Camping With Teenagers

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We took our community center kids camping this past weekend. It went a little something like this:

We left late and arrived even later. We set up our tents in the primitive youth camp site as the sun was setting. The boys decided to set up their mega tent in the middle of an open field. Something about “the high ground”. I don’t know. It did not look all that high to me.

We went through three bottles of bug spray. In one night.

We got our fire started on the third try. We cooked hot dogs and baked beans and s’mores. I have no idea if everyone got enough to eat because we had two lanterns and 16 teenagers and I kept asking where the graham crackers were and never found them.

The two porta-potties were out of toilet paper.

We told ghost stories around the campfire, and the teens took turns walking around the outside of the group and tickling people’s necks with a dead leaf to make them scream. It worked 100% of the time.

At one point, someone found the strobe-light setting on a headlamp and we had a dance party.

We finally retired to our respective tents, but it didn’t really feel like separate tents because you could hear every single conversation.

One girl and I had a conversation [talking in normal voices in our separate tents] that went like this:

Sarah: “Let’s go scare the boys!”

Me: “Sarah. Do not go scare the boys.”

I remember this exchange vividly, because we had it 300 times.

And then suddenly: It was 5:30 AM and everyone was wide awake.

I am not kidding.

We somehow, incoherently and without coffee, made everyone pancakes and bacon and eggs.

And as the last person finished their pancake, it started to rain.

And it rained, and rained, and rained. Steady, drenching, great-in-april-but-not-in-july-rain. We cleaned up our camp kitchen in the rain, we went to the beach in the rain, we ate lunch in the rain, and then we recklessly tore down our tents in the rain and threw them in the back of the van.

If that’s not a true introduction to camping, I don’t know what is.

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