I had the opportunity to go camping with my oldest son and his Cub Scout Den twice during the past 5 weeks. He’s been in Scouts for 5 years and up until now we’ve avoided camping mainly because of our little ones at home, but these 2 camp outs were requirements for him to cross over to Boy Scouts. So camping we went!
We had a great time and it was quite a learning experience for both of us! I learned some things about myself, about him and about those in need.
Here are the 5 things I learned camping with my Cub Scout:
1. Sleeping pads are a must! Both times we slept in a tent, once on a wooden platform and once on the ground. I was sooooo glad that I bought sleeping pads for us! I knew this pregnant, 44 year old body would never be able to sleep on a platform or the ground! No only did they make sleeping a little more comfortable, but they also helped to keep the cold out during the chilly fall nights.
2. I really enjoy camping. My parents took my sister and I camping when we were kids. It was always a great adventure and I have fond memories of it. I also camped a few times when I was a Girl Scout, but I hadn’t camped as an adult. I love the comforts of home and I wasn’t sure if camping would be as enjoyable as it once was. With the exception of the nasty latrine at the state park (I’ll spare you the gross details!), it was wonderful to be out in nature, unplugged from the web and totally focused on my son, his friends and other adults.
3. My son is an awesome kid! With 4 children, our house is loud and chaotic and that environment does not always bring out the best in my children. They are usually fighting with each other, yelling or crying about something and generally trying to get my attention or my husband’s. (We’re working on creating a calmer environment, but so far we haven’t found the magic formula. If you have one, please let me know!) On these camping trips my son was a perfect gentleman. He often checked in with me to make sure I was feeling okay. He thought it was a good idea that I not go on the hike they had planned because of how far along I was in my pregnancy. On the first trip he even insisted that I use both sleeping pads! Even though the cold air was coming up through the wooden platform we were on and making him very cold, he refused to use one of the pads. I was so proud of him for sacrificing his own comfort for me!
4. I need to spend more one-on-one time with each of my children. Even though we were with lots of other people on both trips, my son and I really bonded and it was great to be alone with just him. I was reminded what a great young man he is becoming (see #3 above) and he got to see a more relaxed side of me too. I need to make spending alone time with each of my children more of a priority. It’s important for them to not have to compete for my attention. They need time to simply be themselves and they need my undivided attention. And I need this time with them too!
5. I have a new appreciation for the needs of the homeless in our community. During our first camping trip the temperature dropped down to the upper 30s overnight. We were a bit unprepared for just how cold it was. We could have used a few extra blankets and warmer clothes. However, we did have shelter, sleeping bags, pillows, a camp fire, hot food and some warm clothes. We were fortunate that although it was cold, there was no wind, rain or snow. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be homeless in the middle of winter here in the northeast. I have a new appreciation for the work that homeless shelters do. When I wrote about “My Why” I included that I wanted the financial freedom to give when I saw a need. I didn’t have any specifics in mind. Now I do. I want to be able give generously and positively impact the work that homeless shelters do in my area.
Do you camp? What are some things you’ve learned from the experience?by