Tuesday, March 6, 2012
10 Tips for the Girl Camping Hostess
Are you ready to share your yen for camping by staging a gathering for fellow Girl Campers? If so, we salute you--because someone has to be the hostess if there are going to be camping parties for others to enjoy!
These are some tips you might find helpful as you make your mostest-hostess plans:
1. Let your guests know what to expect/what to bring. Examples: Are pets OK? Are meals provided, or are you planning for potluck contributions? Are water and power available, or is this a dry-camping event? Will your guests need any special clothing or gear--swimsuit, party outfit, fishing gear, etc.? Should they bring firewood? Will they need money for meals out, special entertainment, campsite fees, shopping?
2. Provide a GPS address in addition to written directions. It's now very common for drivers to use a GPS rather than written directions, and we understand why, especially when towing a trailer. It's not always easy to turn a trailer around if you take a wrong turn, nor to read from a sheet of paper while doing the driving. You will have happier guests if they don't have to 'undo' being lost in the effort of trying to find you.
3. Post signage at the last couple of intersections. Put yourself in a first-timer's shoes--even with a GPS, it's always nice to know that you're going the right way as you get close to an event site.
4. Be ready to help with parking. Many gals are rookies at parking a trailer, and even the more experienced ones will appreciate having a spotter as they do their maneuvering into a parking spot.
5. Provide a nametag for every guest. These can be as simple or as creatively elaborate as you wish. They're important, in any case, because they help to break the social ice and make it easy for everyone to learn and remember names. (Of course, if you're only inviting those who know each other already, this step isn't so important.)
6. Create a central gathering spot and mark it. Everyone likes to know where they can go for questions, meals, departures for activities, and so forth. We love using a large stand-up chalkboard for this purpose--messages and memos can easily be changed--but do whatever works for you.
7. Make the first night's meal flexible and easy. Chances are your guests will be trickling in over a span of time (some will arrive late if they've had to work that day), and that they'll also be consumed by getting set up once they do arrive. A wienie roast is a good way to go, with or without some crockpot dishes that don't have to be served at a specific time. If the first night will be an 'on your own' meal night, be sure to let everyone know that ahead of time.
8. Set a time for trailer-touring. Every Girl Camper we've ever met just loves to show off her trailer and all its goodies to her fellow campers (if not to the general public). But let's face it--when you're camping in a trailer, it's not always as tidy as you'd like, and it takes a little time to glam it back up. So it's just nice for your guests to know when they can expect to have camera-toting company!
9. Take good care of your newgals. Think back on the first time you took your camping rig somewhere public, and/or the first time you camped with women you didn't know. Were you uncertain? Shy? Scared you wouldn't fit in? Worried that you didn't have everything 'perfect'? Afraid to ask any questions? This will help you remember to pay extra attention to those who are new and to keep them under that welcoming wing.
10. Prepare for the unexpected. It's always a good idea to keep a first-aid kit handy, and to keep an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number for every guest. Emergency-room address/directions can come in handy, too. As careful as we all try to be, accidents and injuries can and do sometimes happen, and as hostess, you'll be the ipso-facto person in charge.
Now--add in your own special planning, get those invites out, and get ready for an awesome time!