I didn’t spend much time camping when I was young. I spent a lot of time at Girl’s Camp as an adult, most of it in Texas. But there was this one year when we we living in California and I got to go to camp. It was a big deal to go to camp as a leader. Everyone wanted to go to camp but they only allowed so many leaders to go and it cost me something like $110. I thought that it was outrageous to make leaders pay to go to camp.

After getting used to the snakes and bugs in Texas, camping in California had even bigger surprises— bobcats and bears in addition to the snakes and bugs. We were told we could not have any food in our camp area. In Texas we had “slabs.” A slab was a concrete foundation with wooden walls about 3 feet high on the sides and the rest of the wall was made out of screen. They each had two ceiling fans and we plugged in additional fans. There were rolled up tarps on each side in case of rain.

In California the a tarp was your shelter. We laid a tarp on the ground put our sleeping bag and all of our stuff on half of the tarp and then covered it by folding over the other half of the tarp. then we held it down with rocks. We slept under the stars!

After our first night we were all herded past a very damaged cooler before breakfast. Someone had left a cooler of food outside the mess hall the night before and a bear had destroyed it…our campsite was not that far from the mess hall. The second night I laid awake listening to a bear growl as he/she pounded on the dumpster up on the road. Yikes!!! The next day while we were cleaning up our camp area we found candy wrappers in the area next to ours. We really let those girls have it! We could have had the dumpster bears in our camp.