What Overnight Camping with Girl Scouts Will Teach You

  1. You were sadly mistaken when you thought the sleepless nights of your child’s infancy were over.
  2. You really did forget how much they sucked.
  3. All that whining about being overtired on your ‘normal’ schedule is a gross overexaggeration.
  4. The winding roads leading out of camp will make your head swim like the Dreaded Corkscrew of Death rollercoaster you loved as an eleven year-old – because now you’re middle-aged and sleep deprivation does funny things to you.
  5. Sometimes it pays to delay dropping the winter comforter you removed from your bed last spring at the dry cleaners. When you realize you forgot a blanket, you can retrieve it from your car trunk. Needs to be cleaned anyway!
  6. No matter how tired you are, you will hear the ill-seated toilet clunk upon the floor when the child masquerading as an elephant rumbles downstairs to use it at 3 AM.
  7. That odd scritching sound you hear just before dawn is not the pitter-patter of your charges. A seasoned leader will later tell you it was the squirrels in the ceiling.
  8. Impressing upon children the skill of packing only what you can carry is like telling Imelda Marcos she needs to cull her shoe collection.
  9. Engaging caffeine is a love/hate relationship: love it now, hate it when you shake so much you can’t put any more in your body yet still feel like shit.
  10. You really do have a laissez-faire, no-nonsense attitude with your own children.
  11. Other people’s children may not know how to navigate your ‘tough tooties – time for bed NOW’ attitude.
  12. A short time after arrival, you will take on the ‘Eau de Camping’ – a subtle scent with notes of mildew and maple syrup.
  13. Crafting at 11 o’clock at night is totally on the table.
  14. Four to eight eager girls will demand on-pointe spatial relations skills simultaneously and impatiently – at 11 o’clock at night.
  15. Children who go to sleep at approximately one o’clock in the morning will bounce out of bed at approximately seven o’clock.
  16. Bounce is not a euphemism.
  17. Shaky balcony rails were meant to be leant on.
  18. All trap-doors, attic access points, and all-around off limits areas will be located and attempted to be entered.
  19. The limitless flow of last night’s enthusiasm will dwindle drastically when it is time to sweep the floor before leaving.
  20. There is a threshold for number of times to hear ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’ sung at top volume.
  21. Even eight, nine, and ten year-old girls can be subject to hormonal swings.
  22. You will all remember this as a special time – a bond that can only be made in a sleep-deprived, survivor-type environment.W_C2
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  1. I love this! It reminds me of when I went camping with the Girl Scouts when I was still only a bitty Brownie. My mom was troop leader for my sister so I could get away with that kind of stuff.

    Of course, ours was a week long adventure in the summer, and by day two I was so profoundly ill with some stomach bug that my dad had to drive up and retrieve me from Camp Henry Kaufman. . . But I still have the teddy bear I got as a consolation prize. 😉

    Seriously, Jennifer, with this piece you make me want to move back east, meet some wonderful man, all so I can have a couple of daughters and be their Girl Scout troop leader. That is something pretty astonishing for you to achieve with a piece of writing!

    Thanks for sharing it and bringing me back to those days, as well as reminding me about the choices I didn’t make, the roads I did not walk down in a way that doesn’t make me morose. 🙂


    • Jennifer Butler Basile

       /  December 16, 2014

      Hey, I’d be more than willing to lead a troop with you! First stop, outdoor camping!

      I’m glad my tongue-in-cheek piece helped you remember a happy time and where you’ve been since. Reminiscing without being morose is always a good thing. 🙂 Glad I helped with that. And glad you’ve still got the teddy bear as a reminder!

      Funny which things bring us back and when. I hope my girls will look back on it fondly.

      Thanks for your comments 🙂



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