July 26, 2008

Camp Dudley!!


Camp Dudley Time! I started "camp dudley" about 3 years ago. My daughter and I had just moved into our new condo and 2 of my neices were coming out during the summer. So I created Camp Dudley. Since my daughter is an only child and was living far away from her cousins I wanted to find a way for her to know them and be close to them so Camp Dudley was established. When she was younger she would spend every other summer with family members. It was difficult at first sending my only child away for the summer. But it proved to be beneficial in the long run. She learned how to become less shy and afraid to be away from home. I learned how to give her some room to and be more independant and less of a worrying mother.

Camp Dudley last anywhere from a weekend to 2 weeks. I'm the camp director (cuz Im the favorite aunt... they call me the "Mary Poppins" of the family) My sister is Assistant Camp director, My brother is the Camp Maintenance and My daughter is now a Camp Councelor.

The Neices and Nephews are split in ages 19-3. 3 of them live in Utah, 5 of them live in California and 6 of them in Michigan. And add my daughter to the mix. I've never had all 15 of them at once although I would LOVE IT if it were to happen.

some of the activies we enjoy are:
Drive in movies
Pool party olympics
Build your own pizza contest
Arts and Crafts
One of my nephews got to be on a parad float one year
Camping, fishing, canoeing
Riding the trax & light rail into downtown
State & Church History tours
Educational field trips
hiking in the mountains & canyons
Out door movies in the park
You name it, we've done it
Fun, Fun fun.

It's a good old fashioned tiring time and I love it.

This year it like the year of the Nephews. My brother's sons are all coming out but their stays are staggered. The youngest was here already for 2 weeks. It was his first real trip out here. The oldest came in last week and the middle one (my twin, we have the same b-day) flies in today. we're picking him up in about 3 hours.

I like how the family pools together for the one's who can't afford to come but would like to. Had it not been for that, when my daughter was younger she wouldn't have been able to be with family members every other summer. Although the family is somewhat staggered throughout the country we felt it was important we find a way to keep the cousins close. Every other year my daughter spent the summer with family members. She's been to california, Washington state, Michigan. My father just retired from an airline. He was a great influence in teaching the kids how to fly independantly. I've learned to have great faith in the safety of it. If the child is under the age of 12 they get flight wings, escort tags and an attendant to escort them to any connecting flights and to make sure they get to their destination. And an parent or predetermined adult need to pick the up on the other end. Children ages 13-17 must have an adult pick them up at the gate and they too, must be predetermined on the paperwork and show I.d before they release the child. It's been pretty fun experience and it's given them confidence in traveling alone. Some people say that was a bold step.
I look at it this way.. My success as a parent is measured by how well I've taught my child to funtion in the world without me. Not to say that I've neglected her. I haven't by any means. But alot of my comfort and confidence in sending her off to college is knowing that incase of an emergency, or unexpected change of plans, I know she can keep her head about her, make rational decisions of adjustment.

Back to Camp Dudley!

This morning was acctually an neigborhood 5k run, walk or stroll. A couple weeks before a sign up went out for volunteering breakfast items. So after the 5k there was big neigborhood breakfast for all to enjoy.

This evening after we pick up my other nephew, we'll most likely bbq, pool party, and either movie night or drive in.
Tomorrow my brother will come down with the other nephew and pick him up. We'll do another family bbq.

It's really been fun having the nephews out this year although they came out at staggard times. When the neices came out the came out altogether and we had diva weekend with just the girls and then the last day we had the family pool party & build your own pizza contest.

I LOVE MY FAMILY. It wasn't always this way and it's taken a while to get to this point. As they get old and life's paths move us along in our different directions I hope we'll all continue to provide some sort of Camp Dudley for our kids so they have the family bonds and continue to pass them on. Family reunions are fun, but they don't always happen. If we can create an opportunity for the kids to grow up together and continue the tradition of them having the desire to contact or get together even for a weekend during the summers then I think we've created a family legacy. We are actually looking for land to build a family cabin for such occasions. If i could leave the family these experiences, this legacy to pass down from each generation, I would be well pleased

Hurray for camp Dudley!