Most Memorial Day weekend’s have found my family at a campground in Lake George, NY in the Adirondacks. It’s a great start to summer! This year, though, we decided to do something a little different. We spent the weekend volunteering at a camp in the Adirondack’s, Memorial Day weekend work retreat. The camp is Word of Life. It’s located in Schroon Lake, NY, one of our favorite places in the Adirondacks! My husband, who is an electrician, had been asked to do some electrical work at a camp so the whole family came up to volunteer for the weekend.
Volunteering to help get the camp ready for the season, which begins at the end of June, allowed us to stay and eat for free, making it the cheapest Memorial Day weekend we have ever spent! We stayed in a two bedroom cabin and ate very well; too well! I’m pretty sure I gained 5 pounds as a result of eating three very full meals a day. Oh the hardships of volunteering! The weekend was perfect, sunny and warm, so a lot was able to be accomplished.
When the kids heard “camp” they couldn’t wait. We had some friends who were going up for the weekend as well and my kids were so excited to hang out with them and run around the camp. Then we threw in that the volunteering to work part applied to children as well, and they became skeptical. But they really did do a good job of helping out (some of my kids did a better job than others who will remain nameless!) and managed to come up with a balance between work and play that satisfied everyone. They spent a good amount of time picking up sticks (not their favorite activity), cleared a baseball field, and painted (which they loved!). My 3 year old came with me the first day to fold and package a thousand or so tee shirts. She did great, helping us out…for about a half hour. Then she entertained herself by coloring, playing games on my phone, sneaking outside, talking to everyone, throwing a Frisbee in the hallway, climbing in boxes, climbing up boxes, tipping over boxes, and spinning in a chair. Finally, an hour in she asked “mama, when is the work going to be over?”. Not too bad for a 3 year old. The rest of the weekend she spent playing on the play ground and in the dirt. Usually in the dirt!
The weekend was not all hard work. We had two bonfires, went swimming, and attended an amazing Memorial Day concert and picnic. On Sunday morning we took a boat out to an island on Schroon Lake. The island is the location of camp for teens throughout the summer. There we had a huge breakfast, attended a church service, and took a tour of the island. We made some great new friends along the way as well and everyone we met who worked at the camp greatly impressed us with their friendliness and servant attitudes.
All in all it was a great weekend. It was nice to spend the weekend helping rather than just on ourselves. I am especially glad that the kids were able to participate. It was a great opportunity for them to serve others. The change in the campground was neat to see. I spent most of the weekend clearing the grounds around the cottages that they rent during the season and planting flowers. It looked really nice at the end. Ready for campers!
You just can’t beat camp for kids. There’s a freedom that they have at a campground that, sadly, they do not experience anywhere else nowadays. They have the ability to run around playing where they want, exploring, riding bikes, playing in creeks and ponds; outside the whole time. Television and video games are not given a second thought! They come in each night head to toe dirty but it’s worth it. The dirt represents hard play with good friends!