Family camp rocks!

Near the end of this previous summer, we went to sleep away camp. All of us! We stayed in a tent, specifically this tent.

Our tent

It was one family per tent, and there were about 6 tents around a campfire and about six of those setups around camp. Some of them had yurts and some had cabins, but we were in the cheap tents. I figured it gave us the best approximation to actual camping for us to get an idea of how it goes. I think I learned that this is as close to real camping as I care to get right now. There are port-a-potties nearby and a bit further away are composting toilets and real showers. The only flushing toilets were right next to the dining hall.

The tents had bunk beds in them, with very thin mattresses on very springy springs made to hold 10 year old girls. I moved my mattress and Ewan’s onto the floor to have some actual back support as my two year old will still try to sleep on top of me given the chance.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon, about 20 minutes early actually, and hung around waiting until the official starting time. They helped us with our bags to the camp site and we tried to settle in before the first activities began. The first thing for the kids to get used to was just how far apart things are from each other. It was about a 10 minute walk from camp to the dining hall where the main activities started. That was a bit of a learning curve but eventually they got the hang of it, and we got better at packing. It was also a bit difficult because the weather was right on the edge of raining and not raining, which meant we wanted to have both our swim gear (not raining) and rain gear (raining) which is a lot of stuff. That and then Ewan refused to walk some of the time and had to be carried. I’d recommend to other people with small children to bring an off-road stroller to carry the stuff.

Teaching them to lug their own stuff

We started off with an opening ceremony which was all new for our kids to see other grown ups being particularly silly. Then we went swimming and enjoyed the water toys.


Eating was a major adjustment for the kids which took about a day for them to get used to. The dining hall was loud, busy, and not something that I had cooked for them (yay I didn’t have to cook for three days!). Plus each meal we had a stranger sitting with us, a counselor, with whom we were chatting. After dinner, we had campfire with the traditional songs and skits and funny business that the girls were wondering just who were these strange people. Ewan was wandering around a lot, which thankfully was ok. Then we went back to the tent for bed and the trickiness of figuring out how to do our nightly routine in the dark. We brought flashlights but it’s still really dark. We need a bigger lantern for inside the tent for next year. We learned what not to do, but finally made it into bed for the night and slept till morning.

Monday we made it to breakfast on time and still the kids were shell shocked at eating in the dining hall. It took until Monday night before they got the swing of things and were able to actually eat enough to not be hangry before the next meal. There are lots of activities at camp, some of which were sadly cancelled on us because of thunder. We got to do lots of things though anyway. We started off with archery because it was something that Jordi and I were both excited to do again from our camp days. The girls weren’t too excited to start but they got into it once they figured it out. Ewan gave it several turns as well. The counselors put up balloons to shoot at the end which was a fun target. We returned to the archery range multiple times over our camping trip as it was one thing that wasn’t cancelled with rain or thunder.





For the second half of the morning I had signed up for sailing with Josie but it was cancelled due to lack of wind. Instead we all hopped into a canoe and went on a trip across the lake. Ewan did an excellent job of sitting down almost the entire time and no one tipped the boat. We saw some neat flowers and a beaver dam.

That afternoon the girls and Jordi went to the high ropes course in the woods while I stayed with Ewan taking a nap. Then later in the afternoon the girls went off on their own with some counselors and made fairy houses, and I can’t remember what Jordi and I did with Ewan, maybe he was still napping. We again enjoyed a dinner that I didn’t have to cook or clean up from. The counselors got the food for us from the line, and they cleaned up the tables. This isn’t the way they run things during regular camp, but since the counselors have so much less responsibility with the families (they don’t have to take care of kids most of the day!) they took care of it for us. We headed back earlier from dinner as some ‘fairies’ had deposited some smores treats by our campfires.

Our fellow Fossey cabin mates though were smart and knew that the smores allocation was insufficient for the number of people in reality so they had brought their own backup smores supplies. Although given that they had it in their tent, I’m not so sure I’m glad to be near them and their animal attracting food. We are rule followers, so we brought no food at all as they stated. We had a great evening around the campfire once we could get it going. Again once we were done and everyone was exhausted we had to figure out the brushing teeth in a sink that the little ones can’t really reach and is only sort of clean. We managed better this time once it wasn’t so new for everyone. It was only our first full day at camp but the next one would be our last! Camp was sadly very short, just shy of 3 full days.

Tuesday morning we decided we should shower since we hadn’t bathed yet unless you counted swimming. We went to take showers which were ok, except it was very tricky to get the kids to understand which pieces of clothing could or could not hit the floor (i.e. the wet dirty part you don’t want your clean new clothes to go onto). We made it through, made a mad dash to the dining hall to find most all the chairs already upturned. We were late late late. I went and begged for food, got scolded, blamed my small slow children, and thankfully since we were one of the few vegetarian people there, they had cooked a lot of vegetarian sausage for us. Since no one had eaten it, it was still there for us! Plus some french toast. It had started to rain and so we listened to and told some stories as we ate breakfast with a group (we weren’t the last to show up).

Later in the morning we went to shelter building and archery again! After lunch, I got to go sailing finally! There was a tiny bit of wind, not much, and Josie wouldn’t come with me but I enjoyed it. I seem to mostly remember how to handle the little boats. We tried again for the high ropes/zip line but some crazy thunder storms ended that. Our final night we are mostly ready for bed by the time dinner is over at 7, late bedtimes and lots of activities. We headed back and packed up and went to sleep. That night Jordi and the kids managed to brush their teeth, but by the time it was my turn it had started to rain quite a bit. Thankfully we were in a tent and I had some water, so I just brushed while laying by the side of the tent and spit out over the side onto the bare ground. We definitely got into the spirit of camp, nothing was terribly clean, everything was ‘camp damp’ as they said. Before every meal they do a song in front of the dining hall or cheer which the girls were very into. It was all very campy, and it was a blast to get to go back and do it again as an adult and share it with the kids. We’re signed up to go again next year! you should come too!

Josie and Celia on the Fossey trail

Walking to a meal

Almost ready to leave camp

Walking to the car

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