Camping!!

September 14th, 2010 | Posted by john in At the Walk

There haven’t been a lot, but I have met enough people that stay in a hotel instead of camp to know that it happens.  And I understand, there is a certain allure to sleeping in a hotel room instead of an air mattress or camp bed.  I can see where it would be appealing to be able to go to a restaurant and order what you want instead of eating what’s being served at 3-Day camp (though I will say the food is pretty good).  I can also understand how someone might want to see their family and friends at night.  Despite all of those reasons, I still think that staying at camp overnight is as much a part of the 3-Day as walking those 60 miles and raising that $2300.  For those of you that are set on staying somewhere other than camp, consider this my attempt at persuading you to at least give camp a try.  For everyone else, consider this a preview of some of the awesome stuff that you can get to do at the 3-Day camp!  I went back and forth on how to organize it and finally settled on breaking it out by section of camp.  So here is your preview of what’s in store for you at camp.


Living Quarters

For those of you that are on the fence about staying in camp, please stick it through until at least the next section.  I will freely admit that this section of camp is probably the least compelling reason to stay, but it is still an integral part, so I have to talk about it!

You see how I put living quarters up there like it was more than just a tent?  Well, truthfully there is more to what I am calling living quarters than just a tent.  When I talk about living quarters, I really think of three things and they’re not all in one spot, thankfully.  I think about showers, tents and port-o-potties.

Just last weekend I was walking with some people from Chi Chi Mamas DFW, a 3-Day team in Fort Worth, and was asked if the showers are actually hot.  Apparently they asked someone on staff and wanted to get a second opinion.  I can confirm that the showers are hot and definitely welcome after a long day walking!  In fact, for many the showers will be the most appealing part of the living quarters section.

Next comes the tents, a giant sea of pink tents.  The rows are all marked well, but it is still a good thing to somehow mark your tent so that you can remember where it is.  That’s where the decorating contest comes in.  Those walkers that have SO much room left in their 35 lb duffel bag will pack decorations for their tent.  There are two reasons for this.  First it makes it easy to find your tent if you have a miniature boxing ring in front of your tent.  Second you can win a legacy pin for having the best decorated tent!  I will say, that I really appreciated my neighbors for the second year that I walked that put something on top of their tent that made it look like a breast with a pierced nipple.  That pierced nipple was like a beacon to get back to the tent!  The really good thing about staying in the tents is that you don’t have to worry about wake-up call or an alarm clock because camp will be like your alarm clock for you.  SOMEONE in camp will set their alarm and that will be just like having your own alarm that you can hear but don’t have to worry about turning off!

Last in the living quarters section of camp is the port-o-potties.  I realize that this isn’t the most glamorous thing to talk about, but you should be getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (if you’re not, shame on you!  You’re not drinking enough!) so it’s a good thing to get acquainted with where the port-o-potties are.  To be honest, when I wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom, I try to gauge by the light how close it is to when people will be getting up.  Then I try and determine if I can just wait until people are up or if I should go right then, because who really wants to get up in the middle of the night to traipse their way to a port-o-potty?  Invariably the answer is always that I have to go to the bathroom at that moment and waiting will just not do.


Dining

So you’re probably looking at that last section and thinking that I have done a bang-up job of selling you on why you shouldn’t go to camp.  Peeing is a real bathroom is pretty compelling to a lot of people.  But don’t fret!  The next couple of sections are bound to have something that will pique your interest!

After you’re done walking 20 miles, you’ll need to eat a good dinner and re-fuel.  You will get plenty of food for dinner and over the two nights and you’ll be able to eat steak, chicken, apple pie and much more.  But food is not all that you will get for dinner.  You’ll also get a show!

Jenne Fromm is your host and I have to say that she does a marvelous job.  Yes, it is scripted and I have seen the script evolve over the years, but Jenne rolls with what happens up on stage and when the 3-Day participants on stage with her throw a curve ball and the result is usually a lot of laughs.  But Jenne is not everything for the dinner show.  They also have the “Are You Cure-ious” game show where three walkers or crew members try to be the first to answer questions about breast cancer facts and it is highly entertaining.

Then there are the people that will get on stage and talk about why they walk and I have to say that I haven’t made it through a 3-Day where I haven’t cried  at this part of dinner.  Hearing the stories of strength, struggle, sadness and hope is one of those things that you walk in the 3-Day for.  It also gives you so many more reasons to walk.


3-Day Main Street

Once you have had your fill of food and dinner entertainment, you should head on over to the 3-Day Main Street. No, I assure you that they didn’t lay pavement down in the middle of the field that you’re camping in, but they have set up tents with all sorts of people available to help you out.

Let’s start with the Energizer® tent.  I start here primarily because if you’re walking or crewing, you should definitely go visit the Keep Going® Blogger that they have in there.  If you’re participating in the Dallas walk, this would be me and I would more than welcome the company!  But wait, that’s not all!  In addition to that, the lovely people at Energizer® will be providing chair massages!  Everyone needs a massage after a long day walking, so you should definitely drop by and take them up on it!  Hold on, there’s more!  They also have Internet access so that you can communicate with loved ones and a phone charging station where they will loan you a portable power pack to get your phone charged up and ready to go for the next day!

