I discovered the joys of camping at a young age. It was only natural for me to want to share this wonderful opportunity with other youth. I was overjoyed when I had the chance to do so. My dad, my brother, and I decided to take my little cousins camping for their first times.
I think it is necessary to include the age range of the children: four years old to twelve years old. The wide array of ages provided quite a challenge throughout the trip. We decided upon Red Top Mountain as our camping location. It was not too far from home and most importantly a hospital, if needed.
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We planned to leave at two o’clock sharp. Two o’clock turned into three o’clock which eventually turned into five o’clock. When we finally arrived, the sun was beginning to set. We hurried to set up the tents. When we finished setting them up, it was dark. To our surprise, we only brought one flashlight for ten people. We had to take shifts with it, making sure we conserved the battery as much as possible.
We somehow managed to cook dinner and get everyone into their tents at a reasonable hour. Before everyone was completely settled, I asked the most important question: “Does anyone have to use the bathroom?” Out of all the children, only two said they needed to go. I was awoken at eight in the morning by some disturbing news. Both of the four year old boys peed on themselves during the night. Their excuse being it was dark and they did not want to disturb my dad or brother. I sighed heavily.
I took the boys to the bathroom to get cleaned up. This also presented a minor problem. In that they were reluctant to enter the women’s restroom. They however, went into the showers and washed. After they were done, they were of much better cheer. That is until I told them to pick up their pee filled clothing. I heard the loudest unison of “no”. I looked at them intently. They were bound, bit, and determined not to pick up their clothes. We waited ten minutes without anyone moving. My patience was beginning to run out. I was hungry and ready to sit down somewhere. I finally picked up the nasty clothes and we left.
Later on in the day, the kids began to fish. To my astonishment, they were professionals. The children were catching fish within minutes of putting their bait in the water. When they finished, each person caught at least two fish. My dad decided to make their catches a part of our meal for the night.
He began to scale the fish. The children’s eyes widened with intrigue. When he took out a knife to cut the fish, the kids instantly crowded around. None of them had seen the gutting process before. My dad sliced off the heads of the fish. He cut them down the middle and took out the guts. The children began to play with these things as if they were not afraid of blood. Needless to say, none of the children ate any of the fish.
By the end of the trip, we all wanted to return to central air conditioning and our soft beds. Although we had this yearning, we could not escape the beauty of the campsite. We felt one with nature. On our trip home, I heard several questions about coming back again. I smiled a big happy smile. All the funny, embarrassing, turbulent, and otherwise calm moments made a wonderful trip. The children truly enjoyed themselves like I did once I was a young child. My mission was accomplished.
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