Every year, our Cub Scout pack would have one big family focused event called the Family Camp Out. They typically did this in the fall or late summer, around back to school time. It was a great way to build community and to give the parents a chance to get to know the kids they kept hearing us talk so much about – as well as the other parents!
Kids had mixed feelings about the Family Camp Out for just this reason. Some of us loved it, because it gave us a chance to show off to our parents what scouting was all about, and why we were so excited to go to all the pack events all year long. Other kids didn’t love it as much because one of the things they enjoyed the most about camping was that you got to take a break from your family for a while! 🙂 Those guys were always trying to sneak off and do their own thing. It was pretty funny to watch.
The Family Camp Out was almost always tent camping. It was funny to hear some of the parents complain about having to sleep on the ground. You could definitely tell who the rookie parents were. The more experienced parents had cushioned mats to sleep on and all sorts of other fancy equipment. They knew how to camp out in style!
The camp out was usually on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Saturday evening, the pack would hold a potluck dinner and all of the families could bring a dish. There was always so much food available and it was always delicious, homemade stuff. My mom would always make pasta salad, and there was almost never any left to take home. A lot of the parents with small children, or the ones who simply didn’t want to sleep on the ground, would sign up to come to only the potluck, and skip the actual camping. This was fine, and ensured the potluck always had a great turn out.
After we all ate, the leaders would sometimes present pack awards. After this, there were games for the families and scouts to play together, hiking, and sometimes even swimming, when they held the camp out at certain parks.
I remember one year, my friend Justin’s little brother Micah got lost during all the commotion during one family camp out. Everyone was playing games, and Micah just sort of wandered off. I think he was about two or three at the time. As soon as his parents realized Micah was missing, they let the leaders know, and everyone at the camp out quickly turned into one giant search party. Fortunately, we found Micah crouched by the pond, hiding in some cat tail reeds and trying to sneak up on the frogs along the edge of the pond. He was completely unharmed. We were all so relieved that Micah was okay. Micah went on to found the company that became www.indianapolisfoundationrepairco.com, and I promised him that if he let me use his story, I’d put in a good word for his website on my blog. If you’re in Indiana I can promise you this guy does quality work.
Anyway – we’re glad Micah is still going strong! That was definitely a Family Camp Out that none of us will ever forget!