Benefits of Traveling with Other Families

4 Benefits of Traveling & Bunk...

Camp Cook Chronicles - Traveling & Bunking with other Families We're crazy lucky to be friends with some amazing families who enjoy traveling &...

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My life like the river

Life on planet earth is like a river flowing free. We carry on sometimes as a trickle, sometimes as Rapids... often gentle movement & other ti...

Explore Georgia's State Parks & Zoo Atlanta for FREE

Explore Georgia’s State Parks...

Summer travel is winding down and the locals are back in town. School is back in session keeping many of our Georgia families close to home for the d...

This is why I do what I do

Openness: Wild Wonder, Natural Curi...

This is why I do what I do. I will only be with them for this very brief window in the history of planet earth. I want to leave them with open eyes, o...

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This is why I do what I do

Openness: Wild Wonder, Natural Curiosity, True Appreciation

This is why I do what I do. I will only be with them for this very brief window in the history of planet earth. I want to leave them with op...

Travel & Adventure

Benefits of Traveling with Other Families

4 Benefits of Traveling & Bunking with Other Families

Camp Cook Chronicles - Traveling & Bunking with other Families We're crazy lucky to be friend...

Camping

Benefits of Traveling with Other Families

4 Benefits of Traveling & Bunking with Other Families

Camp Cook Chronicles - Traveling & Bunking with other Families We're crazy lucky to be friends with some amazing families who enjoy t...

Thrills

Exploring St Augustine with Tweens

Exploring St. Augustine with Tweens

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24 Hours at Stone Mountain Park

24 hours, with kids, at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park

I look back at my childhood, growing up near Atlanta, and one place towers over everything else: Stone Mountain. I had the pleasure of ...

4 Benefits of Traveling & Bunking with Other Families

Benefits of Traveling with Other Families

CCamp Cook Office High Falls State Parkamp Cook Chronicles – Traveling & Bunking with other Families
We’re crazy lucky to be friends with some amazing families who enjoy traveling & outdoor adventures as much as we do. In fact, as I’m writing this, one of those families is sound asleep in a yurt near my camp office. We went on a whirlwind road trip around Florida with the adventuring family of Val in Real Life and learned a lot bunking with 365 Atlanta Family on a couple of occasions. These experiences have been a blast for the adults and the kids alike!

Children learn and teach each other naturally in a pressure-free, non-judgmental environment
Traveling and bunking, whether in a hotel or at camp, with another family provides a pressure-free environment where children of different ages can come together peaceably to learn and teach each other. This place of social education is much different from their routine in school. My older sons, 11 & 12, are able to befriend children who are half their age – imparting knowledge and willing to learn what the little guys have to teach them about life. They aren’t concerned with sticking to a tutoring topic or being seen mentoring a 5-year-old or playing silly games with a 2-year-old. There is no pressure, from peers, to leave the little ones behind.

great discoveryWhen traveling with another family, it’s been my pleasure to witness the exchange of knowledge and experience that takes place between children from different lives, different families, backgrounds and experience. I’ve listened in on lessons my children give about various subjects and I’ve watched them soak up information from others. Let’s face it, moms: Sometimes, we don’t know what they’ve learned until we see them teaching it to someone else.

Helping Hands with Extra Sets of Eyes and Ears
Another great benefit of staying with another family, on overnight adventures, is having an extra set of helping hands. Today, a young child slipped into the water and was calmly snatched up by another watchful parent. In less tense moments, we can help carry things, point out interesting items along the way, and help engage impatient children while other parents have their hands full.
The kids play their part as helping hands as well. My own sons got the fire going, last night, while entertaining the little ones with a lesson on how it’s done. It gave us moms a moment to sit back, relax and enjoy the scene.
We help each other prepare meals, watch the kids, wash dishes and do other camp chores. We support each other where our strengths falter and provide an extra sense of security.

Renewed Sense of Adventure
One of the greatest things about traveling and overnighting with another family is experiencing their adventurous spirit. We all have our own senses of adventure and ways of satisfying that need for excitement & curiosity.
It’s nice to go along with another family and experience their ideas about what constitutes an adventure. What sparks their curiosity is often different from our own and experiencing a trail or park with another family opens up new avenues of interest, knowledge and adventure.

