504 Main by Holly Lefevre: The Only Corner To Put Baby In Was Dirty: Tales from Family Camp

3.03.2010

The Only Corner To Put Baby In Was Dirty: Tales from Family Camp

Writer's Workshop Time!
For your reading pleasure {ha, ha!}, I am selecting
Prompt #2: Tell us about your trip! 
{This is a slightly PG rated post for mild language}
The Only Corner To Put Baby In Was Dirty
Once or twice a year, hubby and I have the same argument...where are we going on vacation? Pre Baby No. 2, the answer was Hawaii. Post baby No. 2, the thought of a 5 hour flight...the time difference...and traveling with my husband who pulls out his "ASS" Hat {and proudly wears it} the minute we leave the house for the airport, was more than I could handle.

A couple of years ago, I took the bull by the horns. I have always wanted to go to family cap. Um, yeah Dirty Dancing was one of my most-favoritest movies ever! I could actually hear "I've had the time of my life..." playing as the theme song to our vacation. I had dreams of cute little cabins, talent shows, entertainment, activities, and good old-fashioned camaraderie amongst "campers"...how could you beat that!?

Joe was turning 7 and always was asking to meet new friends. At Family Camp he would have his own activities...there would be kids to play with...he was going to LOVE it. As for Baby No. 2, she was just shy of turning one...so that was not going to be easy no matter what, but still I wouldn't have to cook, we wouldn't even have to decide where to eat...and we were staying in California - no time difference to mess with naps or bed time...PERFECTION!

Hubby reluctantly agreed to my wild fantasy of "Dirty Dancing" Family Camp. I was even able to find a great deal on a camp - which was also highly touted in a well-known magazine. Summer vacation begins in early June for us, so we were able to hit the road the second week of June. Better yet, this camp was offering 40% off of their regular rates---Dealicious! If you have ever priced these camps...they are not cheap...in fact Hawaii would have cost less {at full price}, but at 40% off it seemed the time and the price was right.

As per the website and lovely person on the telephone, we were promised lakefront rooms, a heated swimming pool, 3 gourmet meals per day plus a full 24/7 snack bar, campfires, theme nights, horseback riding, mountain biking, water skiing, canoeing, fishing, rock climbing, archery, riflery, and more! There was baby sitting and organized activities for the children all day..."Mom HEAVEN" was waiting for me!

We packed our car to the brim and headed for our destination. There was a big powwow that night and we didn't want to miss a thing. We survived the drive to be greeted by a big dirt lot, a pond posing as a lake, a bunch of pissed off parents, kids running everywhere, and camp counselors and staff hanging out at the pool...and no one in charge who knew anything about anything!
We settled in to our less than welcoming room. It was ugly, disgusting, dirty, and buggy, with straight-from-a-rental-cabin-this-is-what-we-had-left-at-home-and-instead-of-taking-it-to-the-Goodwill-we brought-it-here 1970's decor. I was still seriously appalled...at full rates, the cost of this place rivals the Ritz...so I was not expecting so much dirt and tackiness. We also had our very own glorious smelly, musty bathroom...just what every vacationer dreams of! After recovering, we headed down stairs for the big powwow. It did not go as anyone planned...

{the following is a synopsis of our powwow}
Camp Dude {CD}: "Welcome. We are glad to have you here...Yada...Yada...Yada...We just wanted to go over a few rules and let you know when meals are served. You all will pretty much be on your own this week as our activities do not start until next week. We'll have the pool open for you a couple of hours each day, and the craft room will be open tomorrow for a few hours. The lake will be off limits because the lifeguard isn't here, but there are many hikes and trails to check out. They are just a short drive from here"

Me:..in my head...looking around: "WHAT!? Oh CRAP. Hubby is going to K-I-L-L ME DEAD RIGHT NOW. How did I miss this? Where was this on the website or when I called? How, oh how did this happen...this week is going to suck BIG TIME."

Then, I snapped out of it and I heard it...the rumblings...the whispers...and then one mom, who was traveling with two children under the age of 2 1/2 asked...yelled...the question..."WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?"

CD:"This is not a full program week. This is a trail to get us ready. We do not have all of the counselors here yet. We are not ready for campers."

Somehow, he and the few staff members present were not immediately strung up by their toe nails and tortured by the 50 or so families. Much to their credit, each the families other than "that one mom," remained calm and told CD that we were not told that little detail, and they better figure out a way to make this "right" right now! Collectively the families agreed to leave the next morning and dispute our credit card charges if something didn't happen and QUICK!

