Elementary Boys Camping: Small Things, Big Impact
BY RYAN HOUSE
Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest impact.
The property we camped at was only 20 minutes away but for a 10 year old who’s never been camping, it felt much further. As we arrived at our campsite, all seven boys in the group were very excited and, within seconds of getting out of the van, were already exploring in the woods nearby.
With every overnight trip, I always spend time preparing games and activities that will keep the kids engaged and having a fun time.
This trip was no different. I had my arsenal of games, my plan for a fireside devo, and a general idea of what the trip would look like. But I quickly saw that it wasn’t going to be “ultimate tag” or smores around the campfire that captured their attention.
Instead of games, they wanted to hunt for frogs, play by the creek, and explore the woods that was sure to have some astonishing discovery, if we just went a little bit further.
We took a hike with our flashlights at night and one of the kids looked to the sky and said “woah, look at the stars.” He was in awe of what the night sky looked like without the city lights.
The next morning as we were getting ready for breakfast, I heard a group of boys who where by the chicken coup yelling “ a raccoon, guys, a raccoon!’’ As the terrifying image of an eight-year-old naively cuddling a rabid raccoon flashed through my head, I quickly hurried to the group and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw a rather large raccoon curled up inside of a live trap. The kids were asking lots of questions about the raccoon and how it got trapped in there, which led to a cool conversation during our devo time about sin, the story of the prodigal son, and how the raccoon had willingly entered the trap for a small piece of food, but ended up stuck in a cage.
At the end of the trip when we asked the boys what their favorite thing was, several said it was the raccoon. None of the kids in the group had ever seen a raccoon in person before.
No activity or game can compare with the excitement and wonder of discovering a raccoon, seeing a starry sky for the first time, or catching a frog with your own two hands. There’s something beautiful about discovering something yourself, for the first time, even if it’s something someone else has seen so much they take it for granted. And in the midst of a lot of planning and preparation, sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest impact.
If you’ve enjoyed this story, please consider supporting UMA. We are doubling in size this year and could really use your support. Our goal is to raise $20,000 before the end of the year! It cost approximately $300 per year or $25 a month per kid. Give the gift of adventure this holiday season! You can donate to our end-of-the-year goal on our Facebook Fundraiser or check out our Give page for other giving options.