Summer Camp – For FUN???????

I dread the summer time.  For many, it is time of relaxation and family vacations.  Between the drives to care for my mom and aunt and then dealing with all of the expected meltdowns for Hunter,  it’s rarely ever relaxing.  As much as we would love to, we cant leave Hunter and Pep alone together for longer than an hour or two.  You never know what is going to trigger a Hunter episode, so we are constantly broke as we try to find ways to keep Pep entertained over the summer (it gets a lot harder as they get older).

Pep was away at Destination Aviation when the mom of one her close friends called me and asked if Pep wanted to go on a canoeing trip with her friend.   After hearing a little bit about it, I said yes and just blocked it in on the calendar.

I mentioned it to Pep when I picked her up and she was excited about it and then it was off to another structured camp.

Pep LE - Canoe Trip
Photo Credit to Survival by the Word

So I start looking at the details and the packing list.  Pep was attending the Life Expedition Canoeing trip at Lake Aurora Christian Camp.  This included primitive camping and canoeing along the Peace River.  Well she had been in a canoe and kayak, and well she has gone tent camping (though not the primitive way).  Better her than me right? I really would prefer glamping because I cant stand the humidity, but I digress.

Bucket packing, hydration pack, Bible, bug bands – swimsuits – yeap – all ready to go.   And they are off.  And then Tropical Storm Emily pops up in the Gulf.  And this have a great time, see you in a few days, mom – well I became a worry wart.   This is the very first time, I realized in all of her trips and adventures she didn’t have a cell phone.  It was a technology free event (which was great), but I was cut off from her.  And then of course there is the normal afternoon thunderstorms in Florida – where would they go with the lightning?  So I spent four days watching the radar and one Facebook message to camp where they assured me she was in good hands.

I picked the girls up Thursday morning.  They were stinky. Their gear was stinky. Pep has some serious allergies going on, but they were both happy, relaxed and rejuvenated.  Their activities had been modified due to the weather, but they found other things to do.  Trust exercises, singing, lots of singing.  They were Christian camp songs I hadn’t heard in years.   They played in the river and jumped off trees and had lots of bug bites and scratches.  There were no drills, no bookwork, no structured instruction.  It was just FUN – and exactly what she needed.   It is definitely on our list for activities next summer.



Camping Buckets

To finish off her summer vacation, Pep and a friend are going on their first Primitive Camping trip which involves a canoe and a river.  Rather than a hiking backpack,  camp recommended two five gallon buckets to store gear in.

Five gallon buckets are cheaper than a decent hiking backpack so off to home depot I went to grab two 5 gallon Homer Buckets.  The buckets were $2.97 a piece but then you have to buy the lids – so it was a little over $10 for both.

We then came home and decided they needed some color so out came the duct tape.  In hindsight, we should have used a darker duct tape because of the orange, but at least she will definitely know which two buckets are hers.   We normally put a cushion on them, but skipped it for now.  If they survive the trip, we will make seat cushions for them after she comes home.