I turned forty two weeks ago.
I thought I was cool with it, found out I wasn’t and then quickly got cool with it again.
Want to know how?
I threw a big Adventureparty.
Six months ago, I started planning. I knew I wanted a summer camp theme, I knew I wanted tube socks involved and I wanted food at the end.
I got what I wanted.
(Plus, I got to snuggle some babies.)
And with that, thirty people went on a walking clue-adventure through our small town.
As you can imagine, there was a lot of planning. I tried to ensure that each team would hit each destination at a different time.
There were seven stops. Five stops held clues that rotated for every team, and the last stop told the campers where the party was.
Each stop was within walking distance of the first destination and had an activity, a snack or a drink for the campers to enjoy.
We met at our house and had some drinks while all the guests arrived.
Everyone got a red bandanna because head bandannas for weeks are one of summer camp’s best things. Then, I sorted campers into cabins and distributed the first clues.
I told everyone not to hurry — mostly so I wouldn’t be at the last destination until the end of the party — but apparently it’s just human nature to compete. The teams took off lickity split.
I was particular about who went on each team, trying to make sure they’d all get along and that there were a good mix of energies.
My sister and I each manned separate arts and crafts stations. The rest of the stations were self-service. At my station, campers decided on a group theme to decorate nametag canteens. After they were done, I handed them their next clue.
At my sister’s station, campers made leather bracelets and ate summer sausage snacks.
We used the picnic table behind the library for that stop.
Clare was a tough cookie, and wouldn’t give up the clue until all the holes were filled.
Except for one time.
One of the clues sent you to the alley behind Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen where I leaned a board with team clues up against a wall. It was strange to “tresspass” in public space when I was setting up the clues – I wanted the campers to feel that illicit excitement of getting away with something.
Then, a clue led campers to the wine business center where each team received a special gift.
Tube socks. TEAM TUBE SOCKS!
After they collected their tube socks and clue, campers went to a shopping cart loading area for their next clue. I know.
After campers picked up that clue, they landed at another park, one right next to the police station. Everyone got a compass and their next clue.
That last clue led everyone to our town pay phone, where they found a flyer with a url leading all the campers to the final destination.
After about an hour, about 2 miles of walking and glitter glued fingers, everyone landed at a local park. I’d hired an awesome hot dog vendor to serve weenies to all my successful campers.
I made myself a s’mores cake because I’m grown up now.
It was a lot to do by myself, but I loved the whole darn thing.
I mean, just look at me.