Saturday, March 05, 2011

Day is Done

I should begin by telling you that I am convinced I grew up going to the very best summer camp in the world. I will fight over this. The name of my amazing camp is Camp Minikani and it is still a magical place for children from Wisconsin (or children willing to travel to Wisconsin) to spend part of their summer. Not only did I adore attending camp as a camper, I went through the Leadership Training program and spent six summers as part of the Minikani staff.

Tonight our camp alumni community participated in a camp dinner around the world. Camp alums held dinners in cities across the United States and even internationally. We hosted the dinner in our part of the country but unfortunately weren't able to find any other camp alumni in our area.  Not one to be easily discouraged I made the members of my own family participate.

We modified the idea a bit, as our time zone was supposed to begin dinner at seven.  That's a little late for my kiddos so we ate a regular dinner and followed it up with a living room campfire.  We turned out the lights, turned on the fireplace, and sat on the living room floor singing camp songs.

The children also ate sunbutter bars and drank Capri Suns... these are not part of a traditional campfire but Harper made it clear that she did not care very much about my traditions.  She also insisted Kit attend the campfire; there are very few American Girl dolls at a typical Minikani campfire.  Michael also didn't care much for some of the traditions - one of the songs we sang had several repetitive verses and by the middle of the song he was telling me, "No do dat anymore!"  There's a reason that three-year-olds don't go to overnight camp.

Tonight's festivities were Matt's first experience with my camp tradition.  When I was working at camp there was a part of me that couldn't imagine marrying someone who wasn't also a Minikani alum.  I'm sure that sounds silly, but I just couldn't imagine sharing my life with someone who didn't understand that experience.  Of course this idea shifted over time and now it is enough to know that my camp experiences are large part of who I am. I do wish Matt could go back in time and see me in action at camp.  Given my distaste for spiders and having dirt under my fingernails it is sometimes hard for him to imagine that I spent many weeks of the year living largely outdoors.

Our Campfire
Even if they were a little lacking in enthusiasm, my family members were good sports tonight.  I won't be surprised if Michael and Harper request campfire family nights in the future.  I like to think I have done a small thing to keep the Minikani Spirit alive in my corner of the world.


MamaK said...


"Not one to be easily discouraged I made the members of my own family participate." - my fave line from this post. The reasons 3.5 yr olds don't go to overnight camp was a close second.

But the idea is really cool, too. I wasn't a summer camper, so I don't "get" it as much, but it sounds waaaay awesome.

Swistle said...

I love finding things like this out about people. I felt my whole picture of you subtly shifting! I would like more posts about what this camp was like, and posts of camp stories.

Elizabeth, blogging for SunButter said...

Hi Kelsey,
Ah! As a SunButter blogger, LOVE that we made your campfire fare. As a fellow mom and camping lover (I'd argue you for best summer camp ever: mine in MN was pretty prime), LOVE this idea. Since it'll be awhile before we get outside to camp, I'm thinking our living room shall do just fine this evening. Thanks for the inspiration, and I'm so enjoying your posts.

Erin said...

AWESOME. I love Camp Minikani too, because it is so much of YOU. Do you think Harper and Michael will go when they are old enough? I know it's far away, but I can imagine them going.

Jamie said...

Thunder, thunder, thunderation... Thank you for helping shape my amazing camp experinces. The thought of it makes me emotional.

Jenn said...

love it Kelsey. your stories are magical.

Hillary or Ryan said...

Love this post Kelsey. What a great idea! In January, Grady I did some pretend "camping" in our basement. It made me really excited to think that Grady will be able to camp out in a tent in the back yard this summer. And we can finally take him to a state park to go camping this summer too. By the way, I always, always, always sing camp songs to my kids. And Grady's favorite is the Skeeters and the Bedbugs.

Hillary or Ryan said...

I should also mention that you hate furry, jumping spiders.