So every year for the past four years, and conceivably for all future years, we have attended Family Camp at our church’s camp out in the sticks.
I say for all future years because there are people attending this camp who have been doing so nearly all their lives, and they are older than I am. And I don’t think it’s any big secret that I am terrifyingly decrepit. So apparently once you begin attending this camp you can expect to continue doing so for all eternity. There are two ladies who have got to be in their 80’s who still come every year.
Now, “church camp” stirs up all kinds of impressions which I would like to hastily dispel. We do not have lengthy camp meetings with laying on of hands or speaking in tongues. Nobody thumps a Bible at anybody else. It’s not brainwashing.
What we DO is we meet in the morning to talk about a certain amount of church related things (Jesusy stuff, you wouldn’t be interested) in the laid-back groovy UCC way that we have of doing things, and we eat lunch and go swimming down at the swimmin’ hole, and we have dinner and vespers which is a totally awesome way of saying we get together and talk about church related things again for a short time, and then we have campfire. Also in there between swimming and dinner we do some crafts if we are so inclined, and some people also manage to get in a certain amount of napping, no names mentioned *COUGH COUGH RHONDA FOR FOUR SOLID HOURS ONCE COUGH COUGH*
Oh, and there’s also field games and hiking and all kinds of stuff. This camp is on a couple hundred wooded acres with creeks and cabins and trees and dirt and bugs and stuff like that. There is lots of The Nature to wander around in, if one is so disposed.
This was our first time going for the whole week, and we stayed in a rustic (translation: electrical problems meant that the stove hood light worked at random intervals and one room upstairs had no power at all for reasons that were unclear) cabin with our BFF Kirsten and her three magical offspring, the youngest of whom is only nine months old. The other two are nearly exactly the same ages as The Lovely Rhonda’s girls.
The cabin is divided into two bunk rooms downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs, with bathrooms adjoining to the bunk rooms as well as one upstairs for the bedrooms. We put the five girls in one bunk room and Kirsten, the baby, TLR and myself in the other. Another camper stayed in the upstairs bedroom that did have power. It was groovy.
Did I mention how infants like to wake up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning and scream? They do, in case you were uninformed. This is useful information for those who might be tempted to travel with infant-having persons of their acquaintance, and so I mention it now in case this might describe either of you, dear reader(s). I like to be of service to my fellows.
Kirsten was afeared that we would disown her for this but Happy Fun Ball is such a cheerful, adorable baby who smiles ALL THE TIME that we couldn’t really hold a grudge. Not much of a grudge. Not too much of one. Not much. Of one. Of a grudge. Thing.
What was I saying? Fatigue has made me a bit punchy.
Anyway, we made sure the cabin was stocked up with snacks and Cokes for late night cribbage and towels for swimming and fans for the incredible sticky wilting summer heat, and we had Family Camp.
On the last night we had a very fun campfire with lots of singing (I have become a Camp Song Dork) and s’mores, and then we coerced the camp counselors to hang out in our cabin while the children slept so that we, the alleged grown-ups, could sit in the lodge and play games. This was super fun, made even more so by the fact that when we broke out the modest array of snacks that we had remaining, the response was so enthusiastic that we dispatched The Lovely Rhonda back to the cabin for more, and then watched as everything that was offered was devoured nearly instantly. I think it is safe to say that neither of us expected these people to eat cheese doodles and peanut butter M&M’s, after seeing them eat salad all week, but they did, and with considerable gusto.
Camp is this place with singing and crafts and really, really nice people, and for all that it is an hour from home it’s a magical hour such that when you drive out to town to get something it’s like you’ve re-entered civilization. We love it.
However, we’re not as wild about the mounds and mounds of funky camp laundry that we have to wash when we get home.
Still worth it though.