Wednesday, May 23, 2012
How to Be a Wonderful Girl Camping Guest
It's full-swing Girl Camping season, at last, and we hope you have lots of invitations that'll give you places to go and people to see.
Whenever you are on someone's guest list, or are signed up for an event, there's some unspoken etiquette involved. If you keep the following in mind, you'll always shine and be thought of as a wonderful Girl Camping guest.
* Mind your RSVPs. Always confirm or cancel with your hostess or event chairman, not just the campground or RV park, just as soon as your plans are firm either way. Number of campsites is always finite, and if you don't let the hostess know you're not coming, she can't move anyone up who may be on a waiting list.
* Ask before bringing pets or extra guests. Even if your hostess loves pets, she may not be planning activities that are suitable for having pets at hand. Find out the situation before you bring Fido or Fluffy. And while you may have room for an extra guest in your trailer, RV, or tent, keep in mind that an unplanned-for guest can leave the hostess short of everything from food and party favors to seats at the table or in the boat. Best not to surprise her.
* Make any special needs known. Trust us, you won't be the only one who needs help with backing and parking her trailer, who won't be able to get in until after dark, or who has a dietary or health restriction. A good hostess expects these circumstances and will want to be as accommodating as she can. The earlier you can make such needs known, the more time your hostess will get to make plans for meeting them.
* Bring a hostess gift. Even if you're paying to attend a function and aren't being treated to a private weekend, someone went to a lot of effort to get it pulled together. Your token of appreciation doesn't need to be extravagant, but surely will be noted and appreciated. It can be anything from a jar of your homemade jam or salsa to a bottle of wine to a little something to fit her trailer theme. The gesture, not the gift itself, is the point.
* Pitch in, join in. You're at an event to relax and have fun (it's camping, after all!), and it's perfectly OK to sleep in and skip breakfast, to bow out from the group and get some alone time, or to forgo participating in a game or sport you don't enjoy. But it's not so OK to let everyone else wait on or pick up after you, or to spend so much time holed up behind a closed door that the rest of the party has to worry about you. Do your part, in both the work and the play. Also offer to give a hand with the final clean-up before you hook up and head home.
* Mind your safety. Nothing ruins a camping weekend faster than an accident in which someone gets hurt--especially when it might have been avoided. Avoid taking unnecessary risks, and keep the 'adult beverage' consumption in line. (One of the most common camping injuries involves stumbling or tripping from the doorway of one's own trailer.) Further word to the wise: Write your ICE info (who to call in case of emergency) on a card for the hostess/organizer to have at hand. Though you may have it stored in your cell phone, there's no guarantee that the phone will be charged or that it can be located during an actual emergency.
* Leave a thank-you note. E-mailed thanks are of course appreciated, but nothing takes the place of a handwritten note that the hostess can re-read and savor after all all her guests are gone and she finally can put her feet up. Your personal note will be that final touch of Girl Camping class that puts you at the top of next year's guest list.
[Click here to read 10 tips for the Girl Camping hostess.]