I'm searching for our bug spray, sunscreen, Uno playing cards, marshmallow roasting forks. Into stuff sacks the sleeping bags go. How many spiders did it take to make all those cobwebs on our folding chairs? Do we get a 1 day fishing license or a season pass? In 48 hours we'll be able to see the stars, smell the pines and feel the cool mountain air. And my 2 kids will just have to do without any "screen" time, ie, TV screen, computer monitor screen, or DS Nintendo screen. Our mini-van is too old to have a DVD player built in, and my husband and I have held our ground on making it a-portable -DVD- player-free-zone. The only screen they may see in the coming week is the outdoor movie screen at Pinecrest Lake. It's like a pedestrian's version of a drive-in movie theatre.
It's an unwritten rule with the other families that video devices are verboten! MP3 players for music are ok, but not to view video. Use those eyes to really see what's around you.
We might even have some real conversations that will encourage them to actually express an opinion and defend it. Time will slow down where they'll be allowed to have their adventures sloshing around in the creek, telling ghost stories 'round the campfire, paddleboating on the lake, and getting way too sunburned because they ignored mom's advice. Heck, I'll even let them make and eat gooey, sticky, sweet s'mores!
It's old-fashioned and nostalgic to attend Family Camp...where waiting your turn to use the showers and saying "please", "thankyou" and "pass that platter of food" are the rule and not the exception. Where the kids are allowed to figure out their own pecking order free of parental interference and egos. Where the college-aged counselors are role models and they know it and behave accordingly! A place where I first allowed my children to go to the bathroom unaccompanied by me, their dad, or another relative. And where they learn lessons like mosquitos are especially hungry and fierce at dusk! Or ants are much bigger in the mountains. Or the ground squirrels and stellars jays are aggressive foragers and think nothing of rifling through your belongings.
Here's to making summertime memories!