My first experience camping with brownies was not a great one. My memories are of wasps everywhere, grouchy group leaders and a pack of cows chasing us through a field. I am pretty sure I told my mother I NEVER wanted to go to brownie camp again, and since she had volunteered at that camp I don’t think she was too disappointed. As the years went on and I got more involved in Guiding, the camps got better and I actually enjoyed them. Our newest little Cub Scout was super pumped when he heard his pack was going to go out on a winter camp out. And I was excited for him, until I realized that it was a family camp out and it fell on a weekend when we had a thousand things planned!
When I received the schedule for the Cub Scout meetings at the beginning of the year I should have put everything straight on to my calendar. My husband and I had planned 2 different things for the first weekend in December not realizing that the middle guys camp out was that weekend. When I figured it out I had to cancel what I was originally going to do, after the who boat race debacle I couldn’t miss the camp out or send him with a friend. I would look like a terrible mother!! So with Dad out of town it was up to me to pull of a desert camping trip with three muppets.
The oldest Muppet nearly lost his mind when he heard about the camping trip. The fact that he was going to have to miss hockey was not sitting well with him. So I arranged for him to spend the night with friends and got a girlfriend to take him to his game in the morning. I loaded the truck up in the morning and made sure I had enough food, water and blankets for the three of us. Close to lunch time we made our way to the meeting spot where we would follow someone out to the “campsite.”
Now I am pretty sure that the boy scout motto is “Be Prepared” but apparently they forgot about that because no one appointed a leader to lead the group out of the city. After 2 hours of highway and desert driving we found where we were suppose to be and I started to set up camp. The middle and youngest Muppet helped me set up the tent which included playing with the poles and using them as swords. When we finally got it up I looked at the tent, the middle guy opened the tent and said “mum this tent is really small, are we even going to fit in here!?” I giggled and told him that I forgot that the tents we bought were so small, two years ago the muppets were much smaller.
With our little campsite set up the three of us went off to explore and see if we could find anyone else we knew. When we found a few of the middle muppets friends they all went running off in to the desert looking for seashells and fossils. I decided to head back to our little area since most of the boys from the middle guys pack had brought their Dad’s camping and the conversation of sports and which way the fire pit should be placed was starting to grate on my nerves. When the sun finally set and the muppets were fed we joined the whole group around the big bonfire. The youngest muppet snuggled in my lap he was cold and tired and wanted to go home, I explained that we were just going to have a campfire with the Cub Scouts and then I could put him to bed.
The middle guy along with his little pack were lucky enough to be in charge of the flag ceremony at the beginning of the campfire and he proudly marched the American flag to his mark and stood as they said the Cub Scout Promise and pledged allegiance to the flag. After he was done he came and sat down next to me. We watched the skits from different packs, sang songs and they gave out awards to those boys who had earned them. I felt the smallest muppet relax on my lap, and I knew that he was asleep. I leaned over to tell the middle muppet that I was going to put the little guy in to the tent and I found him passed out beside me in his chair.
I carried both muppets back to our tent one by one, undressed them and place them under their covers. After I had changed I crawled in to the tent with them. It was a super tight fit, I couldn’t even straighten my legs! I laid there, thinking about how I was going to get any sleep, it was only 10:00pm and I thought about just packing the kids up in the truck and heading back home to my bed. But I remembered that we had traveled at least 45 minutes through the desert and I was afraid that I would not be able to find the trail in the dark. After tossing, turning and being punched in the face for an hour I made a decision to move to the truck. I dragged my blankets and pillow with me and rolled down the window so that I could hear if one of the muppets woke up looking for me.
I spent the rest of the night waking every 20 minutes or so every time I heard a tent zipper unzip or someone walk by. By 5:00am I was ready to go home. As soon as the sun started to rise I started to pack up the camp. Both muppets woke up and were freezing so I packed them in the truck in their PJ’s and blankets and gave them each a bowl of cereal. I threw blankets, chairs and the soaking wet tent in to the back of the truck, belted the kids in and started off for home. I was exhausted and cold but I started to feel a bit better as the heat in the truck warmed up and we made our way off the desert road on to the highway.
As we drove I asked the middle muppet if he had enjoyed his camping trip and he said that he had fun, playing in the desert with his friends and being a part of the campfire. I was glad that he was happy, and it made the lack of sleep and breakfast worth it. As we pulled in to the compound I glanced in the mirror to see the youngest muppet fast asleep. The middle guy helped me unload the truck and I ran him a hot bath and threw his sandy clothes in the wash. He sat in the soapy tub and said to me “Thank you Mummy for going camping with me, I had fun… but maybe next time we can bring Daddy and a bigger tent!” I laughed and told him to have a nice long soak so that we could share our camping adventure with his older brother and Dad when they got home.
I think that we will be better prepared for our next camping trip, we will get a bigger tent and bring Daddy with us, or better yet just send Daddy and the middle guy together on their own!