Over the years of organizing The Camping Trip I have received many question. Some are unique, but others are pretty common. I’ll try to cover some of the most common questions. They are in no particular order because my brain just jumps from topic to topic to topic….
Is the trip strictly AA?
Nope, it is not. This is a clean and sober camping trip that has been going strong since 1986. While many of our campers do attend AA, there are also many friends who attend NA, MA, CA and other fellowships. The one thing we all have in common is we enjoy living clean and sober. …and we enjoy camping. OK, that’s two things. Well, there’s the fire thing too. We like fires. But I’ll stop there, unless you want to talk about smores.
Am I allowed to bring my family if they’re not in recovery?
We welcome you to bring along family and friends to enjoy camping in a clean and sober environment. I mean who doesn’t enjoy observing the alcoholic roaming about uncaged in a natural environment. The most important rule we have is there are no drugs or alcohol allowed in the woods. This also goes for medical marijuana. We aren’t doctors saying you should or should not have it, but we are looking to keep the woods as an environment free of drugs and alcohol.
Does the trip include firewood?
Yes, the cost of the trip includes firewood. We have several cords delivered throughout the course of the weekend. It is a supply, not an endless supply of firewood. The intent is for you to have a fire to cook and keep warm through the evening. If you are a pyromaniac and love to have raging fires all day and all night even when it is over 90 degrees out, in order to keep the cost of the trip down, we kindly ask you to buy some wood from the campground directly to subsidize your habit.
What do I need to bring?
I try to explain it this way. Imagine you are going camping by yourself for the weekend. Bring everything you would want to have an enjoyable trip. But then the most amazing thing happens. You show up at a campground and everybody there is in recovery! What are the odds? If that doesn’t help, I’ve also created an Amazon shopping list. I am not endorsing any of these products or saying that you have to get them through Amazon or anything. The intent is just to give you an idea of the kinds of things you might need. You will likely find better prices on a lot of the stuff off of Amazon.
Yes, there are meetings throughout the course of the weekend. Friday night we kick off the first meeting at 8:30pm. Then on Saturday and Sunday there are yet more meetings including morning meditations, Women’s Meeting, Men’s Meeting, Speaker Discussion and a Big Meeting every night.
Will there be water and electric on my site?
No, the area we have is considered “rustic camping” meaning before the advent of electric and plumbing… There is a spigot at the entrance to the woods to get water. This is great for cleaning, etc. Me personally, I always bring gallons of bottled water for drinking. As for electric, there is electric up at the bathrooms. This is a shared area, so I would not recommend just plugging in your phone to charge and walking away from it. Unfortunately not everyone in this world is honest.
Will I have my very own campsite?
TheCampingTrip is considered “group camping”, but not in the traditional Boy Scout sense of group camping if you know what I mean. We’re not camping in a field and eating communal meals. The campground gives us what they consider to be about 25-30 campsites. When we arrive, we just consider our area “the woods”. Open your mind and let the idea of site boundaries escape you. We have a lotof space and have fit over 240 people in the woods. Most trips are only in the neighborhood of 100-150 people. Basically, find a spot in the woods and set up. Generally speaking all of the spots where people set up have fire rings and tables. If not, feel free to get creative. I’m not saying you should go into full deforestation mode and start taking down trees. That one is a big NO NO! But if there’s a spot that you look at and say ‘hmm… why hasn’t anyone ever set up there?’ Go for it. So long as it’s on the campground’s property, it should be okay for you to set up. If you are in doubt, just ask someone on the committee. There are neighbors who own land next to the campground and we have to be considerate. When the trip begins filling up, if you are set up in a larger area, with room to spare, you may end up with neighbors. Don’t think of it as people encroaching on your space, think of them as new friends you have yet to meet, coming to stay for the weekend. Maybe they are good cooks!!! It’s been working this way since 1986, so we must be doing something right…
Can I come up early or stay after the trip is over?
Of course you can. Surprisingly, there are quite a few people who like to stretch their weekends. The only thing is you have to pay the campground directly for any nights before the trip starts and any nights after the trip ends. The first load of firewood doesn’t arrive until Friday afternoon, so you are on your own for wood until then.
Is there somewhere I can buy food?
Yes, there are multiple food stores to choose from. I’m adding a link to a snazzy Google Map of nearby grocery stores and other attractions that I just learned how to do.
Absolutely, your furry family is welcome to join you on the trip. The campground requires thatALL dogs remain on a leash throughout the weekend. This does not mean your dog roams freely around the campground with a leash attached. You must be holding said leash or have the dog tied to an immovable object. As a courtesy to all the other campers, please remember to clean up after you dog. It is summertime and many people enjoy walking around in open toe shoes…
I would like to reserve a campsite/Can you save me a site?
Unfortunately you can’t reserve a specific site with the committee for the trip or ask someone on the committee to hold a site for you. The sites are first come, first serve (yes, I used the word “sites” even though I told you not to). With that being said, some people do come up camping before the trip kicks off. They have a specific site they really like and it’s large enough to accommodate the big group of people they usually camp with. So, they’ll book that site for Wednesday/Thursday. There is nothing the committee can do about that. Anything that happens before the trip starts on Friday is business between a camper and the campground. The sites that are reserved on early days are just that. You can’t show up and take a site that is reserved before the trip starts. What I will say is that nobody is able to book a site for Friday. So, even if someone books a site for Thursday, it does not entitle them to divine right for the entire weekend. All campsites are booked for TheCampingTrip for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Are there cabin rentals?
Camp Charles Campground does offer cabin rentals as well as park model trailer rentals. These book quick for holiday weekends, so call sooner rather than later. They are NOT part of our trip. But if you do rent one, you are absolutely more than welcome to come join us in the woods for as much time as you would like. You can call them at 610-588-0533 to book one. Keep in mind, the cabins are up front in gen-pop and you have no control over who your neighbors might be (they might be heavy drinkers). Again, you are welcome to spend as much time in the woods as you want.
Will you provide me with a tent?
No. Which leads to the next question…
How far will I have to hike from my car to where I will be camping?
LOLOLOLOL!!!! This is NOT that kind of camping. We park our cars right by where we camp. With that being said, carpooling is always appreciated.
Can I bring my RV?
Yes and no. We do have some RVs that come in the back but they are usually on the smaller side (pop ups and some smaller travel trailers). There are a lot of trees and tight turns. If you have a larger RV or would like to enjoy the comforts of your RV with water and electric, book a site through the campground and just tell them you want to be close to TheCampingTrip.
What does the committee do?
The committee is made up of a handful of volunteers who organize the trip. Before the trip, we do things like maintain one of the most amazing websites on the internet and send out really funny emails notifying our friends of upcoming trips. We also make the flyers, pass them out at meetings, make/print the itineraries & car tags and some of us more sadistic committee members have their wife work her fingers to the bone making bracelets for months on end. 🙂 During the trip itself, we check people in at the table, collect your money, sign people up for commitments to host meetings/make coffee, arrange for firewood deliveries, make announcements during the meetings and then settle up on behalf of everyone at the end of the trip. We don’t make any money organizing The Camping Trip. We’re just campers who love the trip, love what it means to the campers who attend and see volunteering as a way to give back what was so freely given to us. As campers ourselves, we are actually giving up our own vacation time to make this trip happen.
How can I be of service?
Just kidding, this is not a frequently asked question. This is a shameless plug to stir on your emotions. Is it working? Good. We are always looking for volunteers to host meetings, make coffee or help out in other ways. Maybe it is something as simple as helping a newcomer set up a tent or a tarp. Maybe you’d like to step up your game and even ask about how you can join the committee?