Friday, July 30, 2010

Campouts and Sleepovers

by Jo Robertson


My daughter emailed me the other weekend with this note:

Hey, do you wanna know what my kids are doing? Sleeping on the trampoline!! I remember how FUN that was as a kid. At OTHER people’s houses of course, since we never had one. It was so exciting!

Their cousins are spending the night, for a total of five children, but kids these days have NO idea how to have a sleepover.


Corinna, eleven, said, “Hey Mom. Did you charge the DVD player so we could watch movies?”

I said, “Hell no!” Actually I didn’t say Hell but you get the idea.

I told them they have no idea how to do a camp out. First, they need to get some flashlights and junk food. Then they start telling stories until someone is scared and wants to come in.

This story got me thinking about sleepovers and campouts.

What do you think? Along with 16mm projectors, eight tracks, and dial telephones, have kids lost the simple meaning of camping out and sleeping over at a friend’s?

What’s your favorite campout memory?

47 comments:

gamistress66 said...

I remember the thrill of being "allowed" to stay up most if not all night when friends stayed over. Playing games, dancing/singing with the stereo, trying to put others in trances so they'd do something silly, "predicting" future husbands/kids/etc, and talking and giggling long after being told we should go to sleep. No one wanting to be the "baby" that fell asleep first (who knew what tricks might be played on you then). Knowing that we were "misbehaving & breaking rules" but also knowing that it was okay and no one would be in trouble as long as we didn't get too loud or anything. Safe trouble :) Hadn't thought about that in years -- thanks for bringing up the memory and making me smile :)

jo robertson said...

Hi, there, gamistress! I was afraid I was going to have to try for the rooster myself. Congratulaitons.

That's a beautiful memory, and I love your phrase "safe trouble." It was so innocent, wasn't it? When we thought we were being terribly grown up.

My friend's parents had a camper and when we had a sleepover, they'd let us use it, brave souls. Of course, we never got into much trouble, but I do remember practice-kissing on my arm LOL.

Helen said...

Well done gamistree66 have fun with him.

Jo
What wonderful memories we never camped outside but I did have lots of sleep overs at friends places and lots of friends sleep over at my place and boy were those the days we would sit up most of the night watching scary movies eating heaps of chips and chocolate and telling scary stories so as none of us could sleep LOL and at my place the toilet was out in the back yard and so with all the coke we drank we were always going out in the yard together of course. Here in Australia way back in the 60's and early 70's on Friday and Saturday nights they would have creature feature nights and Deadly Earnest's awful movies LOL and all of these were watched on a black and white TV no colour TV for us.
When my kids were young they always had friends sleep over and they would watch videos and eat lots of junk food and I would get no sleep because of them laughing all night.

Great memories

Have Fun
Helen

shannon said...

I loved camping as a child. It seems like we did it a LOT because it was CHEAP! :) I loved everything about camping when I was young and now that I am a mother I HATE everything about camping. It's because preparing to go camping is SO MUCH WORK!! For the MOM! The men set up the tent. Well done men! The women pack all the food and utensils and the clothes for every child and the sunscreen and sand toys pretty much everything other than the tent. THIS is why my idea of camping NOW is a condo within walking distance of the lake. :)

shannon said...

Oh one more comment... I wanted to mention that in MY family growing up, we "camped out" every night! I have very few memories of actually sleeping IN my bed as a child. We were always on the floor. We would sleep on the floor of our bedrooms with our heads sticking out in the hallway because the hallway light was always ON and we felt safer that way. Or we would pile in the corner of the living room and leave the light on in there. I wonder if it ever dawned on us to just turn our bedroom lights on? Hmmmm? Anyway, my own children do this now. We call it musical beds. :)

Jane said...

I've never been camping, not even in the backyard. I do want to experience sleeping outdoors and roasting marshmallows. Maybe I'll get to do it someday.

PinkPeony said...

My parents weren't big on camping, but I did go camping with my Camp Fire Girls group. I spent a couple weeks at Camp Minaluta, somewhere on the Yuba River near Marysville. I attended a Jewish Summer Camp one summer with the girl next door. Still remember standing in line with my "swimming buddy" and this fat and pasty Jewish kid pointed his finger at me and screamed, "You're not Jewish!" My retort..."How can you tell?"

