Bean and I spend a short weekend at Camp Timbercrest for a Me and My Gal camp. It was fun, and it was an adventure.
We arrived on a Friday evening (after only a minimal number wrong turns), signed in, dropped our stuff off, and walked back to our tent with the help of one of the counselors. Another mom/daughter combo were in the same unit as we were, so we walked back together. Bean and the daughter spent most of the rest of the weekend together. I spent a lot of time chatting with her mother. A quick aside…I found out that Bean and this girl will be at the same overnight session at the end of the month –hooray! She’ll know someone there! Well, she already knows another, older girl who will be there, but the girl we just met is doing the first-timer’s overnight camp as well.
After claiming our tent, we rearranged the cots – pulled two into the middle of the tent and double stacked the mattresses, set our sleeping bags up, de-cocooned / de-mothed, and went back to the lodge to play some bingo. I didn’t catch it until we came back, but our tent stopped a good several inches above the platform. I also had to shove some sock rolls into various holes in one of the tent flaps in an attempt to keep mosquitoes out. Bean needed reassurance that no rats would come into our tent while we were sleeping.
The next morning, we were woken up by a very loud clanging bell at 7am. Got dressed. Did a flag ceremony. Ate breakfast.
Our first activity was arts and crafts. They had it set up to do friendship bracelets (a bit beyond what Bean can do at the moment), so they got out items to make picture frames.
Then we went boating. Bean wanted to ride in a paddle boat first. She mostly enjoyed that, then wanted to try canoeing. She’s done it with her grandparents, so she’s had some experience. However, we were in a huge canoe on a windy lake. She was not very helpful in terms of steering. It took all of my strength to manhandle that thing back to the dock/shore. Bean was less than thrilled and close to tears because I managed to seriously rock the canoe several times in my effort to force it to turn in the direction I wanted it to go. Once on shore again, it took a good 10 minutes of cajoling to convince her to try the kayak. She finally agreed to give it a shot, and absolutely loved it. I think in large part because all she had to do was sit in my lap and trail her fingers in the water. It was a heck of a lot easier to deal with the kayak on a windy lake, though still a bit of a pain.
By the time we were done kayaking, the swimming section of the lake was getting ready to open. Bean and I went into the lodge to change into our swimsuits so we could get in the minute we were allowed to (very hot day).
I made her put her floaties on since she is not a strong swimmer. It is nice that it is one thing she won’t argue about. At the edge of the swimming area, there were two platforms the girls could jump off of. Again, it took group cajoling to get Bean to jump off the darn thing, and then she kept coming back for more jumping.
Lunch was directly after swimming, and then we repeated everything we did in the morning, minus the canoeing (it would be nice if they could have a wider variety of activities). Swimming was the highlight of the afternoon for Bean since they were allowed to use the water trampoline. Only one mom ventured out there and she said that it wasn’t worth the effort of trying to hike yourself up onto the thing – there needs to be one more set of handholds.
Fast forward to the campfire and sing-along after dinner. The girls roasted marshmallows and pink Peeps bunnies for s’mores. And we sang a lot of songs. I even led a few of them (A Ram Sam Sam, Little Black Things, and Baby Bumblebee). It was interesting to see how lyrics and tunes vary between regions. I grew up in New Mexico, so the way I learned some of the songs is not how they sing them here. I learned different tunes for Little Black Things and Little Cabin In The Woods. I learned different lyrics for Herman the Worm (Hermie the Wormie out here). I also learned that my Girl Scout Camp experience involved a lot more songs involving death and dismemberment (Johnny Trebeck, for example encompasses both of those things). That could be a difference of time or geography. Who knows?
Bean was scared to go to sleep that night – not because of the campfire songs. We (the adults) made the mistake of talking about scary things while she was around. The first scary thing had to do with rabid bats. Girl Scouts in NY are no longer allowed to camp out under the stars because a girl was bitten by a rabid bat. In Georgia. Twelve years ago. That in and of itself isn’t want did Bean in, it was my answer when she asked what happens when one gets bitten by a rabid bat – they die. I forgot to qualify that with, “if they don’t get a series of painful shots fairly soon after being bitten.” One more thing to be added to the already long list of emotional scars I have given her.
The second thing that ruined Bean’s sleep was a story about a raccoon with a chip bag stuck on its head. One of the moms said she swore she heard what sounded like the above mentioned animal outside of her tent the previous night. We all had a good laugh about it, but Bean not so much (for a kid who can watch a nature show where an eagle swoops down and kills a bunny, she can be fairly tender).
Nothing much happened on Sunday morning. We got up, got dressed, packed up and put our stuff in the drop-off area, went down and had breakfast, picked up our stuff, and left. And we’ll most likely do it all again next year since Bean had a fun time (minus raccoons and rabid bats).