Hidden in the mountains in Maryland, the 65 mile drive to the camp took just shy of two hours. Beautiful as it was, it would have been shorter (and far less windy) had my GPS not taken us on a 'long-cut' through the back-roads of the Maryland countryside. A mistake my daughter will ensure I never make again!
We had no idea what to expect when we pulled up to the camp around 1:30 pm. Certainly not the sheer amount of people (almost 400 campers). Nor the amazing welcoming committee (well over 50)! Like a well-oiled machine, the greeters directed us where to stop and unload our car, and then where to park a half-mile away to take the bus back to camp.
While Riley's bags were delivered to her bunk, we exited the bus and followed the singing and cheering to registration, where the staff took pictures of the girls, had us sign waivers, and where they signed up for additional activities. The girls were then sent to take their temperature. Record their weight. And get their heads checked for lice. Only then were they finally allowed to go to their bunks, meet their counselors, and unpack.
Riley knew two of her thirteen bunk mates as they are her two Jewish friends from her school, Girl Scouts, and softball team. The others are all rising fourth graders from around the tri-state area, most of whom had been to this camp before. As we were the last to arrive at the bunk, it was very clear that despite following the suggested packing list to a T, we had clearly under packed. Most girls had brought double the amount of clothes, shoes, hanging items, towels, and toiletries than we did. They brought fans. They brought food. They brought little mats to put down on the floor by the edge of their beds so they'd have something soft to stand on when they woke up. Oh, and don't forget the posters. Lots and LOTS of posters. So many of them that for a moment or two I wasn't sure if these girls were 9 or 19.
We headed a mini meltdown off at the pass by changing Riley's sleeping arrangement to be on the same side of the room as her two girlfriends. An issue I didn't think was as big as it was, until I saw Riley's lip begin to quiver and her eyes rapidly blink. But once everything was moved, unpacked and set-up in its new location, I had a happy camper who frankly couldn't wait for me to go. I snapped a bunch of photos, gave her a big hug and kiss, and left on my merry way.
Lucky for me, I get to make the drive back to the camp MUCH sooner than I'd like as I'll be returning NEXT Monday when I drop Sheridan off for HER one week stay at rookie camp.
At least we'll be far better prepared. With double the amount of crap. And a life sized poster of
What. An. Experience.