin is in the shape of an “A,” which is why people call it an A frame. I have sweet memories of my own childhood, staying in an A frame for about a week while we were on furlough. It is one of my happiest memories of childhood.

a-frame-2When you walk through the front door, you see an area downstairs. Then you see a stairway that goes up to a bedroom in the loft area. You can look over the railing and see what people are doing downstairs. I don’t know of any other shape of house that can do this. Everything is made of wood: the walls, the ceiling, and the floor. So it feels like you are in a very fun cabin.

In the A frame where I stayed with my husband and children, the loft had exactly three beds for the three boys. The downstairs had two bedrooms. My husband and I slept in one room, and my baby girl slept in the other. It was nice to be able to give the baby a nap right after lunch in a darkened room that was away from everyone else. The A frame was also considera-frame-3ably cooler than a tent would have been in the middle of summer. (Forget taking a nap in a 90 degree bright, sunny tent. You feel like you are in an oven!)

I loved the fact that only our family was in the house, so the experience built our sense of family unity. There was a small kitchen downstairs, and I was glad to be able to have the lactaid milk not spoil for my two children who were lactose intolerant back then. Also, you could get a cold snack from the fridge, or a cold glass of water. In a regular cabin with other people, you can’t even go to the bathroom without people looking at you in your pajamas. So the feeling of privacy in the “A” fraa-frame-4me was also fun.

In the early morning when the children woke up, they could play quietly while my husband and I continued sleeping, because the boys were safely locked in. If we had stayed in a cabin with other families, after going to the communal bathroom, a toddler would have been tempted to walk out the unlocked front door, go to the pretty lake, walk onto the pier, and fall off and drown. I didn’t have to worry about such things when we were safely bolted in our A frame.

I still smile every time I look at these pictures of our time in the A frame.