Loved slumber parties. Makes me think of Jiffy Pop! I usually went for the different kinds of food. In my teens, the thing to do was go skinny dipping and take someone's bra, wet it and stick it in the freezer. Looking back now, I don't get it. I streaked for the first and only time during a slumber party ..around the block with four other girls. Won't ever forget the look on the man's face as he dropped his garden hose when we whizzed by.

I wish kids today could find the pleasure in simple things, like slumber parties, playing hide and seek, freeze tag, Red Rover, Twister! I think they need to be constantly stimumlated or they get bored.
congrats on the GR, gamistress!

Caren Crane said...

Gamistress, congrats on taking home the Golden Rooster! Er...I think congrats are in order. You may think otherwise when you're cleaning up the feathers!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Jo, camping is SO different now! As everyone knows, I am a Girl Scout leader and have been for, oh, 13 years now. So, I do take the girls and go camping.

HOWEVER, it's barely like camping now that we have excellent equipment. We HAVE camped through torrential downpours and the girls had to deal with water gathered in the corners/bottom of their tents because they didn't stake it down tight enough. But the tents dry out in a magically short time these days. Gotta love space age polymers!

We have to be strict about making them leave the technology in the car. Otherwise, they would be texting friends, even from the back of beyond. Thanks, Verizon! :-)

Caren Crane said...

Jo, I also meant to say that like Shannon's family, mine camped A LOT growing up. I don't know how my poor mother kept the 7 of us (parents, plus 5 kids). The logistics of that are bewildering! I'm with Shannon on not wanting to take the family camping when the kids were little. I would now, though, because they're all practically grown!

gigi said...

I think kids now-a-days think they need to be entertained every minute of the day and night.

I don't remember sleeping outside but we did string up some cool tents in the family room. Like you said we had our flashlights, told stories played board and card games made those silhouette pictures on the wall with our hands and ate junk food. I think the latest I ever stayed awake was about 4:00am.

Good times.

jo robertson said...

Those are great memories, Helen! Sleepovers are just made for telling scary stories and acting silly.

My aunt lived in West Virginia and when we visited her, we'd have to use the outdoor facilities, too. After a night of ghost stories, we always went in pairs!

jo robertson said...

Uh, you and I must be related, Shannon. That's exactly why I hate going camping. Why do women have to do all the really tough work?

Let's hear it from the men!

jo robertson said...

LOL at musical beds, Shannon. Why is it always more fun to sleep somewhere ELSE as a child, but as a grownup you just HAVE to have your own bed to sleep in?

jo robertson said...

Never been camping, Jane? It's one of the great American experiences. Personally, now that I'm older, I prefer my "camping" to be tied to a five-star hotel and fancy restaurants, but when I was a kid -- oh, so much fun, excitement, and mystery about sleeping outdoors under the open sky!

And roasting marshmallows is the best. Maybe you'll get a chance one day.

jo robertson said...

ROTFLMAO on the Jewish comment, Pink! Too funny! Love your retort. I guess if you'd been naked and a boy, he might've had the "evidence," so to speak.

Streaking is something I never tried, but it sounds so wickedly fun. I think that ship has sailed for me, but I'd love to have that memory. Without, of course, my daughters or sons indulging in the activity. Ahheemmmm.

MsHellion said...

*LOL* I remember going on a float trip when I was about 10--we camped out--so I remember my sister (she was the one sponsoring the camp trip, she was 15 years older) trying to cook mac & cheese over a campfire--it was so soggy and gross. *LOL* But other stuff turned out okay. It began raining and we had to move from the tent into the car, which was a Maverick. Five people in one little car. That was a long night.

Oh, the BEST!--my friend Brandi and I were in one tent; and my sister and her husband were in the other. Then as we were falling asleep, I heard this bloodcurdling scream from the other tent (I don't know if it was Marsha or her husband now that I think on it) and suddenly my sister was screaming, "Kill it! Kill it!" and I started panicking because I thought it was a snake, my worst case scenerio. The scuffling stopped and my sister settled down, and when I called out to ask what it was, my sister said, "You don't want to know. You won't be able to sleep." Yeah, not telling me wasn't helping. Now I *knew* it was a snake. I lay awake, stiff, freaked out until I fell asleep out of pure exhaustion. The next day, my sister told me what had caused the ruckus: a spider. I was so disgusted because I wish she had told me then--spiders don't bother me. Wench.

jo robertson said...

And I think your comment about kids getting too much stimulation from electronic games, tv and the like is so true. I'm afraid we're raising a whole generation of kids who don't know how to pull their creativity from inside them, or worse yet, how to actually interact with humans!

jo robertson said...

