Lisa A Stavig hosts the 1st annual Survivor Stavig. Think back to your childhood and conjure up those long forgotten memories of sleeping in your back yard with all your buddies. Did you think of tents, swing sets, hot dog eating contests, eating chocolate covered bugs? Wait, chocolate covered bugs? Over this past weekend, my husband and I hosted a 5 family backyard camping trip to our backyard. There were about 12 kids, both boys and girls since we have both boys and girls. All the adults were there. So my husband and I turned it into “Survivor:Stavig” after the popular television show.
It was a super fun event for both the adults and the children. Everyone started arriving Saturday late afternoon. Each family set up a tent, except for our friends lucky enough to have a pop-up camping trailer. They popped it in our driveway. We ended up with 4 tent spaced around our back yard. We have a fairly large backyard. So it worked well.
We then began several different challenges for all who wanted to participate. Each family decorated their tent/trailer. The odvious winners were our friends with the pirate theme. They had a skeleton and flags and the whole big bang thing. It was fun to see how creative each family could be with their tents.
Then as dinner started we had a hotdog eating contest for the kids. We used little smokies hotdogs and lined up the kids in lawn chairs on the grass. Then I gave them each a hand full of hotdogs and said “GO”. They could only eat one at a time and had to chew them up well. Since the kids are still pretty little, each child got a prize for participating.
We had the shoe kick challenge next. We again lined up all the kids and had them loosen their tennis shoes or get their flip-flops ready. When an adult said “Go”, they had to kick their shoe as far as possible in front of them. The child who kicked it the farthest, got a prize first and then all the other kids got one. Of course a child kicked their shoe way up into our tall Spruce trees. The moms got a kick out of watching all the dads get a tall ladder and try to climb it and retrieve the shoe. My son kicked it the farthest behind him. It was a lot of fun for the kids.
The kids really enjoyed the evening of running from tent to tent. The adults got some good quality adult time in and everyone got the benefit of camping while still having the comforts of home. I have an outdoor brick fireplace and so we were able to have a fire and roast marshmallows. In Colorado, the evenings are still a little cool. All the kids enjoyed getting sticky and gooey with melted chocolate and marshmallows. The smell of the fire really added to the whole ambiance of feeling like you were actually camping in the mountains. It was very cool.
Then we used my daughters little “Storyteller Theater” movie projector that plays these small 10 minute movies (we have 6 of the movies) and showed them on the side of our house after dark. I had popped popcorn. So each kid got a red and white striped bag of popcorn to watch these little movies with. They all cuddled into their sleeping bags or kid lawn chairs. It was a good way to get them to wind down. Next some of the parents got them to tell ghost stories. They weren’t too scary because some of the kids are still little. But it was lots of fun for the adults. Then everyone brushed teeth and climbed into their tents for bed.
Sunday morning we had a big pancake breakfast. Since it was father’s day, a few of the moms helped the kids decorate crowns for their dads. Then after breakfast we did the next challenge. It was for dads only. We hosted the 1st annual father’s day Tech Smash. We got a bunch of old printers and scanners, piled them up, used a sledge hammer and let the dads go nuts. We, of course, had them use safety goggles and kept the kids inside behind the front windows. It was a very fun, kind of therapeutic event.
The final challenge before check out time at 11 am was the bug eating contest. I went to The Denver Butterfly Pavilion and found chocolate covered ants, crickets and worms. I got the kids gummy tarantulas and worms. We all lined up and fed the kids the gummy treats. Then the adults had the option to try chocolate covered insects. Most everyone, including a few of the older boys, ate the insects. The chocolate covered ants actually tasted like chocolate covered raisins!
All in all, the weekend was a lot of fun. As parents, we watched our kids run from tent to tent, eat sticky gooey desserts and get filthy in the process. It was almost like you could see them forming memories in their minds. My biggest hope is that this becomes an annual event, only next year we make it to the mountains. Because that is what summer and childhood is all about.