I’m not particularly fond of camping. I’ve gone camping lots of times, and it’s kind of okay, and maybe even a little bit fun the first night, but after that I’m ready to go home. In no particular order, here are a few of the things I really dislike about camping:
- Coffee. More accurately, the extreme shortage of decent coffee in less than copious quantities. Some people love “cowboy coffee” – I am not one of those people. However, when my survival (and others’) is in question, I will chew the coffee if I have to.
- Lack of a temperature-controlled environment. I dislike being damp and sticky, as if moss is growing on my back almost as much as I dislike losing feeling in my fingers and toes.
- Spiders. Other bugs I can usually handle. Spiders? Not so much.
- The underside of those picnic tables – concrete or wood, doesn’t matter. It’s difficult to know what might be lurking there unless I look, but once I look, I regret it. See “Spiders” above.
- Walking in the dark to find a bathroom. Did I mention spiders already?
But on the other hand, there are several things I kind of like about camping:
- Family time. Uninterrupted by electronics.
- Campfires. Everything about them. Especially gooey marshmallows on sticks and the way my clothes smell like campfire for days afterward.
- Sleeping in a tent is sort of cool, unless it’s raining.
- Exploring. Especially exploring through the eyes of my kiddos. What wonders they behold.
- Hiking. I used to hate it, but then I was either a smoker, or overweight. Now, I am neither. It’s difficult, and sometimes there are spiders, but I enjoy hiking a lot more now.
Here’s what I’ve learned on a recent Girl Scout “camping” trip:
- Not everyone has camping skills. Even with as few opportunities to camp as I’ve had, I have far more camping skills than a good many people. This isn’t a negative thing, exactly. I guess I’ve camped out more than I thought.
- I know how to make foil pockets for cooking individual meals over a fire and also possess the ability to teach others how to make their own foil pockets.
- I don’t want to lead, but get so frustrated when witnessing others fumbling around with something that seems simple and logical to me. Again, this isn’t a negative thing, exactly.
- Camping without my family is no fun at all. Camping with virtual strangers is even less fun.
- Gaggling, giggling, gabbing girls. Yikes. Like, this is just so annoying! Like, every time I come across a, like, gaggle of these giggling girls I want to, like, smack a couple of them into silence. (Please, reign your troops in and get them to take a breath occasionally?)
- It is absolutely true that one strong, knowledgeable leader can make or break the entire experience.
- Camp names must be given to you by someone else; you cannot choose your own.
- Sleeping in a room with 18 girls and 6 adults is a challenge in so many ways.
- I don’t think I’m cut out for Girl Scouts. I tried to be a Brownie Scout when I was 6. I went to exactly two meetings and quit. Didn’t like it then; don’t like it now. However, I will do my very best not to color my daughter’s experience with my negativity.