Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Camp Rocks!

I apologize for posting so late today! I just got back last night from three days at Girl Scout camp with my daughter and once I rinsed off 36 hours worth of bug spray, sunscreen and dirt and had a cold bottle of beer, I crashed until 1:30 this afternoon.

Somehow, I survived - mainly because of the amazing staff and the other wonderful moms and girls I bunked with. We built fires, cooked outdoors, went on a two-hour trailride (my horse was Zeke, Margaret had Flame - which was a much cooler name, I thought), swam (right after breakfast both days - and that's when you get your shower in too only to load up on bugspray right afterwards), ate s'mores (you know, I don't think it's possible to have too many s'mores - do you?), hiked for - oh - about 10,000 miles, participated in the ropes course and archery, sang silly songs and played even sillier games, scratched mosquito bites, fought off gnat swarms (after swallowing enough to actually benefit from the protein), received the 5-Year Award at the final campfire ceremony and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.

I'm sunburned, tired, Diet Coke deprived, covered in bug bites, my butt hurts (2 hours in the saddle is A LOT) and couldn't be happier.

Weird isn't it?

One of the many great things that happened was meeting emerging, young writers - not just among the kids, but also among the counselors. Shutter and Weaver (counselors go incognito with aliases, an idea that has probably saved their sanity more than once) were awesome young women with real futures in writing. I had donated my books to the camp at the beginning of the season for the staff to read in their downtime and they really enjoyed that. I felt like somewhat a rockstar the way they said, "I've never met a real author before!" Of course, I didn't want to break the mood by telling them that I'm really just a robot held together with rocks and chewing gum.

The camp staff are amazing. They never complain, are always upbeat (especially when they wake you up at 6:30am). We had this counselor named Oatmeal who was hilarious and went waaaaay above and beyond for her campers on several occaisions. It was Weaver's first time as a counselor - but you'd never know it from her knowledge and enthusiasm. Many of the counselors are from other countries - I met young women from the Netherlands, Ireland, Great Britain, Australia and Hungary. THAT IS SOOOO COOL!!!

But the real heroes are the moms who take time off from jobs, their families and other responsibilities to spend time with their daughters and impacting other girls. It really makes a difference. I've made so many lifelong friends it's unreal. We stay in touch and see each other every year. It's a major bonding experience when you are all on the back steps of your cabin using your water bottle to brush your teeth twice a day. After all these years, I can spit pretty far - a skill I never imagined I'd have.

It's also the one time a year Margaret allows us to dress alike. Well, it's more forced on her than anything. But after 5 years of camp together, we have quite a wardrobe of Camp Conestoga t-shirts. It's pretty dorky, I know, but that's kind of our trademark and the staff remembers that, "Hey! Aren't you the guys who always dress alike?" I like to think the laughter is complimentary.

Now I'm back to working on Coney's book, which I've tentatively titled (nice alliteration, eh?) I KILLED HIM MY WAY. So it's back to the real world. Sigh. I miss it a little. Maybe tonight I'll sit on my deck and let the mosquitos turn me into a blood buffet - just for old times.

The Assassin


Christie Craig said...


LOL. Love your humor! I don't know if I could have survived.

Crime Scene Christie

Kim Castillo said...

You're far braver than I am. A Hilton's roughing it for me *g*

Sounds like you had an awesome time.

Leslie Langtry said...


It was definitely worth it.


Jenyfer Matthews said...

Okay, you win "the good mom" award for the week. All I did today was take my kids to the pool - I sat on the shade on the side and read.

I'm sure my daughter would adore it if I got us matching tshirts though :)

Jana DeLeon said...

You brave, brave woman. Kids scare the heck out of men. Just leave me with the spiders and bears. :)

Keri Ford said...

What fun Leslie! Camps like this sound like so much fun. I've never heard of a mother/daughter type of camp. Not that I have a little girl, but maybe I can find one for hubby to take the son to when he gets week filled with just me and the house. Must find daddy/son camp in my area!

Terri Osburn said...

You are brave! I'm not sure I could do all that. Though it does sound like great bonding time. I'd rather bond in a hotel though so I'm with Kim.

I found out last night my daughter is going to church camp. She's 1100 miles away from me and doing the cabin thing for the first time. This is the same child who doesn't want me to find a house where her room would be too far away from mine. LOL! I can't wait to see how this goes.

Glad you enjoyed it and hope the bug bites go away soon.

Wendy Roberts said...

Ahh you made me itch in memory of my own girl scout camping days!

Anonymous said...

(my horse was Zeke, Margaret had Flame - which was a much cooler name, I thought)
my butt hurts (2 hours in the saddle is A LOT)
If Zeke was picking up on your thoughts there could be a subtler connection here.
Doing things with kids whether you're a mother, father, aunt or uncle is always a great thing. Of course in the latter two cases you get to give the kids back if they get bratty. :)

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. I'm the Girl Scout leader for my daughters troop. We went on an encampment with 15 girls and 5 mothers. It was fun, but sooo much work.

Our next one is next Friday. Hoepfully the bugs and snakes don't get me.

Leslie Langtry said...

It is fun but you are right, it's a lot of work too. I was reading where some troops are doing spa days instead of camping trips and the writer was worried that it was just teaching the girls that by going to a spa they have things that need to be "fixed."

I go to a spa to get fixed. The ten-year olds in my troop already get mani-pedis and highlights. what I think they need is to get down and dirty! I had one girl tell me recently that she didn't want to hike because she might break a nail.

I'm serious.


Gemma Halliday said...

Of course, I didn't want to break the mood by telling them that I'm really just a robot held together with rocks and chewing gum.

Do you know how hard I laughed at this? Latte spewed all over keyboard.

I LOVE the title to Coney's book, btw. Can't wait for that one!

Had to tell you - my mom runs a tutoring center for middle schoolers. Yesterday one of the 8th grade boys picked up GUNS. He started reading it, and was really getting into it. At the end of the day he told me he learned two new words from the book: 'erectile dysfunction' and 'testicles'. Apparently, you're very educational, Les! Lol!


catslady said...

I so miss those days. I was an assistant leader for 3 years and helped out for both my daughters. I never got to do that stuff as a kid so I had a ball doing it with them. The best year was when they were both at the same camp. Now my oldest is getting married this month and my youngest is leaving for college (sigh).

Hellie Sinclair said...

I was loving the Leslie and "Mini Me" pic! Very adorable!

And I love that title! A Frank reference with my Conester? Hell, yeah!