Sunday, June 26, 2011

Camping 101

I have gotten so far behind with my blogging - sometime life just gets in the way of all of the things that I want to do. There are not enough hours in a day!!!

2 weekends ago, June 10 to 12, 2011, Anne and I went camping with the NJ Chapter of FCC, Families with Children from China. This FCC Chapter (we belong to the Lehigh Valley Chapter) has been running an annual summer FCC camp, and celebrated their 10th anniversary this year. Congrats to them!! And thanks to them for having such a fun and informative camping event for parents and their children.

It took place at Camp Ockanickon, a rustic YMCA camp in southern NJ. That's right, no electricity in the cabins, etc., but they did have running hot and cold water and showers in the bathrooms . . . that was a BIG plus!!!!

My friend, Barbarann, thought this would be a fun experience for our travel group. She organized the whole thing, and sent out e-mails with updates about how to dress when camping, what to bring along, camping necessities, how to sneak in wine, etc. I think the e-mails before the camping trip were just as much fun as the camping itself!

(We have all been trying to talk her into starting her own blog:

Come on, BA!)


OK, on to camping 101:

The first night was the hottest night of the year, and we all got to "warm up" by the fire!!! (Not good for someone with hot-flashes.) But the girls had a blast:

They got to roast marshmallows in the fire . . .

after finding their own sticks . . .

They enjoyed eating their S'mores and telling ghost stories. (I think BA "talked" one of the counselors into giving our group an entire giant chocolate bar instead of just one piece!!)

Here are Kim, BA, and Janet enjoying the bonfire:

Getting ready to walk back to our cabins. Pictured here are moms: Julia, Kim, Sharon (looking very warm!) Hidee,(I think this is the only photo of her - she made us promise not to take any pictures of her!) and Janet; (BA is taking the picture) and girls: Peachy, Grace, Anne, Eliana, Ava, and Lily.

We stopped by the lake during our walk back to our cabins. Hidee had the most wonderful idea to let the girls go swimming! It was not quite skinny dipping, but they did strip down to their undies. They all said that the water was warm and wonderful. (Some of the other parents looked at us with horror in their eyes!) But later, Anne told me that she had so much fun - she said it was the best night of her life!!!!!

That night, the moms enjoyed lots of conversation and fellowship (and a little contraband wine) after their girls went to bed. Fun!!

In the morning, we found a surprise in the tree directly above our cabin:

Who would have thought that a raccoon was the most frightening part of our camping experience? All of the moms and girls were scared to death the following night - they thought this raccoon was going to attack us in our cabins!!!!!

We had breakfast at the "mess hall", then gathered for the morning activities. The kids were divided into groups and given colors to differentiate each group. Much to Anne's chagrin, her group's color was pink, her least favorite color! But after she got over the initial shock, she went off to enjoy the activities with her counselors and friends.

We spied them hiking through the woods mid-morning:

One of our morning activities included wall climbing. I did not think that I would ever climb a rock wall, but here I am, with BA, getting ready to be the first in our group to give it a try:

(Please note that BA picked a helmet that matched her outfit!)

I am looking a bit scared here, but one of the Chinese teens (her name was Amylynn and she was a cutie!) told me to Man Up!

Spotters Ready:

On belay: climbing . . .

Kim, ready to climb:

"On Belay"

Here's Janet, ready to climb:

On belay, Janet:

Janet made it to the top and rang the bell:

Hurray for Janet, our hero!!!!!

And . . . I am so sorry that we did not get any pictures of Barbarann climbing!! She did climb, and had fun, too!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After all of the exhilarating activities, we enjoyed a little afternoon snack compliments of BA. She made these marshmallow snacks, covered in chocolate and nuts: Mmmmmmmmm! . . .

Here's a close-up of our yummy especially-made-for-camping snack:

Anne and Grace were extremely anxious to go swimming in the lake, so I took them. (The lake is filled with "cedar water" and is brown in appearance. It actually smelled like my grandmother's cedar chest . . . pretty cool!

Grace and Anne had a blast swimming.

Unfortunately, Lily, and Ellie did not get to go swimming, because there was thunder heard in the distance, but did get to enjoy some fun in the sand:

A butterfly stopped by to pose for a picture, too:

The dinner dance that evening was amazing! The D.J. was entertaining and innovative - here he is having all kinds of fun with the audience - with just a plain piece of white paper!!!

He even had us pretending we were dancing Martians:

That night, after the girls went to sleep, we sat and talked again. It was awesome chatting and reminiscing about the activities of the day. Who would have ever thought that we would get yelled at (at our age!!) to keep quite? But we sure did.

The entire experience was wonderful. I still smile and giggle when I think about it. Our new friend, Julia couldn't have said it any better this:

"I just want to let you guys know how very special it was for me to have a chance to get to know you a bit better this weekend. How incredibly fortunate you all are to have each other . . . you are a diverse group of unique and special women . . . and as a group, you all have gelled to perfection . . . isn't that just one of the joys of adoption? . . . how it has brought us in contact with so many special folks."

Thank you, Julia, for your special words.

And thank you, Barbarann, Hidee, Janet, Kim, and all of the other moms, too!

Anne and I had an awesome and amazing time.


  1. What an amazing trip! It all looks so fun!

  2. Great pictures of you (I could never climb that wall!) and I love the picture of Anne (in the blue dotted bathing suit) and her friend.

  3. Wow- that looks like something I would like to do with my kiddo. They have camps near here for adoptees, but I haven't looked into the mother/daughter thing yet. What a special time you had- the good memories will probably outlast the scrapbooks!

  4. Oh, that looks like so much fun!

  5. How FUN!! I loveeeeeeeeeee the photos! :):):):):):):):):):):):):)):):):)

  6. this sounds SO FUN! What a great time~ The cabins are the way to sleeping on the rocky ground. Cool that you got to see a raccoon :)

  7. Amazing!!!! Have been waiting for this post and as usual it was fantastic!
    " no I don't want to hear that" I think was ny quote form the rock wall!!!!!! I still LOL and can not stop smiling when I think of that weekend!!!! Sooooooo fortunate to have such WONDERFUL friends!!!!! well, will we "man up" and go again next year????

  8. Sharon - what a fabulous trip and love how you documented it all! Your photography skills are amazing! TFS!

  9. Oh, that is so sweet. I love this trip with the girls like this. What an experience! How funny that your daughter doesn't like pink! Sounds like my Emma, and is a girl who knows what she likes. You are much braver than me. There is no way I'd climb that wall...too afraid of heights! And I'm right there with you on the hot flashes being next a a camp fire don't mix too well!!! Glad you had a great adventure!

  10. Sharon..that looks like one super fun trip!! Great photos!! Glad you "Manned up"..too cute!


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