To help our cause "that mom" packed up and walked out right then and there. The rest of us were just dumbfounded and thinking what are we going to do with all these kids and nothing to play with, nothing to do for one week. This was our bonding moment at camp. We figured we outnumber them and therefore, we can pretty much do what we want...we will go in the lake, we will have a campfire, we will not let "you" ruin the trip.

To their credit, CD and his superiors pulled together some activities for the next day. They called in every counselor they could, and offered a half-ass program for the kids. Not to their credit, they left my 7 year old son alone on the dock fishing {when he was supposed to be in their care} because the girl counselor wanted to water ski with the "hot" dude.

After 2 days, they offered every one free mountain biking, horseback riding and water skiing on the pond (we knew there would be additional charges for these activities}. We all decided to stay. We made the camp ours...we raided the kitchen at night and took the s'mores fixins', we made our own campfire, we played games...it was fun, but not what it was supposed to be...
My son was able to do archery and shoot BB guns and a rifle - to this day, if you ask him, he will tell you it was one of the best vacations ever {other than Hawaii}. As for me...it was miserable...everything was dirty...the dining room was dirty, our room was dirty - nails were falling out of the bunk bed - that is good for a one year old to play with!, the playground was a bunch of broken plastic climbing structures, there were a bunch of horny single parents trying to hookup with one another, one man who seemed to think he was the camp stud {NOT!} and his wife the camp MILF {glad he thought that, but double NOT!}.

As for the camp counselors, they were too busy flirting and hooking up with each other, they took up every chair at the pool and jumped in front of us at meal time to care about the campers...apparently we were interrupting their vacation! To add insult to injury, they were having training throughout the day and evenings on how to greet and treat the campers coming to stay. They even had s'mores and campfires...we were not invited.

This was no Dirty Dancing experience. It was dirty but there was no dancing, and certainly no "Johnny." There was a "Baby" though. Although I am pretty sure some of the other antics that happened in Dirty Dancing were happening in the counselors quarters. I would be remiss if I did not point out that on our second to last night there, camp management called us all together to thank us for staying, and offered us and additional 50% off of the already 40% discounted price. That helped easy the sting of the vacation, but we all would have rather had the experience we were promised.
And, hubby obviously didn't kill me,
but I am not allowed to plan vacations anymore.
Has anyone ever been to family camp?
Anyone have one to recommend - I swear I want to try this again!
Happy Camping!
Holly

P.S. I had a really hard time deciding between this trip or the time I almost got left at the train station in Rome...or when I told the Frenchman at the Louvre in Paris how fantastic their restaurant was because I felt like I was in America...I may have to post that story too...coming soon Holly's European Vacation....




Mama's Losin' It

65 comments :

  1. I had no idea that Family Camps still existed! After reading this I think it's safe to safe that I won't be trying one out.

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  2. I love how you're banned from planning trips. lol. At least it's one less thing to worry about..unless your husband isn't any good at it either.

    I'm always nervous when I plan a trip because I worry that the brochure won't match reality.

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  3. the idea sounds awesome, what you described, no so much. wow, what a ballzy way to run a vacation business. glad you all stood up for yourselves.

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  4. the idea sounds awesome, what you described, no so much. wow, what a ballzy way to run a vacation business. glad you all stood up for yourselves.

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  5. Hmmmm, family camp, or Rome, or Paris, where would I want to go!!!! Great story, I enjoyed reading...visiting from mama kats.

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  6. Stoppin by from MamaKats - I had no idea that they had family camps - sounds like what happened to my mom the first time she went on a camping trip, its still a family joke to this day!

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  7. Well - I'm pretty sure hubby and I would have had that vacation for free (if we stuck around)! That's horrible! But of course your oldest will have something to talk about for years to come, and you have a great story for your grandchildren on day :)

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  8. Such a cute story! Enjoy every minute of it.

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  9. At first I thought family camp sounds fun! Should try that on anti-outdoor Dumb Dad. I don't know, you guys look like you had a good time, but I'm not sure I'm convinced. Hawaii is WAY more our speed!

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  10. Wow, good for you for taking the bull by the horns. I've always wanted to go camping. Unfortunately, the hubs and boys are not into it. They are more inside people.

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  11. No you didn't! You did not tell the Frenchman that the restaurant was so good it reminded you of America. Holly! I know you didn't, you're just teasing, right?

    This post was a great read. My hubby likes to go on private family camping trips where he has no idea how to cook over coals so, like at home, all the meals are up to me to prepare. But I do have a question: What does the acronym MILF stand for?

