Hello, fellow campers (or potential campers)!
There is only about one month until Oklahoma Camp Meeting begins at Wewoka Woods Adventist Center on July 7, and I invite you to join me there. If you’ve never attended, or never camped there, here are my tent camping tips!
First, I must let you know that I come to you from an increasingly rare point of view, having never been anything but a tent camper at Wewoka. And since I never camp in a tent anywhere else, I definitely have an interesting take on the whole process!
My husband and I have a number of camp-meeting-only items stored in our backyard sheds, and we pull them out once a year for the Big Week! The process starts about a week before the meetings begin, and we spend another week or so after the event getting everything put back where it belongs.
I will say that I probably have more of the conveniences of home in that tent than one would think. This requires some serious preparation! I have a small tabletop refrigerator, a microwave, two oscillating fans, and an ice chest full of ice (for about 3 minutes until it starts melting). I bring a set of plastic shelves for my non-perishable food items and other necessities.
Most of the food I bring doesn't require refrigeration, but there are those more delicate items, like fruit, yogurt, shelf-stable milk once it's opened, etc. These items will vary according to your dietary needs, of course. I also bring goodies for my friends (and once people catch on, I make new friends quite regularly!). We're talking home-baked pumpkin bread and cookies, and of course there is the stash of chocolate that must never run low!
I have an easily-assembled clothes rack where I hang my clothes for the week. I've discovered that if I assemble my outfits for each day and hang them up as soon as we get the tent set up, it's easy to grab and go in the morning when I make that exciting trek to the showers in the auditorium! I also have a hanging shoe rack where I keep my assorted footwear.
For swimming and bathing, I bring towels and washcloths and various other items in flat plastic tubs that slide easily under the two cots we have in the tent. I actually put each day's towel and washcloth in a plastic bag (Walmart type) and hang it on the hanger with the next day’s outfit. Then in the morning I can just grab and go.
For those with more delicate sensibilities, please just hear me out here. I learned from long and bitter experience than one shouldn't consider oneself "too good" to bring a porta-potty. I've never been a fan of the Johnny-on-the-Spots at camp meeting, and they can be few and far between. The auditorium is far enough away that an emergency trek in the middle of the night leads to a half hour or more of ceiling-staring before sleep resumes. I have a little plastic potty that I bring. It's very simple and very effective. Line it with a trash bag, add a little kitty litter, and voila! One has a lovely in-tent restroom. Believe me—it's worth it!
I'm sure there are items I'm forgetting, but those are some of the main necessities. Of course, there are other things one should try to bring that are a little less concrete. It's certainly good to bring your Bible, perhaps your Sabbath school quarterly, and other reading material if you are a Major Bibliophile like I am. Bring your Kindle if you must. *Sigh*
Bring a good attitude and flexibility. Things will go wrong, there will be inconveniences, and you will realize that things would have been done much more brilliantly (at least in your head!) had you been in charge. But if you resolve to look on the bright side, you will find that bright side, and your stay will be much more enjoyable.
Bring a love of Jesus and your fellow man. Resolve to make new friends and try to reconnect with old ones. Some of my dearest friends have been made at camp meeting, a little foretaste of heaven here on earth!
If for some reason you can't come and stay all week, make every effort to come on weekends. It's worth your while. And if there's any way that you can sneak away for at least one day during the week, you will get a better idea of what it's like for us old-timers, and you may find yourself setting aside time to come on down and spend a week with us!
I hope to see you there!
by :: Robin Sagel