This morning my husband and our youngest son left for a camping trip with a group of teenage boys and their leaders from our L.D.S. congregation. This is their big outing of the summer. They decided on a location a few days ago and completed the prep last night. This morning, actually. And then they left.
Simple. As. That.
Last week I went to camp with the teenage girls. We take them every summer. It's a huge deal. We begin planning in January. We have a theme, we design and order matching t-shirts for everyone that represent the theme, and we're on the lookout everywhere we go for cute things that relate in even the smallest way to said theme that we can buy and take to camp with us.
The food, of course, is very important. We coordinate the meals, divvy up the shopping, prep, and cooking responsibilities and involve the girls in all of this as much as possible.
Treats are important.
As are crafts. Cute crafts.
And we actually have a complete set of miniature mailboxes screwed onto a wooden frame that we haul up to camp each year. We take along an assortment of cute scrapbook paper and other supplies so that we can write notes to each other during the week and deliver them to each other via the cute little mailboxes.
The leaders plan inspirational messages for the girls. These usually involve a cute little handout or trinket.
Have I mentioned cute?
We do some traditional camping activities at camp as well. The girls have a set of skills they are required to pass off each year, according to their age. They have to learn first aid, start a fire using flint and steel, identify plants, tie knots, observe the stars and cloud formations, and go on a five mile hike, among other things.
And we are roughing it to an extent. Yes, we have A-frame cabins we sleep in, but there's nothing in them. We take cots and sleeping bags. There's no electricity at this camp and only a bit of running water. Cold running water. We cook on camp stoves and don't really bathe.
But we do our best to make our camping experience comfortable. And cute. And it takes six months or so to pull it off.
So last night as I was helping my husband get ready for the boys' camping trip, naturally I had a few questions for him.
"Do you have a theme?" I asked him as he printed off permission slips for all the boys.
(Our permission slips were completed and signed by parents one month prior to departure.)
( Did that sound smug?)
No, they didn't have a theme.
"Cabin decorations? Oh, no, you'll be in tents. But have you printed out and laminated inspirational quotes to hang around your camp?"
Nope, no quotes, he informed me while we cruised the aisles of the Winco, gathering enough food for the entire group for the entire campout. I did mention that this was last night, didn't I?
"I guess you don't do spa time..."
He looked at me. Spa time? I could see it in his face.
"Well, are you going to at least sit around the campfire on the last night and have the leaders tell their First Kiss stories or their How I Met My Wife stories?"
Ah, the difference between men and women.
It's okay though. They're going to have a great time. Maybe not quite as great a time as we had. But hey - they're guys. They do what they can.