Camping. Our kids have been bugging us to take them camping for about a year. They love the idea of sleeping outside, in a tent, in their sleeping bags, eating hot dogs, toasting marshmallows, making smores, fishing, playing games, staying up late! Maybe they think that without the house, there can be no "house rules". And surely camping out is all play and no chores, right?
Well, if you took your kids for their first camping experience at the Hillsborough Family Camp Out at Ann van Middlesworth Park on Friday night, I'd say that description is just about right!
Over 300 people set up their tents and made camp late Friday afternoon. Then it was over to the pond to do a little fishing while the good folks from Hillsborough Parks and Recreation got cooking with the hamburgers, hot dogs and fried chicken.
If you were unlucky at the fishing hole, there was still plenty of time to enjoy the playground, or have a go at some of the picnic games, like the sack race, before heading over to the pavillion for dinner. Moms and Dads had a chance to catch up with old friends - and make some new ones.
After dinner it was time to gather around the bonfire. There was a smaller campfire going nearby to toast those marshmallows - the kids loved this!
Lights-out was at 11 p.m. Then it was just the four of us, shoulder to shoulder in our 8 foot square tent. No big mattresses for us - just the thin self-inflating sleeping pads - and the kids wouldn't have it any other way. This was the real camping experience they were looking for.
Everyone made it through the night, and the Rec. Department served up donuts and bagels at 7:30 the next morning.
And as for those chores - I did get the kids to help me take down the tent. Only after I promised to take them to the Family Camp Out again next year. (The truth is, I wouldn't miss it for the world!)