So my baby Mari survived her first sleepaway camp. More specifically, I survived Mari’s first sleepaway camp. She was gone for three… excruciatingly… looooong… days, hiking, repelling down mountains, shooting arrows, zip-lining, and sleeping in the woods with her two teachers, whom I like and trust (I guess, considering I’d only met them in person, like, twice), and her class. The only reason I didn’t do the total freakout is because she went with her Uncle James, bless his dear heart, who drove, and her cousin Miles, who loves and protects Mari like his very life depends on it. I was so very happy when she got home, but you know what made me even more happy? When she came back with a smile on her face, a giggle in her voice and incredible stories about how much fun she had hanging with new friends, watching the sunrise, celebrating the Earth (she’s quite the environmentalist!) and summonsing up the strength and courage to overcome her fear of heights to do the repelling and zip lining. I’m super proud of baby girl. And I know that with this camp trip, she took one more step not away from me, but toward her independence. 

To celebrate Mari’s big girl moves, I wanted to share with you some shots she took with her camera, which she hardly ever leaves home without. The girl is NICE with the Casio AND nice with the verbs (she’s the bold writer of the captions below each picture).  Check it… and if you’re so moved, show sweetness some love in the comments section. 

This is the curvy mountainous road up the huge hill to Camp Greenville.

My pretty nice cabin (for a camp); girls on the right, boys on the left.
My activities group walking to our next fun activity through the shortcut.
One of the weird, exotic leaves that we came across on our wilderness trek, called Sassafrass.
The sky through the trees on a sunny day.
Our view of the orangey sunrise at Pretty Place.
The rules at the awesome archery range that we went to for our activities
The two targets that all of us shot at with our bows and arrows.
My bow that I used to shoot.
The ropes course that we had to WALK on high up in the air.
Some of my group members jumping across the stream   towards the water fall.
A close up of the running water in the stream.
My hand in the water while trying to take a picture. The water was freezing cold.
Me having a blast in front of Rainbow Falls (the huge waterfall)
Visit the new home of Wordful Wednesdays, Parenting by Dummies,
 to see more Wordful Wednesday photos. 

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  1. that was wonderful! as a big outdoorsey camp/hike/bike/walk person I love that Mari is connecting with nature in these "wonder years". you will both cherish these memories for years to come…

  2. Great experience for her to have at this age! Kudos to Mama for letting her baby soar. Sometimes, we get so afraid of the what-ifs that we limit their soarability (new word!), knowwhatImean! And yes, Mari definitely NICE with the camera and the verbs! #Nosurprisethere

  3. Teresha@Marlie and Me

    She is quite the photojournalist!


    What beautiful pictures!!! You might want to consider sharing them on, a Web site dedicated to re-connecting people to the outdoors. I'm sure they'd love to see these knock-out photos. I LOVE LOVE LOVE camp and it looks like Mari LOVED camp too! You can't beat "learning by doing" with a sassafras stick! LOL
    Lots of moms NEVER let their children realize the beauty and glory of sleep-a-away camp, so major points go to Mom for understanding the value of camp and how it helps girls grow. I was tickled pink (okay, Brown) when I learned that Malia Obama went to summer camp this year, because it gave some parents of color the green light they needed to take the plunge.
    When she's old enough, Mom, consider I promise, she'll be in good hands. =)

  5. Dear Mari,
    I can see you are going to be just like your beautiful mama. I loved the pictures of the water, I live near many rivers, so your description of the cold water was just right. I also thought your picture of the orangey sunrise was awesome. I shared the pictues with my husband, and he thought they were great. I use to cry when my boys went to camp (and then to college)etc. but my husband always told me that it was the best thing for children, you have to let them go, to grow. Love, Barbara

  6. Wow Mari, those beautiful pics made me feel like I was there with a bird's eye view of the whole adventure. Great job on branching out and bring us along for the ride!

  7. GYF Executive Director

    Mari, I love how you captured these beautiful pictures of Mother Earth. I can tell by the captions that you thoroughly enjoyed your 3 day adventure away from home in the awesome outdoors. I can't wait to see what you grow up to be- my nature girl! It is because of you that I will work tirelessly to make sure grown-ups act more responsibly. You keep talking to your friends about the importance of environmental stewardship, and I will continue to share your passion with adults with the hope that they will change some of their habits and social behavior. By protecting the environment, we will make sure your children will be able to go on camping trips with their school and enjoy Mama Earth!

  8. ☼¨`*•.♥Rocío♥.•*¨`☼

    what a magnificent place! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Rue (Outdoor Afro)

    Haaaay! (I see you too Angelou!) Thanks for sending the story over to me via twitter — I love how you are encouraging your daughter to engage with natural spaces. It will inform her relationship to the outdoors for a lifetime. I totally see myself in her — at her age, and remember how sad I felt to come home because camp made me feel so ALIVE in a way unlike anywhere else.

    Keep up the great work all around in all you do!

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