Florida Road Trip with Val in Real Life & Sons

Florida Road Trip with Val in Real Life & Sons – Photos by Val in Real Life

The Money Saved
Last, but not least, is the obvious benefit of saving money on your trip. Splitting costs with another family is an excellent way to save money. You’ll save a lot on lodging and can share supplies. A little research into group discounts could even knock a few bucks off attraction passes.

My life like the river

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Life on planet earth is like a river flowing free. We carry on sometimes as a trickle, sometimes as Rapids… often gentle movement & other times, raging floodwaters. We can be crystal clear like the mountain Springs or muddy waters. We carry our wisdom and deposit it with others like the river deposits & creates fertile soil.

One day this River will dry up & all that’s left will be an ancient River bed where I have carved my way thru this life and helped shape the ones who love me.

They can come to this place where my River used to be & see me when they miss me. . And see things about me they never saw before, and see me in New ways and each time they visit will be different just like when the river flowed free.

Posted from my phone.  Please forgive typos. Thank you.

Bringing your child out of his comfort zone

Bringing your child out of his comfort zoneMy Crazy Horse is a nature boy. Put him in the forest, or barefoot on the banks of a creek, and he’s at ease. He’s at home exploring the minute details of the environment. He’ll gently handle any lizard, frog, or amphibian that finds itself in his path. He’ll sneak up next to snakes and turtles for a closer look. He’s in his comfort zone walking along through nature. Near the end of the post, I’ve provided some tips for helping a person out of their comfort zone.

But, put him on a bike, and it’s like you’re dangling him over a cliff. He knows how to ride a bike. He’s pedaled alongside his family on many rides down the Silver Comet Trail or around the neighborhood. But, he’s not comfortable. He’s so uncomfortable that he’s opted out of all of our recent mountain biking rides. His younger brother, J Bear, has been mountain biking with me since the beginning of April. However, we’ve left nature boy at home, unable to convince him that it’s worth a try. Until today.

I can’t tell you how ecstatically proud I am of my sweet Crazy Horse for stepping WAY out of his comfort zone and joining us on a mountain bike ride, today. It wasn’t easy and I am just blown away by his determination and the courage that it took him to really immerse himself in the experience and have a breakthrough…

Let me tell you, I am not a pushy person. I’m definitely not a salesperson. I take my primary role, as facilitator, very seriously. I am here to provide them with opportunities, not force them to participate when they have no desire. However, my own newly discovered passion for mountain biking persisted in making attempts to gently convince Crazy Horse to join us. At the very least, I wanted him to come along, ride a trail and make a decision after giving it a shot.

I spent the past two months inviting him along on nearly every trail ride I did. I would come home and tell him details about our ride and the trail we rode, in hopes that he would imagine it as a possibility for himself. He opted out, every time, dead set against getting on a bike.

Today, on a whim, I invited him on a mountain bike trail ride followed by dining out. Mountain biking makes us very hungry and often, after a ride, we’ll stop and get something to eat. At first, he took me up on the offer – for dinner, not biking. But, after a short session of having different members of his family describe the entrance trail as, “easy, flat, and fun,” he decided to give it a try.

He hasn’t been on a bike in quite a while and he was riding a different bike than he usually does. He began as if he had completely forgotten how to ride a bike at all. It just makes him so nervous and anxious. He’s never had a bad spill, so I’m not really sure where the fear comes from. He would pedal half a rotation and plant both feet back on the ground, never getting enough force to propel himself forward. I simply rode alongside him as slowly as I could, while Pete & J Bear zoomed ahead down the trail. He kept trying, and almost in tears, explained to me that it wasn’t him that was putting his feet down – it was his brain making him do it because his brain felt like he was going to fall. “That’s fine. I understand. If you keep trying, you’ll show your brain that it’s ok and it will stop doing that.

I watched him try and try until he was pedaling along at a decent speed that could keep his balance. Nervously, he laughed at the quacking sounds that old bike started making as he pedaled along. He rode that bike right out of his comfort zone and when asked if he wanted to try it again, he replied with a, “yes.”