Caren and Helen, are we actually SURE gamistress has the rooster? I keep hearing rumors that Orlando's under siege from prankster-type activities. My thoughts went immediately to the wily wooster.

jo robertson said...

Oh, yeah, Caren, this camping stuff is old hat to you. Do you still enjoy it after 13 years? It's great you have a ban on cells and the like. I mean, the point of the great outdoors is to leave that behind, right?

My girls went to what was called Girls Camp every summer and it was the highlight of their summer. They bonded with the other girls and got close to nature. They always seemed regenerated when they returned from their week-long camp.

jo robertson said...

I remember my mother-in-law spending days getting ready to go camping (this was back in the day without the niceties). Just the food prep was a huge chore. I never fully appreciated it until I did it once.

Shannon's family camps out a lot at the beach. That's great fun too!

jo robertson said...

Gigi, you're right. Wise parents limit their kids electronics-time and create opportunities for them to have free play, imagination creation, and just plain quiet reading time. Reading, what a novel idea (pun intended)!

jo robertson said...

I'm off to kick butt on the treadmill. Ha! Keep the discussion rolling.

Uh, if anyone's around?

Anyone? Anyone? Ferris Bueller?

Virginia said...

I can remember camping out at my friends house. Her dad had a small truck camper and we about lived in that thing. It was setup in their driveway and we spent hours out there, talking boys of course. We were in our early teens, so thats all you thought about.

Pissenlit said...

My mum wasn't big on camping out or sleepovers so I didn't have many opportunities to do so as a young'un. But my favourite thing was having my own flashlight on hand...whether it was using it to read a book in my sleeping bag, to make shadow puppets on the tent or to pretend it was a lightsaber. Then again, there was that one time where my flashlight actually was a lightsaber(well, okay, more like a toy lightsaber with the extendable "blade" removed):D

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Helloooo, Jo-mama?!?!

Are you off the treadmill yet? Of course I wasn't around at 7:43 in the morning! URG! What a horrendous thought! Ranks right up there with... CAMPING! EEWWW! My idea of camping is staying in Motel 6 and eating fast food. :-P That is as much "roughing it" as yer olde Aunty is likely to do.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Virginia,

Slumber party inside a camper? Now you are talking! And yes, ALL the talking was about boys be they celebs or the guy who sat behind you in algebra. ;-)

My sister and I always begged to have slumber parties for our birthdays. Considering we were both born in winter, I can't believe my mother let us. All those giggly girls inside the house and awake all night... SHEESH! NO WAY I'd have agreed to such a thing!

AC

Kennan said...

this post made me laugh! i heard a recent NPR talk of the nation about the new kinds of summer camps, where kids are bringing their cell phones to camp with them! come on! i absolutely LOVED and still love camping. the smell, the air, the wind, the noises. camping as an adult is much better, in my opinion, because i have control over my comfort level (what i bring, how i eat, etc.) i think what we need to do is just get over the idea that we have to be perfectly prepared and packed for everything. this is hard for me! some of the best trips are the spontaneous ones where you grab some things and make do. i wish i married a camper and maybe then i'd be more motivated to go. its definitely got to be a joint effort.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL on your light saber flashlight, Pissenlit!

I always kept a flashlight so that I could read in bed. Under the covers, of course! Once again, I can't believe my mother ever let me do that. It's not like she didn't know what with my sister tattling on me every 5 seconds. I guess she figured if I was reading SOMETHING it couldn't be that bad for me. ;-)

AC

jo robertson said...

Hi, Kennie! I didn't think you had time to stop by! Thanks!

Yes, if I remember you were a junior camp counselor when you got older. You and Caren should get together LOL. She's gone camping with her girl scouts for 13 years!!

I remember you did that five-mile hike where you had to build your own toilet, or some such thing that I have no intention of every doing!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Kennan!

OH NO! Not cell phones at summer camp too! GAH!!! I truly HATE those things and wish they would all go inoperable at the same time. BWAHAHAHA! (evil laff)

AC

jo robertson said...

Oh, Virginia, that sounds super fun! And nostalgic. Grandma and Grampa always had a camper parked in the driveway for the grandkids to sleep in. They had so much fun!

jo robertson said...

Great sister-camping story, MsHellion. I wouldn't have blinked at the spider either (well, unless it was the poisonous type, like a black widow), but thinking of snakes crawling into my sleeping bag?? I'm so outta there!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Jo-Mama!
Back from your workout I see...

