My greatest childhood memory involves camping for an entire month with my mom, aunt and two cousins. The late night camp fires, stories, living in our swim suits, sleeping with marshmallow faces, dirty feet and dreaming of the next day – this is childhood at its best. I want to give my children these good memories and several times over. This summer over the 4th of  July weekend my husband and I packed up the camper, tubs of supplies and headed to the Wisconsin Dells.

A long road trip – 8 hours! The heat reached over 101 degrees but we followed Lake Michigan and entered Wisconsin with big smiles. The kids were excited to enter a new state and as we crossed over the state line my son declared he did not feel different in a new state! We stopped to visit cousins and enjoy family company we don’t see often.

The trip had its hiccups and the first day I wondered if we’d made a terrible mistake. The excessive heat in a camper with no air left us miserable but happy to be at our destination – a bitter sweet feeling.  Ants invaded our camper from our camp site tree and we moved campsites – no easy feat.  We ended up under a walnut tree that dropped sporadically onto our camper sounding like gun shots and across from us a family reunion lasted well into the night and began earlier than expected each day.  I ended up with a wicked head cold, my son wiped out on his bike, my daughter scraped her back and arm at the wave pool, I lost my credit card it was found at the water park (thankfully) and yes, I hurt my back going down a waterside. Just a few little glitches but it all just makes the trip more memorable!

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Despite these little incidents that made me want to walk home and call it quits the trip was quit fun. My sister wonders why I camp; it’s so much work she says. Yes, it is but there are enjoyable family moments and relaxing times too. It helps us all learn patience; we’re in the same boat – or rather camper!

Camping Lessons

Waiting in line to take a shower, there are only 3 showers and a camp site full of others wanting to shower. When you’re tired and hot this requires a lot of patience, especially for a 5 year old little girl. A child who never has to wait her turn for a shower or to use the bathroom – we have three of them and if she does have to wait it requires pounding on the door and screaming!  Sitting in a car for hours on end teaches the children to entertain themselves but unlike how I had growing up. The children now have DVD’s, iPod touches, iPod’s and games and toys a plenty. This, however, does not prevent them from asking if we’ve reached our destination 105 times over! Patience the entire family has to learn together! Read about my review of the Yogi Bear campground before visiting though.

In our cookie cutter town where most people look the same and my children’s friends have homes like ours and nice cars the children are able to experience diversity while camping. They see that family’s camp in tents, pop-ups and campers but that everyone camping is there to have fun and it doesn’t matter if you have a tent or camper. They hear people that speak different languages, music blaring from radios that are being sung in different languages and people who don’t have their ghost white skin. I’m glad my children can experience this at a campground where there is equality – we’re all using the pool, facilities and enjoying the activities together –respectfully.

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Driving and sightseeing has allowed my children to see farm land throughout Wisconsin scatter with over 100 Wind Turbines. They drove a Army duck down the Wisconsin River and see rock formations that they might never see again and birds that make sand nests in the rocks and fly to Venezuela each winter and return to their same nest each spring – the nests resemble wasps nests.

Traveling to large theme parks such as Mt. Olympus gives all of us a sense of adventure, connection and teaches us patience, about differences beyond our own and lets the children see new things and learn about new places, things and people.

Why do you travel or camp?

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