They Call It Elk River, Elk River, Elk River, Elk...

For the past three years, Beatrix and I have attending "Horsing Around with Mom" at Girl Scouts Camp Elk River. "Horse camp" might be too strong a term for what is basically for one long weekend day (plus the night before and breakfast after) in which you have one hour of riding and one of grooming. But it's been a fun tradition at a time when I am all too aware that soon she likely won't want to go away to camp with me.

The first year we were together with the majority of Beatrix's Girl Scout troop in pretty luxe air-conditioned but larger dorms. It rained on campfire night so we had it inside; it was the end of summer so everyone was in a groove. Last year, a group of 8 of us (4 girls 4 moms) had our own private cabin about a 15-minute walk from the rest of the camp, near the horses. This year, we had even more rustic screen cabins and were 2 pairs to a cabin.

There's a lot to do besides horses — low ropes, swimming, canoeing (which we did not get to this year), tie-dying, s'mores, skits, archery, crafts, geocaching, and just watching nature. This year, we even got to release a monarch that Beatrix and I were given at the end of its caterpillar stage and that had hatched that day.

Through all of it there are the usual crazy "do as I do" songs, goofy jokes and skits, adorable counselors form all over the world, family style meals, and general "campy" atmosphere. It's at the same time cheesy and utterly adorable, and as much as a PITA as it can be, I'm still incredibly lucky to be able to share this with my kid.


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