In two weeks our family is going camping. We are very excited! We are going to the Jackpine Retreat, a rustic family camp that is one of the highlights of our year.
This camp is in Minnesota up near the Canadian border. I have gone since before I was one year old. I believe I have only missed two years in my life, the first time when I lived in Iowa (so about a 14 hour trip away) and 2 weeks away from delivering my first child and the 2nd time when I lived in Wichita, Kansas and was even farther away. Growing up this camp had no running water (it was hauled in), and no electricity. (So no showers and you used outhouses). We still use outhouses but there is electricity and water and one shower that everybody shares. But those are not the important things. What was and is important is the great Christian fellowship, the learning and singing around the campfire (either with bluegrass instruments or acappella), the beauty of nature that God created and just learning how tough you can be. It is a great place for kids to run and play and have fun balancing on a log or having races while manuvering an electric spool. The other day I was feeling very nostolgic about Jackpine Retreat and I found some pictures that I had and made them into a slideshow which is at the bottom of the page (I couldn't figure out how to put it in the post.)
Camping in general is a great family activity. It can be a very cheap way to vacation ( or I suppose you could buy expensive equipment, go to exotic locations and buy all pre-made food and make it expensive), as well as a great way to make your family grow closer together. Challenges faced together having a tendency to help you grow closer relationships and make memories, camping provides challanges that we don't face in day to day life (such as staying dry when it rains, or dealing with being wet if you don't stay dry, figuring out how to cook while camping, braving the cold nights, etc.
Camping is also good for homeschooling. It can really help to make kids understand what life was like a little better in the "olden days". What it is like to use and outhouse (or the woods) , having to carry your water, cooking over a fire, sleeping on the ground and many other things. One year when I was a teen we came up to the Jackpine campground in the summer (in addition to the September Jackpine Retreat) and had a old time survival camp. (There are some pictures in the slide show below) We worked at building our own shelter, starting a fire with flint and steel, foraging for food and stuff like that. It was a blast (even though we hadflies all day and mosquitoes all night and very hot weather). Camping is something that kids learn from and will remeber for their lifetime.
What do you like about camping? Do you have any good camping tips? Or any fun memories of Jackpine Retreat?