This past Friday night marked the 6th annual Members Only Great American Backyard Campout. The sun was shining, the temperature was unseasonably warm and there was an air of excitement as families began unloading their gear and scouted out the best place to pitch their tent. Who would have thought that in just a few hours, the clear blue sky would be replaced with moisture laden clouds just waiting to unload on the unsuspecting campers sleeping below? Many campers woke to wet sleeping bags and soggy tents, but the rain did not dampen the spirit of participants – many sported smiles as they grabbed their coffee and hot chocolate and began the arduous task of packing up their wet gear.
But the whole night was not a washout. Thankfully the rain did not begin until everyone was safely tucked in their tents for the night. Families picnicked, enjoyed an entertaining presentation about dinosaurs, and explored the grounds under the cover of darkness. And I'm sure no one forgot the potluck desserts! The kids circled the table like hungry sharks anxiously waiting for the time when they could dive in and sample some of the delectable treats!
For me there are always several favorite memories from the campouts. I loved seeing the rainbow of color from the different tents pitched around the grounds and hearing the squeals of laughter from the kids having fun. It made me smile to see the long line of flashlights winding their way through the bowl and trails during our night hike; and I was super excited to hear a screech owl calling from the trees while we walked near the pond! I'm sure for the families, their night spent at the Arboretum will be filled with memories too, and their children will cherish them for a long time to come.