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  12. Vacation brochures are a lot like frozen food boxes...the picture looks far better than what is inside.

    Glad you were able to salvage some fun out of that trip.

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  13. At least they offered up the additional 50% off!
    At least you tried to make the most of a bad situation and your son walked away with some great memories.

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  14. What a great post! I have a theory that the worst experiences happen just so you can have great stories to tell later.

    I've never been to a family camp. I'm not so much of a mingle-with-complete-strangers kind of gal. I find that strangers are often just that; strange!

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  15. Sounds rough... I am laughing that your husband borrows the "ass hat" from mine. I never even realized he let that hat out.

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  16. I loved that movie too..but your experience never would have happened at...? what was the name of the camp in DD anyway....I cant say I know of a good place because we've had similar experiences...bad mattresses, bad food...unclean quarters...I love my amenities anyway..luxury..all the way..Ive missed stopping by...Love the new look..very pretty..!Have a great day..!

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  17. Loved this post! So no meringue? Did you carry a watermelon? Ha! Dirty Dancing is one of my favorite movies of all time too!

    I didn't know these camps existed either!

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  18. Great story Holly. It almost sounds like Chevy Chase could star in the screen version.

    We have never been to a family camp. Our vacation consists of 2 weeks at the beach in a rented house with the rest of my wife's family--which can be fun and stressful at the same time.

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  19. Holly, I can relate to this post, and I have been laughing my butt off, not that this camping trip left little to be desired, no, I began laughing when you wrote about the hubby putting on his "ASS" cap and wearing it proudly, my hubby has that same invisible cap sometimes,once on a vacation to St Augustine, nothing went right,NOTHING, and the hubby didn't take off that cap until we got back home.

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  20. That was too funny..ty for the laugh :)

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  21. Camps seem so fun in theory. And when we're young we think they're great! It's when you go back as an adult that you see how crappy they are most of the time!! There has got to be some great camps left in the U.S....keep searching! Your Dirty Dancing Camp dreams might still come true some day....

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  22. That's too funny that now you aren't allowed to plan vacations? You lived and learned, I think you should get another shot at it!

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  23. Hey Holly!
    Thanks so much for visiting and leaving your sweet comment on my blog for my SITS day! It was nice to see a familiar face! Loved having you visit and comment, of course I always love to see your sweet name in the comments!

    you made my day!
    jeanette
    sweetjeanette.com

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  24. Family camp = vacation I won't be planning soon! lol

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  25. Wow...that is crazy!!

    I want to hear the story of being almost left at the train station in Rome...that sounds scary!

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  26. you pretty much sold me on never attending a family camp, certainly not during early season. great post. i look forward to hearing about your european adventures.

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  27. I thought family camps were just movie magic! Who knew? Sorry yours wasn't up to Dirty Dancing standards though.

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  28. Well described...I really felt like I was right along with you--musty bathroom, dirty pond and all. I am sorry it did not turn out as you expected. I'm pretty sure I went to a family camp that (at least in my memory) lived somewhat up to Dirty Dancing ilk...but it was a long time ago, and I may have remodeled the memory after the movie :)

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  29. That sounds horrific. I still haven't been able to, in 12 years, convince Felix to do any type of camping. Maybe he's right afterall...

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  30. I'm digging your new layout! I would not go to a family camp because I went to camp for years and that was enough camp for me! I like to camp at a hotel where they counselors can take the kids for a day and I can lay on a beach and drink!!

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  31. Oh goodness, what an awful trip! I can't believe they asked you to pay ANYTHING for that experience!

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  32. Yeah, vacation brochures are evil. They let me down few times in the past. I love going camping , but I don't think I would enjoy the Family camp.

    Loved your story.

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  33. Are you sure your last name isn't GRISWALD?

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  34. If I knew there was such a thing as Family Camp-- I would be all over it!! I hope you're able to find a better camp experience in the future.

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  35. What a great story--sorry you had to actually live it in order for it to be told :-)

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  36. As soon as you saw there was no Johnny you should have left. My word that man was sizzlin hot! *ahem* I mean...wow...you and your whole family are terrific troopers. I would have cried. Literally.

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  37. Okay Holly, you completely got me going right at the beginning with hubby pulling out his ASS hat. That is exactly what my wife would say about me. She doesn't quite get my sense of humor.

    I've never been to a camp vacation, and from the sounds of this, I'm not sure I want to either.

    Love your new header.

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  38. I am sorry I know I shouldn't be so amused by your vacation trip horrors but OH...MY...!!! I have read about family camps in a parenting magazine and was totally in love with the idea. Now I think we are better off skipping them, You always do have quite a way with words!

