Monday April 24 2017
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One with Nature

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As an avid outdoorsman, camping has always been special to me. Every experience differs and produces bonding second to none.

Bringing kids along both heighten the challenges and the many rewards. This is a column about sharing experiences with your kids. Our tradition is camping, and it certainly fits the bill.

Camp Out Night—and that is exactly what it is called in our home—has a history dating back at least five years. Every Friday night, my three sons and I take on the camping challenge. No excuses – all seasons, all weather, all conditions.

Building a tradition is never easy. Practices, games, work – they all can get in the way if you allow them. And it only takes a couple misses to jeopardize the whole thing. Quality preparation is a necessity. If you don’t take that approach, the next thing you know, the whole thing blows up.

So when it comes time for a brother to order the weekly pizza, it’s taken seriously. When one is responsible for getting blankets, it’s not a laughing matter. When another is charged with finding the campsite’s night light, no delay is acceptable. When Dad has to check the cable listings…

Cable listings?

Well, of course. Wait, you don’t camp out with cable access? What type of naturalist are you?

I get it – you’re probably one of those old-schoolers who camps outside. No, no, no!

You need to get with it. Camp Out Night is the tradition that comes from throwing a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor, amidst pizza boxes and food wrapping. About three boys toughing it out sleeping on the oriental rugs while Dad, wrapped in down, collapses on the oversized sofa. It’s about Mom never being welcome at camp.

It’s about 492 channels and three clickers being used at once. It’s about watching every NBA game that dominates the Friday night sports television landscape and switching to the retro channel for the original Rockford Files during commercials – and visa versa.

Right?

Boy, I hope so. Otherwise, you’re not only missing a tradition, you’re missing the joys of camping. Real camping by real men.

Find a way, my friend, find a way. Don’t delay.

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