Saturday, August 17, 2013
Neighborhood Camp Out
I'm tired and dirty. So's everyone else in my family. And in my neighborhood.
A night of camping will do that to you.
But it was worth it.
We've got such a great neighborhood. Since we moved in almost three years ago and there were like 3 families with kids in the neighborhood, more and more great families have moved in and the kids have developed a sort of cousin-like relationship with the great kids who live up and down our street. They are outside much of the day, riding scooters, skateboards and rollerblades, climbing trees, playing with the neighbors beloved kittens, and coming up with all sorts of imaginative games involving Ninjas and princesses and you name it. For the past couple of weeks, around 8pm most nights, all the neighborhood kids have gathered in front of our house for a rousing game of "Sharks and Minnows" on our front lawn. The big kids are pretty careful of the younger kids and everyone has a fabulous time. Someone inevitably gets hurt but not at all seriously so after the hurt one is comforted, they continue on until darkness starts to fall and parents call them in. It's so interesting and fun to watch them work everything out and have so much fun together.
All the kids and parents really enjoy being together. And since we moved in, several yearly neighborhood events have become traditions. We do a Halloween dinner and parade, a Thanksgiving day fun-run/Turkey Trot, a holiday house-to-house progressive dinner focused on adults, a Christmas fundraiser-concert where the kids share their talents and parents and friends pay to watch then the kids donate the money they've earned to needy kids, an Easter egg hunt, a beginning-of-summer BBQ/street party where we block off the street, and this year we tried something new - a neighborhood camp out.
What a joy it was for the kids to play in the trees and in the stream, eat s'mores to their heart's delight and not have to say goodbye to their neighborhood friends once it got dark! And it was so nice to be able to relax and chat with our good neighbors and friends around the campfire. Ashton brought his guitar and played some good stuff and some people told scary (but not very) stories. There's nothing like that campfire glow or the bright moon or the sound of the crickets on a summer night.
Here's Steve teaching Eliza and her neighborhood friends how to play "Scum." They loved it. Void of sisters, Eliza's so happy to have so many great girls right here in our neighborhood.
We kept things simple by camping at the Ogden Nature Center - close by, nice handy bathrooms, lots of tables and logs to sit on, and camp counselors to organize some fun activities for the kids and provide breakfast. Plus there are these awesome treehouses there where some of the kids slept.
Here's the only photo I got of any adults (our shadows). See the haze from all the Utah wildfires in the distance? It made the light really interesting and surreal.
Of course, everything wasn't butterflies and rainbows. There was some crying in the night. And some throwing up. (Luckily not from our kids - been there, done that...) When you get this many kids together for an overnighter, there are bound to be some sorts of issues that arise...
But I think these are memories the kids will have forever. And that's worth a lot.
Here are all the kids who came to the campout: