Happy List! – Vacation Wrap-up! “It’s Fun To Stay At The… “

This long weekend marked the first time I stepped away from my daily happy list. Well, I am back, and there is much to be celebrated!

The first and foremost happy thing deserves an entire Happy List of its own.  Drum roll…

YMCA of the Rockies!

I was never the summer camp type of kid. I loved the idea of it, but one week of church camp was overwhelming as a 9 year old. I was very homesick and not the most outgoing kid in the bunch. Now that I think about it, I’m still the same way!

Later in life, I became obsessed with reality shows that followed kids at summer camp (Disney’s Bug Juice, anyone?) and movies about summer camp (The Parent Trap, Little Darlings, and yes, even Friday the 13th). I longed to be the kid that would have enjoyed such an experience and even thought about a future as a summer camp counselor.

Of course, that was in my late teens…

As we drove up into The Rocky Mountain YMCA from our nearby resort, all of my idealistic summer camp dreams came rushing to the surface. Even though it was winter, I felt like we had driven onto a movie set. Little cabins as far as the eye could see, miniature golf, basketball, sport fields, the mess hall (!)… I couldn’t take it all in quick enough!

My sister purchased a day pass ($15) for my niece Alexa so that she could take a few fun classes. 1st up? Friendship bracelet making! We grew up making these by the dozen and wanted to pass on the fun. When we saw that she was the only participant, we assumed that they would cancel the class, but lo and behold, they ran it anyway (!). Alexa got one on one attention, was so attentive, patient and followed directions like a pro. I think the instructor really liked having her. 🙂

Next up was Animal Detectives. Here she learned all about the wildlife found in and around the park area. She even got to wear a real elk antler on her head! The 5 kids in that class all studied animal tracks and even got to make a stamped wearable headband craft to take home. The instructor also took them outside to look at the elk wandering the grounds, the bear scratches in the tree bark and let them pick out a pinecone.

My favorite place was easily The Mootz Family Art and Design Center, which was essentially an arts and crafts cabin on STEROIDS. That place was seriously AMAZING. They had beads for days! I could spend a whole camp session in that building alone. It would be like living in Michaels or JoAnn. Dream come true!

The next day, we returned to the YMCA to take a trail ride on horseback. My sister was a show jumper in her teens, and most of the friends I grew up with owned horses, so I rode a lot in my tween years. Alexa has longed to go horseback riding since we got to Colorado. She was so thrilled to finally get on a horse; you could never tell it was her first time. She did so well! Quite the natural.

Vacation like a kid, and keep thinking of the things that make YOU smile! 🙂

~Jen

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~ by sillyauntjen on March 28, 2011.

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