We celebrated with a dinner at his favorite restaurant, Sweet Tomatoes. He likes Sweet Tomatoes because he’s a nature boy & prefers raw vegetables to cooked food. He made me a very proud momma, today. It’s very special that he was willing to move out of his comfort zone & give this a try for the company of his family.

Some tips on helping your child step out of their comfort zone.

I think, first and foremost, you must know your child very well and approach according to their personality. Crazy Horse is extremely stubborn. Like most wild horses, he doesn’t like to be pushed or having someone ride his ass about something. So, my approach to the situation has to be very delicate… I gently nudge him by inviting him along on all the rides, but accepting that he’s not ready to go yet. I take opportunities to inform him of what to expect… Always giving him a run down of our ride when we return. Telling him details about the trails. Even showing him a photo or video of the ride and pointing out the parts I think he would enjoy.

Next, include something you know they’ll enjoy. Even if they fear one activity will be a disappointment, they still have something else to look forward to that they know they’ll like. My choice was his favorite restaurant. It makes sense because I already know our biking is going to make us hungry and we haven’t been to his fave place in a while. So, I combined the two to provide something he could enjoy even if the mountain biking was a total failure.

They set the pace. Whatever you’re doing, with the cautious or fearful, they have to set the pace. You’re the sidekick. They’re the hero conquering the world. Move at their pace, even if it is excruciatingly slow. We need to be gentle, or that turtle we so desperately want to see is going to retreat back into their shell.

Provide opportunities to take breaks and do something they do enjoy. For example, about half way down the trail, we stopped to allow Crazy Horse to enjoy the honeysuckle on the side of the trail. The confidence that he feels doing something he enjoys will carry over to this challenging new activity. Even though it’s slow going, take breaks. This is hard work for someone who’s not only learning something new or trying a new experience but also breaking the fear barrier or busting out of a comfort zone. That takes the activity to an entirely new level of mental focus.

Has your child overcome a fear or broken out of their comfort zone, lately?

 

 

Explore Georgia’s State Parks and Zoo Atlanta for FREE!

Explore Georgia's State Parks & Zoo Atlanta for FREESummer travel is winding down and the locals are back in town. School is back in session keeping many of our Georgia families close to home for the duration of fall & winter. It’s time to discover Georgia and explore our home, sweet, home!

If you have a library card, for a public library in Georgia, you can check out more than just books and movies. Zoo Atlanta, Georgia State Parks and the Go Fish Education Center have all teamed up to offer Georgians free passes to enjoy the outdoors!

All you have to do is visit your local library (with your library card in good standing) and check out these free passes that can save you tons of money on some great local attractions. Checking out the Zoo Atlanta Family Pass can save you $75 while the State Parks & Go Fish passes will save you $30-$50.

Go to your library, reserve your dates and explore Georgia, y’all!

 

Do you want to learn? – Camp Cook Chronicles

J Bear on Pine MountainDo you want to learn? It won’t always be pretty. It may resemble destruction, from time to time. Learning often comes as challenges that we face while attempting to continue in our, “orderly fashion.” Overcoming and moving through these unexpected obstacles, we learn how to live life.

We recently packed 4 bikes on a car rack designed only to fit 3 of them, pitched a tent with two broken poles, saved a phone dropped in the Atlantic Ocean, and had a son overcome his fear of heights to join in several family activities – all on the same trip to St Augustine, FL.

These difficulties are a drop in the bucket of representing the learning process. We’re faced with a problem and devise a solution. We make attempts to apply the solution to a real-life scenario. If it doesn’t work, it’s back to the drawing board with new found knowledge from that experiment. We have all these pieces in front of us and click them together, like a puzzle, often forced to tear them apart and rebuild time and again.

Learning is this constant process of gathering puzzle pieces, fitting them together, pulling them apart and starting over until we have the big picture…. and, even then, when we discover a better piece - we’ll pull out the old one and replace it. It’s an ever-changing picture that never looks the same from one moment to the next.

So, do you want to learn? Be prepared to welcome the challenges and obstacles that pop up along the way – That’s where the magic happens.