“What? You swallowed a bee?”
That was the question I asked my wife on one of our camping trips with our three young children. Apparently the bee was hiding inside her can of Mountain Dew. She responded to my question with “Yes. First I felt it buzzing in my throat and then it stung me twice on the way down.” Oh man!
In my younger days I spent many of my summers as a lifeguard and had taken the first aid course more times than I can count. However, there was not a single moment where someone explained to me what to do when someone swallows a bee and then it stings them in their throat. I have to admit I had visions of my wife’s throat swelling shut and having to perform a tracheotomy. Like I had done that before. This was a scary moment.
We loaded up the car and found a park ranger. Kellie is still breathing although she is feeling the stings in her throat. The ranger says “Follow me.” He hits the lights and siren and we’re booking it to the hospital. Truth be told, it was kind of an adrenaline rush getting to run all of those lights and stop signs. Seriously.
We made it to the hospital and Kellie was well taken care of. She ended up with no breathing issues but did have a sore throat. Crisis averted.
I have asked my now, grown children about their memories of that event and you know what they said stands out to them? The nurses in the emergency room gave them suckers. Yep, the nurses in the emergency room gave them suckers.
I guess this wasn’t the best story to tell in a post where I’m trying to explain why it is a great thing to take your family camping. Hopefully it goes without saying that swallowing bees is not a normal part of camping. This could have happened on a picnic at our local park, but for us, it was on a camping trip. And it has become a part of our lore…the stories that we tell when we gather as family. An adventure.
Family counselor and author, Dr. Gary Smalley, had this to say about families and camping: “Several years ago, we interviewed healthy families across the country and asked them each the same question: ‘What do you believe is the main reason you are all so close and happy as a family?’ What we found amazed us. Each family gave basically the same answer: ‘We do a lot of activities together.’ Upon further study, we discovered these families also had one particular activity in common – camping.”
So here are 15 reasons why we believe you should take your family camping. Well, really it’s only three but next time we’ll post the remaining twelve. I promise.
1. Your family will bond. The story about Kellie swallowing the bee is just one of many, many stories that our family has about our camping trips. Your family will too. And the more you go camping, the more stories you will have. Most of the stories will be absolutely hysterical. Some might be more about the adventure. They are ALL memories. But it’s not just about the stories. It’s about setting up camp together and collecting firewood together and walking to the bathhouse together and hiking together and sitting around the campfire together. Camping is all about being together.
2. Your family will learn to complain less. Now I’m not suggesting that camping will eliminate complaining, but when your children have grown up learning how to “rough it,” they will respond to change much more positively than children who have not. Your children will be much more “apt to adapt” than complain.
3. Your family will learn to embrace adventure. Camping is always an adventure and your family will experience something new each time you journey into the woods. When it rains, your family will know what it is to play in it. When it’s cold, your family will know how to bundle up (layers), build a fire and laugh. When some type of mammal shows up, well, that’s always a good time. As much of a hassle as it is for a raccoon to go through your food box, your children will think it is the greatest thing ever. Bears however, are an entirely different conversation. If you’re new to camping, don’t camp in bear country until you’ve got some experience under your belt. Bottom line, don’t let a fear of adventure keep you from enjoying the benefits of spending time in creation.
Next time: The other twelve reasons to take your family camping.