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Go Play Outside!

Go Play Outside!

As she checks in guests, Mama Mea loves to tell folks that I was, “Potty-trained at Prince Gallitzin State Park in western PA.” It’s true. We started as tenters and graduated to buying a pop-up for the four of us around the time I turned 8, so when I recall the moments of my childhood, most of them are from camping. We never went to Disney or the beach, but that never bothered me. I loved camping. Meeting once-a-summer friends, making s’mores and mountain pies over an open fire, playing Yahtzee, fishing, swimming, reading, hiking in the woods, and riding my Schwinn over miles and miles of dirt and asphalt were all a part of this kid’s Heaven. As an adult, I’ve often wondered why I didn’t mind that we never took “fancy” vacations, and I think I’ve figured it out.

We had a strict rule back then: No electronics when we camped. Naturally, in the 1980’s, the closest thing to a smart phone was a cordless phone. The big, must-have gaming system, at least the one I remember, was Atari. Computers? Ha. Try lugging a monitor around. So, in all honesty, for me, “No electronics” really just meant, “No TV and no phone.” I balked and whined, as children do, at first, but I usually forgot about it within minutes of reaching our site.

And, there you have it. That simple “No electronics” rule forced me to go outside and play. And, boy, did I. I still have the scar from when a Big Wheel and I collided with a wooden site marker. I remember going to an outdoor Mass where deer approached the “altar.” I want to say that I dropped one of Stan’s favorite fishing rods in the lake, but you’ll have to ask him about that one. Meals were spent talking and laughing…with a few squabbles, too, but camping trips gave my whole family time to slow down, enjoy the outdoors, and spend “quality time” with each other.  (Again, this was before the idea of “quality time” was even a thing!)

My deepest hope is that you’ll do the same thing when you visit us here at Newberry, SC KOA. (Yes, electronics are allowed. Our Wi-Fi is fiberoptic!) But, do yourself a favor: Turn off the TV, silence your phone, and slow down. Listen to the wind in the trees. Feel the sunshine on your face. Go for a swim (when the pool is open). Read a book. Take a walk. Nap in a hammock. Watch the sun set. Build a campfire. Dine al fresco on burgers and hot dogs. Have a Game Night. Watch the moon rise. Try to count the stars.

Go Play Outside!

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