Build your own toilet?!?! EW! EWW!! EWWW!!! See, this is why I am NOT a camper. I want running water and a flush toilet, thank you very much!

AC

jo robertson said...

Pissenlit said, "But my favourite thing was having my own flashlight on hand...whether it was using it to read a book in my sleeping bag, to make shadow puppets on the tent or to pretend it was a lightsaber."

What's with the flashlights? Kids love them. Every Christmas Shan's kids get -- yep, you guessed it -- flashlights. It must be something magical.

jo robertson said...

LOL, Aunty, your idea of "camping" sounds more and more appealing as I get older. WTG!

jo robertson said...

I KNOW, AC! Can you believe it? They went on this horrendous hike and had only their backbags and what was in them. They got a badge of something.

We don't need no stinkin' badges! LOL.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Jo-Mama!

I was NEVER a fan of camping, for so many of the reasons we've already brought up (women do all the hard work, inconvenience, wildlife). I am WAAAY too old and cantankerous now to EVER sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag (which I have ALWAYS hated)! And we won't even bring up lack of facilities. :-P

AC

Helen said...

Jo

I have seen a few photos around the net and the GR has managed to sneek into them mybe he has cloned himself this could be a problem that would mean a lot of trouble from him LOL

Have Fun
Helen

jo robertson said...

ROTFLOL, Helen! It's just like that sneaky rooster to have cloned himself so he could have double the fun!

Pissenlit said...

Jo - What's with the flashlights? Kids love them.

Who said anything about kids? *makes lightsaber noises while waving a flashlight around* Heh heh heh.

Lance said...

When we went to camp Chiwanakee, our Scoutmaster almost got in a fist fight with my 13-year old brother. "Go ahead, take a swing," he said. We were rowdy kids back then...

jo robertson said...

Hey, Lance, thanks for stoppping by. I don't remember that incident, thankfully! Fist fights at camp, what's the world coming to?

jo robertson said...

Ah, I misspoke. I can just see you waving that big old light sabre, Pissenlit. You go!

Robb L. Robertson said...

My first comment is directed to Jo's request for input from men Re: Camping preparations...
Having just recently returned from our (almost) annual 3-day camping trip to New Brighton Beach (a CA State Park, just South of Santa Cruz), I have fresh thoughts on the subject. I am extrapolating, based on my 19-year marriage to Sandra, but, IMHO: Women tend to take control of the food, clothes and kids; because, being UN-familiar with camping, yet VERY familiar with food, clothes and kids, they grasp onto the familiar - often to their own frustration. Notwithstanding the overall success of the camping trip, my wife and I kept arguing over how to do this or that or the other thing. As an engineer by profession, I have an unavoidable tendency to try to maximize the efficiency of EVERYTHING (also known as being "anal-retentive"). And I am not just talking about setting up tents: everything from the best route to take to get to the destination, devolving into myriad micro-permutations such as whether a u-turn was necessary, or whether Taco Bell was the best choice for a half-way-there lunch break, to things of high importance such as what music to listen to enroute. In short (ha!), men tend to gravitate toward camping tasks that they think ONLY they can do, while women gravitate toward full control of tasks with which they are most familiar. In our home, I make our bed every morning. When we camp, I set up the tent. Sandra does most of the cooking at home, and so likewise when we go camping. The difficulties (and, IMO, the arguing) comes as a result of the fact that the infrastructure of a campsite is a far cry from that which we rely on in our homes. A fridge, range/microwave and dishwasher, become ice-chests, Coleman propane stoves (or BBQ's) and a bucket of water with a cleaning rag. We modern men (and women) struggle whenever we have to move from one world into another.
To Lance: Camp Chawanakee was the site of three or four consecutive summers of youthful shenanigans and inevitable confrontation with authority. That particular Scoutmaster was to me an archetype of the angry and controlling kind of adult that I have always feared I might become myself. I remember one year when a few of us, on the second-to-last night of the week of camping, when everyone was filthy and not one uniform was clean enough to pass the morning inspection, we sneaked into the area behind the Camp Director's cabin, where we found a washing machine and dryer. We washed and dried all of our clothes, and then appeared at "revelry" (flag-raising) the next morning with clean uniforms, to the astonishment of all of the other troops. Good times.

Robb L. Robertson said...
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Robb L. Robertson said...
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