So Not a Camper

We’re celebrating the release of Shari’s Camp Club Girls release, McKenzie’s Oregon Operation included in the 3 in 1 volume, Operation: Excitement!

When I tell people I never went to church camp, they always seem shocked. I guess they assume this preacher’s wife grew up in church. But I didn’t start consistently attending until I was twelve. And our church was very small. Small as in twelve members who were all related to me on my mom’s side or my dad’s. There weren’t any kids my age. There were some younger cousins five and under, but I don’t remember camp ever being mentioned. If our church had sent kids to camp, I wouldn’t have gone. I’m not the rough it type.

Gold Hiking SandalsI’ve always said my idea of camping would be a motor home with electricity, great air conditioning, and plumbing. But I like Dawn’s idea better – a cabin with electricity, great air conditioning, and plumbing. With accommodations like that, I probably wouldn’t go outside. I don’t like bugs, heat, humidity, or critters such as ticks and snakes, and I’m extremely allergic to poison ivy. Camping in a cabin in the fall would be nice.

Last summer, I had my first and only brush with camping when my local writers group, ACFW AR had a retreat at a church camp. We slept in squeaky bunk beds with ladders in the middle of one side and the open side against the wall. We all chose the bottom bunks, but the top might have been better. Crawling out the hole beside the ladder was a bit like crawling out of the birth canal. The showers were and toilets were all in one long room in stalls with shower curtains.

I was completely unprepared and never dreamed we’d go hiking. I brought two pairs of wedge sandals–no tennis shoes. But never one to use my shoes as an excuse, I went on the prayer walk in my gold and rhinestone sandals. It turned out to be a mountain climbing expedition and my shoes became forever known as my hiking boots. Those are the intrepid hikers above: Debbie Sheetrum, Rosie Baldwin, Ann McCauley, and me.

This year, our writers group found a Bed & Breakfast used for Christian retreats. Talk about accommodations. Technically, it couldn’t beRustic Retreat called camping, but it was my idea of camping. Nice beds, rustic decor, and very comfy with two bathrooms. The mosquitoes were thick, so I didn’t step outside except when I arrived and when I left. I don’t like the smell of Off. They need to come up with a perfume scented version. I told you, I don’t rough it.

Comment or share your camp experience to enter the drawing for a copy of Operation: Excitement!

Operation Excitement!Join the Camp Club Girls on a series of clue-filled adventures and cheer them on as they crack the case in this entertaining 3-in-1 story collection. Whether the Camp Club Girls are vanquishing vermin in Vermont, searching for stolen sea lion pups on the Oregon Coast, or investigating peculiar elk stampedes in Estes Park, you’ll encounter six charming characters who combine their mystery-solving skills to save the day.


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Shannon Vannatter

Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/award winning author. Her rural Arkansas community boasts a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. She writes inspirational contemporary romance for Heartsong Presents. Learn more at and check out her real life romance blog.

22 thoughts on “So Not a Camper”

  1. LOL — I’m so with you on this whole camping thing, Shannon! Love your hiking boots and it looks like you got a pedicure before heading out on those trails. Glad to see you have your priorities straight!

  2. Only you could go camping in sandals and NOT ruin them before you return. I would have blisters, and the shoes would be caked in mud and thistles… Anywho, I have a great bug spray for you that is all natural, smells good and WORKS!!! It’s called Buggins. It might cost a bit more, but you don’t have to use gobs of it to work, so it does last a bit longer. Check it out here: There are several sites that carry it.

  3. I’m right with you, Shannon! No camping for me, or even RVing. Our timeshare has completely spoiled us–the place we stayed last week had a media room with a 96 inch screen & Bose speakers. Now that’s my kind of camping! (Oh, and your line about “…crawling out of the birth canal” is priceless! I did laugh out loud!)

    1. I saw those pictures of the your media room on Facebook. Yep, that’s my kind of camping. Did y’all watch an Marvel movies?

      Those bunk beds were definitely made for kids. It was really tempting to pull them away from the walls, so the open side was exposed. But there was a big sign on the wall that said, “Don’t move bunk beds!”

      1. Shannon – you know me too well. We watched The Avengers on our first night there. We’ve seen the movie so many times, our kids were quoting the entire show!

    2. Brenda, we share the same timeshare and I’m with you completely! I’m so spoiled by them.

    1. I’ve always pondered on what people do when they go camping, Sherri. I guess if you like to fish, it works. But fish are way to stinky for me, I’m definitely not touching a worm, and I’m afraid of fish hooks. So, I’m out.

  4. Shannon, what a funny visual – you hiking in those cute sandals! I’m with Dawn – how did you not ruin them?? I love any kind of writing retreat so I’d have been happy at the camp or the B&B (but if I had to choose, it would definitely be the B&B!).

  5. The first and last time we as a family went camping we took a tent. It was July, and we woke to six inches of snow! Later, after Dad was gone, Mom bought a fifth wheel RV and that was roughing it!

  6. I’m completely different! I love camping! Matter of fact one of my most favorite vacations was when my hubby pulled the camper up to a campsite and it rained the entire week. I could have cared less if it rained. I spent the whole week away from phones and work. All I did was sat around reading a good book, swimming, and cooking outside! Course I don’t like bugs but can tolerate them when I’m camping!

  7. Hmmm Earlene, the reading I could definitely do. And I love to swim, but I’m a chlorine kind of gal. I like seeing what’s in the water and knowing the chlorine killed things that shouldn’t be there. We live 10 miles from a lake that’s a hot tourist attraction. We Never Go. It’s crowded and I can’t see what’s down there in the water.

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