According to The Short Chic she has two camping trips that are her most favorite camping trips of the year. The first is our Annual Halloween Camping Trip and the second is our Annual Family Camp-Out. We started the Family Camp-Out six years ago in 2012. It started as a desire to introduce our kids to camping. We thought it would be “funner” if we could convince a friend or two who also had kids to join us. To our surprise, that first year we had about 35 campers. That is 35 people who wanted to go camping or introduce camping to their family as well. We have continued to gather every year since then. Some come for the day, some spend a night, while others have graduated up to three nights of camping.
In September 2017 we had our Sixth Annual Family Camp-Out at Smithville Lake. For the past several years we have camped in the same spot and this year, we moved the camp-out to Loop F. Moving to this loop gave us beautiful views of the lake and easy access to the playground, bike trail, and restrooms/showers.
This year we fought with the elements. It was super windy Friday night, which prevented us from showing our outdoor movie. It rained Saturday afternoon, which pushed us all inside our campers and threatened our Glow Party. I know now the maximum kid capacity of our camper, or at least the number that will lead me to uncorking a bottle of wine.
We ended up with an extra spot from a cancellation so we found out how nice it is to have a “party” spot. We also learned that total strangers will pilfer your party spot when they think no one is watching. Thankfully in a large group camp-out someone is always watching.
I personally learned that I am over tie dying t-shirts. I learned that walking taco’s are always a hit and everyone loves a glow party. Okay, maybe I love the glow party the most. Allen learned not to bet money on my Family Camp-Out knowledge or maybe he learned not to place a bet over Friday evening cocktails.
Each year we still entice someone new to try camping. Beth, Ken, and Martin joined us this year. The rain did nothing to woo them over. I do hope they know it has only rained once before. Two rain storms in six years is not bad, huh. Please try again, Beth! Not new to camping but new to the family camp-out was also our college friend, Joy and her family. There are three families who have attended every single camp-out: us, The Todd’s and The Bell family. We affectionately call ourselves the OG’s.
Each year the Glow Party inevitable draws a total stranger to the fun. Meeghan found this out during a game of Simon Says. Some random little girl just joined in the game. I wish everyone could have seen Meeghan’s face when the little girl told her she had no parents there. That same little girl proceeded to cover every inch of her body in glow paint during the glow party. I should make a mental note that I need more glow paint before the 7th Annual Family Camp-Out!
I am happy to say that our friends Jaime and Aaron made a return visit. Neither Dawn or Mary needed urgent care and no one was hospitalized during the camp-out. And I think no one was happier that Nikki was able to make it than Mary!
Plans are already under way for our 7th Annual Family Camp-Out. We are leaving the month of September as I heard so many tell me how busy that month is.
As I reflect back on the six years of our family camp-out and really look at that first year, I realize this was truly the beginning of our love of group camping and our Roaming With Friends.
See you soon at the campground!