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  39. Happy Friday to you too!!! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  40. Oh my goodness ... I really tried hard not to laugh but the way you shared the story had me cleaning my morning coffee of the laptop!

    Happy Friday Follow!

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  41. Thanks Holly for sharing, i will definitely confirm with the doctor.

    Thanks again for the website address. It was what I was looking for. :)

    I love your blog and this post was hilarious. Ah,ahahaha, I wanted to go to Hawaii for so long but never did I hope I can still go there one day. I started camping just three years ago but I love it so far.

    Please come and visit again. xxxMsBabyPlan

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  42. OMG, this is hysterical! Who knew you were so darn funny? I loved your description of the cabin on arrival, omg, lol!

    We've never been to family camp, lol. And I wouldn't do it. We DID however take a 2 week cross country road trip as all our kids were in their early teen years. Oh yes, that was 'fun'.

    Oh and my hubs has a big ass hat as well. (LOVE that term btw!)

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  43. Found you on Friday Follow. I love fellow crafty moms:) I'm a follower now.

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  44. Good for you. I don't think I could make it through camping. Happy Friday!
    Kel
    http://betweenthelines-kam.blogspot.com

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  45. Wow, the idea of a family camp sounds like a lot of fun. How disappointing. Great story telling.

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  46. You should post this on the ITS SO VERY NOT QUITE RIGHT linky party.
    No suggestions-never done family camp.

    ALSO You are one of the winners of my give-a-way--go check it out. Contact the vendor and give them your address.

    Cheri

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  47. Oh good Lord! Thank you for writing this as I've been looking at family camps for the summer. I'll stick to Europe, even if it is a long 14 hour trip from the West Coast.

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  48. Ha! Great post! You've got me hooked- I'm now a follower! :)

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  49. Fabulous post! Great and vivid detail! I'm thinking Hawaii is in your near future! (:

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  50. "Following you from http://bizzimommi.blogspot.com Happy Follow Friday!"

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  51. Great blog!

    Found you through FF. Following your blog!

    http://householdcents.blogspot.com/

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  52. Hey Holly. Happy Friday. I need a nap...but had to stop by to say hello. The way you described the decor sounds like every cabin I've ever been in. And why are they all 70's? Curious! I've heard Mt. Hermon family camps are amazing. Two very wealthy families I know go there every summer. They wouldn't stay in dirty/old...so I know it is a good rec. Darn it...still haven't gone to SITS. Will do it now. Holly:)

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  53. Thanks for the visit to my blog! You are such a great story teller :)
    Look forward to hearing more from you from your blog and otherwise :)
    www.iamonly1woman.blogspot.com

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  54. Actually it looks really fun, and so well written! Have a great weekend Holly!!~

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  55. Thanks for following, I am now following your blog. Have a great weekend!

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  56. I Haaaad the time of my life....someone had to sing it!!:) Well that sounded awful! I'm like everyone else had no idea family campl still existed. Here on Friday follow, consider yourself followed!

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  57. You've been featured at The Girl Creative. Go check out the "Readers Rock" post and grab a button to show off. :)

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  58. Whew... just one more reason I'm not down with camping. :) Friday Followed you hear, you are followed! Thanks for hitting my blog too. :)

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  59. I have always wanted to go the a camp like in Dirty Dancing! I did not know they had them still! Does it come with a Studly Johnny?

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  60. Sounds like a real treat. :P
    There is a place called Lost Creek just outside of Jackson Hole; but be prepared to spend $$$$$$$$$.

    I would never willingly do one of those Family Camps. I'm simply too anti- Barbie and horny camp counselors.

    But I want to hear about that French vacation!!

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  61. OMG! "ass hat", Camp "stud", milf, I'm dying here! You are too funny. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm now following you.

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  62. Great read. I'm going to check her blog out! Thank you!

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  63. I have always wanted to family camp!! I have to give it to you, I probably would have stayed after I had a mini stroke but I'm not sure. I've always dreamed of going to one of the Beaches Family Resorts and sending my kids off on adventures while I relax or go snorkling!

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  64. OH NO! That's horrible! Here in the sticks, "camping" can only be accomplished with a four-wheel drive truck. There are no "family camps." I guess I'm not missing much there...

    LOL!

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  65. the idea sounds awesome, what you described, no so much. wow, what a ballzy way to run a vacation business. glad you all stood up for yourselves.

    Work From Home

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Thanks for swinging by my place. See ya soon!