“Our Backyard Camp” by Guest Blogger Robin Comey

Robin hosted our first day of backyard camp. Here are her musings on her day hosting.

Have a backup plan! In girl scouts we call it back pocket activities. Sunday night I went out to Walmart and got some inexpensive crafts items; a $5 tower of foam stickers on clearance, 97 cent clothespins, and a $4.50 package of pom poms and pipecleaners. I had a few project books, but knew with only 2 1/2 hours start to finish for the entire camp, we would have to keep activities moving!   Upon the families arrival, I immediately shooed them up the driveway as fast as I could. “Go! Enjoy!, ” I said. They checked in with snacks and epi-pens and hit the pavement.
Now I live a block away from the beach. I sent emails out about comfort levels on the beach idea. Some kids had shellfish allergies and I had heard about a reaction one of our campers had had while with her family was at the beach. So the emails came back and not everyone was 100 percent on board with the idea. “No problem,” I thought. We’ve got a decent size yard and I like to consider myself like gumby. Super flexible. It’s a good thing too, because here’s what happened next.

9:15 am…Clouds were rolling in..We heard thunder in the distance. Drizzle…”Everyone up on the porch where we will work on a Camp flag!”. I had a yard of unused white fabric hanging around and had some fabric markers from a previous activity. With the help of my Junior Counselors, Katie and Samantha, the kids decided on a name for the camp and a “family” crest.  They picked the Hawaiian Lei as the centerpiece of the crest which symbolizes friendship,love and peace.  We peeked in on three baby birds living in my fern.

9:40 At the first sign of lightening we moved the 11 kids and 3 adults inside! I do not live in a big house but I moved furniture to the edge of the room and split the kids up between a few rooms.  I whipped out the crafts and let them go at it. The Junior Counselors finished up the flag at the kitchen table.  Those that weren’t interested in the crafts immediately headed to the costume rack.  We had a policeman, a doctor and a ballerina.

10:15 Snack time!  I had a hard time finding the recommended snacks for the group. But I picked up some mini bottles of water at Walmart and some Quaker salted rice cakes. Some of the kids were a little wary of trying out something new, without the go-ahead from their parents. We all looked at the labels together and saw two ingredients — brown rice and salt. I admit now, I was a little nervous. Mostly because the kids were nervous and I was entrusted to take care of 30 food allergies plus three kids with diagnosed asthma. My direct food allergy experience is with peanuts, treenuts and legumes. Managing my son’s food allergies is a piece of (allergen-free) cake compared to that!  Anyways, not only did they LOVE the rice cakes, one family even had their mom go to the store that very evening and buy them.

10:40 The rain and thunderstorms finally made way to a beautiful sunny morning. “Everybody OUTSIDE” I yelled! Luckily I had two fantastic helping moms that cleaned up all the craft mess that littered the, previously clean, living room floor. The kids proceeded to blow off steam with scooters, tire swinging and hula hooping. We did an old time tug of war with a long anchor rope that was hanging around. We had the kids try jump roping with people at either end of the rope.  Before we knew it, the morning was over and moms and dads were back. The sun was hot and we went back up to the porch to eat our lunches together.

What struck me most was that the entire morning not one kid mentioned their food allergies, after all they didn’t need to!

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2 responses

  1. I love the idea of backyard camp and the way you did it is really great.
    I hope i will join next year.
    Thanks.
    Shahida

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