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My family (me, hubby, and two boys: 3 1/2 and 1 1/2) is making our first trip to Lair of the Golden Bear in September, for a three-day weekend. We are joining two other families with kids around the same age (some a few years older) who also have never been before.
We're looking for advice on what to bring. Will a pack-and-play fit in the tent/cabin, or should we find something smaller? Is mosquito netting for over the beds a good idea (those canvas walls look pretty porous and I get eaten alive by mosquitos)? What should you never go to the Lair without?? Are we allowed to break out a bottle of wine at the campfire after the kids are in bed?
I'm also curious about what to expect in general, given our sons' ages. How have other 3-year-olds enjoyed the experience? Any advice for keeping a very active toddler entertained at the Lair?
There was some good advice in the archives from 2001, but I'd love any additional advice from people who have been more recently. Lair Newbie
In terms of your specific questions: 1. Yes a pack and play will fit (you can move one of the cots outside and use it as a couch, if need be).
2. No, you don't need mosquito netting over the beds; though it doesn't hurt to bring some spray. Mosquitos aren't usually a big deal (though some years are worse than others).
3. Absolutely you can bring wine, beer and other forms of adult beverages. Just can't have glass at the pool or alcohol in the dining hall.
4. You should definitely bring sheets for the beds. Nice to bring actual bedding; and make sure you have lots of blankets as it could be cold at night...though sleeping bags (WARM ones) are ok too (but you still need a bottom sheet to cover the mattress).
5. You should bring 2 coolers...one for cold things and one for dry (there are tons of squirrels who will eat your snacks if you aren't careful).
6. I would bring some ''Overnites'' or other thick diapers for night. For some reason my kids who never soak through diapers at home did up there...and would wake wet and COLD. No fun for anyone.
7. Definitely bring rain gear and WARM coats, even if there is no prediction for rain. The weather is unpredictable and usually wrong on Yahoo.
8. If you have a jogging stroller or other stroller with large wheels, it would be nice to have. Don't bother with one that has small wheels...it will just get stuck every where.
9. Don't worry too much about entertaining your toddler. There is plenty for them to entertain themselves with...they seem to really like dirt, rocks, the KK and just the basics that are there.
On the Alumni Assoc. website, there is a packing list, I think. Feel free to email me directly and I can help you with other stuff if you like (and send you my sister's packing list that she put together a couple of years ago. Nikki
Re: Family camp next year for 6 and 7 year olds?
Our family went to Lair/Bear camp this summer for the first time, and we are not UC folks. Pros: great food, very friendly staff, swimming pool, Pinecrest Lake 5 mins away for fishing, swimming, and kayaking, tennis courts,friendly campers, a few nights of funny entertainment, plenty of planned activities for the kids, no bugs. Honestly, I can't think of any solid cons. Anon
Is there anyone who has been to both the Lair and Feather River who can help me decide which camp to go to with my husband and 2 year old? Please compare location, facilities, the crowd, and most importantly, the kiddie corral. And if we go to the Lair, which camp to choose? As a kid I went with my friend's family to Camp Blue so I have a loyalty there, but is there really a difference? What about the new Camp Oski? Happy Camper
We enjoyed The LAIR, too - especially the kiddie pool - but the camp seems more appropriate for older kids and adults, not toddlers. I found one of the campfire skits really inappropriate for kids (Saturday Night Live style portrayal of a retarded girl in restraints ?!) and misogynistic commentary during a staff/campers inner tube water polo game with mostly male participants (woman camper misses a shot - loudspeaker commentary: ''That's why we don't let them play!'') The staffers at the kiddie corral didn't seem particularly good with kids - it was more like an assignment for them. My son wasn't ready to be left there alone. These things were relative small in the bigger picture - we did have a good time at the Lair and plan to return - but since you asked...
In summary, we found that FRC has family energy/orientation whereas The Lair has college student energy/orientation.
Also, FRC has a BATHTUB!
We are making our first trip to a Lair of the Bear Alumni camp this August, and wonder if anyone who has attended previously has advice on things you brought or wish you had brought that were helpful (going with two kids, ages 5 and 3). Thank you! Claire
As for what to bring (beyond the excellent list provided in your packet): the Lair is really dusty. A clean mat/rug or two so you have a place to stand while dressing or taking shoes off before bed is very helpful. Easy slip-on rinsable shoes/sandles/zories for dashes to the bathroom, and a washcloth or towel you don't mind getting dirty to wipe legs/feet off with before you get into bed. Water bottles. Extra towels (the ones the kids take to the pool tend to get pretty grubby!)
Every tent cabin we have had has two singles pushed together in a corner as a couples bed. This is not very comfortable with two sleeping bags zipped together! We bring twin bottom sheets, a king top sheet, and a comforter instead. Temperatures at night vary wildly from year to year (including below freezing and above 80), so again, sleeping inside a bag is not always the best option.
On Sunday morning there is no coffee until breakfast, which is something like 8:30 or 9:00 AM. This will seem like a long time if your three-year-old wakes you up at 6! I have taken a coffee maker in past years; don't know if I will this year.
Your favorite beverage for the pre-dinner hour. A cooler is optional; you might want to just bring a bucket and fill it up with ice. This year we are looking for some good compact folding chairs.
White t-shirts or other items to tie-dye.
Age-and size appropriate sports gear (e.g., small tennis rackets, tire inner tubes for water polo).
Ask for bed safety rails (if needed) at check-in. Make sure the adult beds have bed boards (if you even suspect you will want one) before you make the bed --you may need to flag down the staff who will be cruising around with a small pick-up truck carrying the bed rails and boards.
Also, a certain attitude of flexibility --every year I meet someone who didn't realize that this was a camp experience and were dismayed that the cabins are tents, you have to walk to the bathroom, there is little choice at meals, etc. Even (last year) the couple who complained that the tents didn't have level decks outside and that you couldn't park next to your tent.
Me, I am ecstatically grateful that my kids get to go camping, I can go hiking/swimming every day without arranging a babysitter, and I don't have to cook a thing...
See you at the Lair (Week 11), Chris
Most importantly, the staff is very good - high energy, fun, a great bunch of kids. We were there in June this year -- doubtless they will be more tired, but more experienced than they were with us. They do lots of evening entertainment, work like dogs and fight for the right to work there (how bad can it be?) We felt that our kids were safe at the Lair, and we had some nice times with just the two of us (can you imagine that!!!) The most important thing I can tell you from our experience is that our kids loved it, we loved it, and now we're stuck with the prospect of going back every year forever... so you're warned, that could happen to you, too. Heather
For a break on the drive up, Columbia is a state park that preserves the Gold Rush era. There's a blacksmith, short trail rides, a hotel, a few restaurants. a candle-making shop, etc. It's nice for kids and adults, and there's often wholesome food for sale on the street, like roasted corn on the cob.
The Oakdale Cheese Factory and Pure Joy (east of Oakdale) are also nice food/play stops. A family favorite is listening to "Charlotte's Web" read by the author (available on CD and tape) on the drive. Mary
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