While the Energizer® tent is pretty awesome for what they provide, there are also other things to see on the 3-Day Main street.  Let’s go to the 3-Day post office next.  If you read the my earlier post, Mail Call, then it will be no surprise to know that you can get mail at the 3-Day.  This is where you go to pick it up, so remember to tell all your loved ones that you would love to hear from them while you are on the walk!

AT&T is the next stop and you’ve probably realized by now that I am doing these in no particular order, but in the order that they come to mind.  At the AT&T tent, you will also have the opportunity to charge your phone while you wait and you can pick up the silly bands that you missed getting while you were out on route.  In addition to that, there will be AT&T people on site to ask any questions you might have about some of the AT&T phones or apps.  In addition, AT&T does some giveaways and this is where you can sign up for them or get information about their photo mosaic project (which is pretty cool once it’s done!)

Next up is Shop3Day.com and their tent full of 3-Day for the Cure gear.  If there were things that you saw on the online 3-Day store that you would have preferred to touch and feel before purchasing, this is your chance.  So make sure that you bring along some method of payment to make sure that you can buy what you need!  It would be terrible if you wanted something and couldn’t pay for it!

The Bank of America tent has oh so heavenly foot massages.  You may not think that your feet would want a foot massage after a day or two of walking, but I assure you if you wait too long then the line will get too long and you will miss out entirely, line up for this one early!

The next on 3-Day Main street that I’m remembering is the New Balance tent.  In here, you can turn in your entries for a drawing for a new pair of New Balance shoes!  They also have a big screen tv, New Balance products and on Saturday night they have Bingo.  It’s great fun for everyone!  And if I’m not mistaken, if you show up here sporting your New Balance gear you will get a gift just for arriving.  This may have just been on previous years, but I’m pretty sure they are doing it this year too!

The last thing I will talk about for the 3-Day Main Street is the 3-Day cafe.  This is where they have a camp services table, it’s also where you collect your legacy pins for the 3-Day.  They also have a tv and comfortable chairs that are a lot better to sit in than folding chairs or the ground.  Lauri Yanis and her husband Matt, both of whom have been on this site before, told me that they basically hang out in the 3-Day Cafe until they get kicked out, so there’s one more recommendation for it!


<I>The Final Ingredient</I>

As you can see, camp is pretty awesome.  It’s less like camping out and more like one big slumber party with prizes and entertainment.  But there is one thing that is involved in all of these things that hasn’t been mentioned yet.  The one thing that you will find here that you won’t find in any hotel room that you might to choose to stay in is the phenomenal walkers.  Yes, it might not be the most comfortable thing to sleep on the ground and go to the bathroom in a port-o-potty but the 3-Day walkers and crew are some of the most amazing people that you will ever meet and that makes up for a lot of discomfort while you’re sleeping.

It’s one huge community at 3-Day camp and part of the reason is that people choose to camp.  Sure they could have chosen to stay at home in a comfortable bed, but they chose to stay at camp with you, because you’re awesome too.  I hope that you will consider joining everyone at camp, it really is great fun and if you haven’t stayed there before you should really try it at least once!


 

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5 Responses

  • Great post John! And for those walkers who really really can’t make the “Living Quarters” work for them (maybe for health reasons), I still advocate LOUDLY to stay in camp until at least 8 and be a part of camp life. Camp really is a big part of the whole community. I can’t imagine my 3Day without it.

  • You missed one VERY important part of camp that no hotel can ever provide: The Remembrance Tents. This is a cannot miss part of the camp experience. I make a point to go to the Remembrance Tents on Saturday night every year and I always find myself lost in the photos, stories and notes that are shared there. It’s a quiet, contemplative time that always reminds me that while I may have my personal reasons for being there, in the end, we are really all there for the same reason. It’s incredibly moving for me and is a critical part of the camp experience.

    Plus, the crew works INCREDIBLY hard to set up and maintain a clean, efficient, fun camp site for us. Don’t let their efforts go to waste by not staying!

    ~ Kristen

    • john says:

      I was even thinking about the remembrance tent as I was writing and REALLY meant to put it in but forgot. Thanks for catching that Kristen, very important part of camp!

  • JenH says:

    Thank you for that inside look at camp. This is my first time doing the 3-Day and I’ve wondered what it would it be like. Great post!

    J

  • Debbie Childers says:

    You made some very good points, John! For the first time in 4 years, I will not be camping. However, I do want to experience the camp life, especially Saturday evening. So I hope to be able to hang out there for a couple of hours, take in the show, before heading out to where we’re staying.

    I do agree that everyone needs to at least try it once! I always liked to complain about it in years past, but it really isn’t all that bad. I am looking forward to the extra room in my duffle bag though since I don’t have to pack a sleeping bag. :-)