I always wanted to be in Girl Scouts. It was a chance to spend time outside and hang out around a camp fire. Looking back I was unofficially in girl scouts my whole life.

My family camped. A lot. At first we tented it. All five of us in the same A-frame. Then we rocked a sweet truck camper, the kind that sits in the bed of a pick-up. Eventually my brother, sister, and I out grew the tiny little bed that converted to the table. So we went back to tents, where we spent pretty much every weekend while we lived at home. Mom and dad upgraded to a nicer camper, but camping wasn't the same without a tent and sleeping bag.

Memorial Day always marked the official start of our camping season. When I was little our entire family started camping together that weekend. I'm talking grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was basically a family reunion, and by far the best camping weekend of the year because we had cousins to play with.

The tradition stuck. The location has occasionally changed to accomodate other events - like graduations and the occasional wedding. But we are always together. I think at one point the aunts and uncles wanted to let it die. But my generation refused. We're a really close family and as cousins we've all grown up looking forward to the annual Memorial Day camp out. So we decided to get together anyway, and our parents didn't really argue.

This year was no different. We tried to figure out how long we've been doing it, and the closest we could come up with is 21 or 22 years. There was a great deal of discussion to get that close. This year the agenda was pretty much the same - canoeing, food, volleyball, food, conversation, s'mores, campfires, and possibly a little singing. It was. a great. weekend.

I'll leave you with a photo I snapped of our campfire, enhanced by christmas lights. The copper wire throws some really amazing colors in a fire. Try it some time... just make sure you're done roasting marshmallows first.