My husband and I grew up with very different attitudes toward vacation.
My family: load up at 5 am, drive to an amusement park or resort, and experience ALL THE THINGS.
His family: head for the mountains and make no plans other than to avoid the crowds and rest.
So it was no surprise that this was something we had to figure out once we were married. The first few years of our marriage, we took turns planning our vacations. Me dragging him to the big city where there was non-stop activity and him dragging me to the mountains where I brought an extra bag full of stuff to save me from boredom.
And then kids came. . . . We couldn’t wait to explore with them! So we planned our first family vacation and proceeded to load 1/2 our home into the back of our already packed SUV. Because what if we needed the pack ’n play or we had to have the stroller or they didn’t have towels? Ugh. Pulling back into our driveway after our “family vacation,” we decided to classify it as more of a “trip.”
If you’re a parent and you’ve traveled with kids, you know what I’m talking about.
A few years ago, some friends from church told us about their plans to go to “family camp.” My first thought? Um, NOPE. I’ve done the mountains. Quit trying to make camping my thing, you guys.
But then they told us a little bit more about it, and I’m glad we listened. Because we didn’t know we needed it so badly.
Yes, “camp” is in the name, and it’s located on a “campground,” but there is no roughing it in sight . . . unless you’re into that sort of thing. (They do have RV hookups!) Glorieta is located a quick 30 minutes from Santa Fe, and its expansive campus is nestled comfortably within the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. At night, the sky lights up with stars and silence. During the day, the cool mountains create the perfect environment to explore.
At Glorieta’s Family Camp, there is mixture of planned and non-planned activities. Nothing is mandatory. Everything caters to the wide array of families that attend. There are newborns to grandparents, and there is something for everyone. All the meals are taken care of. The food is great, and they even host a fancier date night for the parents away from the main Family Camp area. During these adults-only times, we’ve never had to worry about our kids. Just as much thoughtful planning has gone into their activity for the evening, and my kids love the counselors.
The only “real” decisions you have to make are which activities you’d like to attend.
There are mountain scooters, archery, mini golf, R.C. cars (my son’s favorite), and an amazing zip line course, just to name a few. If we wanted to attend an activity that was too much for our 1 1/2 year old daughter, we had the option of taking her to childcare. And by “childcare,” I mean a fun activity area staffed with loving and fun counselors eager to please.
At whatever point you finish with your activities, your room is close and ready to host an afternoon nap. (I may have taken a few!) The families at Family Camp stay in the hotel-style lodge at Glorieta. Meaning, I didn’t have to bring one towel, they provided the pack ’n play, and they even let us borrow top-of-the-line strollers for the week. Did I mention that in the evenings, after you’ve put the kids to bed, the counselors act as hall monitors and give the parents precious time to wander, drink coffee, and talk to other adults?!? It’s amazing.
The very best part about camp is the intangible.
Every morning for a week, we get to worship with our kids. We focus on what scripture tells us about parenting, marriage, and being followers of Jesus. Our kids see that our priority is not to entertain them on another trip. It is to invest in them on an eternal level. Last year, we left with a family mission statement that has kept us in check over and over. That one week of focus on the spiritual health of our family at camp guides us the rest of the year. We couldn’t be more thankful.