For as long as I can remember, my family has camped on the May long weekend.
Even last year, when my mom said it was too cold, and my dad complained that the air mattress was too hard on his back, we went out.
It’s just something we do. My sister and I love to roast marshmallows and go for long hikes. We like to sing songs around the fire (she’s not very good, but she tries) and of course, we love those Sunday morning pancakes Mom makes over the camp stove.
But we’ve decided to forego camping this year. Do you know why?
Well, for starters, there’s still a fire ban in most of Alberta because of the extremely dry conditions that have sparked tragic fires in various parts of the province. It’s heartbreaking to see the devastation of these fires—and to know how many people have lost their homes and livelihoods. Ever think how many refrigerators and freezers will need to be replaced because of the food that was left behind?
What’s worse is that SO MANY people have ignored the fire bans, causing even more chaos. As though the firefighters don’t have enough to worry about!
I suppose we COULD camp without a fire—I mean, it’s certainly hot enough outside and there are many things to do without roasting marshmallows. But, this year, we’ve made a family decision to volunteer our time instead.
We’ve already donated to The Red Cross, and my mom has worked a couple of shifts at the Food Bank, but this weekend, my sister and I are going to find ways WE can help. Like taking back our bottles and cans to give more money to The Red Cross. Or maybe reading or playing board games with some of the kids who are staying at the evacuation centers.
Sure, I’ll miss camping but I bet if I ask nicely, Mom will fire up that camp stove and make us some pancakes Sunday morning—the perfect fuel for whatever volunteering opportunities the day brings.
What are you doing this May long weekend? If your tradition is to go camping, please be safe—and obey the fire bans! Sometimes it’s okay to break tradition.
— Chase Superman Duffy