Fireside Chat – Sindy & Mike from New York

'Moral of the Story...Plan Ahead & Be Prepared for Anything!'

Sindy grew up camping. Her favorite memories with her family were formed at Pot of Gold Campground in Upstate NY. As she grew up and now has a family of her own, camping is still a major part of her life. During all these years, Sindy would still camp at Pot of Gold until the owners decided to retire and close the family business. She would take her brood plus the other families in her camping tribe to other campgrounds in the Adirondacks, the Catskills and even North Carolina. While traveling around to various campgrounds is exciting, this extended family of 20 prefers to set up camp for the season at one place. After much visiting and shopping, the crew on this date just committed to the 2016 camping season at Indian Ridge Campground in Catskill, NY.

Q: When camping with four families, do you plan together or just show up and make it work?

Sindy: We definitely plan together when it comes to cooking and food. The weekend before we set out, the women all email each other. In this group email, everyone will list what they are planning on eating for the upcoming weekend. When we are there, we all cook together and share all the food.

Q: Do you have any menus that you would like to share?

Sindy: Sure! We have had fish bakes and chicken bakes. Oh, and we had so much fun with our pig roast!

Q: So, how does this work? Do you share costs?

Sindy: Here is what we did with the pig roast. This was our big end-of-season meal one year. All season, we would save up all our cans – all of the families. At the end of the season, we cashed them in and used this money for the pig. We were a little short so we just divided by 20 (because that is our total number of adults and kids) and figured we need to pitch in $5 each so we had enough for the pig and supplies. Then, each family made side dishes for the big event. We had so much food that we ended up inviting the entire campground! It was so much fun! We still talk about it to this day!

Q: Wow, sounds like a fun group! What else have you planned together? I imagine there is more collaboration then just meals.

Sindy: Oh yes! Entertainment!

Q: I bet you have some great memories to share…

Sindy: Yes. Especially the Scavenger Hunts (she says with a devilish smile!). We go online and find some lists that others have already created….We then pair up the kids – there is a match between an older child with a younger child. Prior to the trip, we do buy prizes, like ice cream coupons from the camp store. Sometimes they go fast but sometimes they take a few hours.

Q: Really? What was the Scavenger Hunt item that had the adults laughing the most, while watching the children?

Sindy: Four leaf clover! To see them all crawling around was hysterical and it took them FOREVER!!!

Sindy: We also have had some other great fun activities for the kids…and adults too…

Q: Great! Do tell!

Sindy: We have made a slip and slide. We just linked together plastic bags and hooked up our hoses to keep them wet.
Kickball. Adults vs. Kids was a blast!
Frisbee Football.
We make our own fun. Not all campgrounds have activities so we make them ourselves.
Polish Horse Shoes and BINGO too!

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to other campers?

Sindy: Be Prepared! If you have children, you need to plan your weekend thinking there is nothing there to do. Make your own fun and do your own things so everyone has a great time. Yes, make your own fun and memories. Not only have we had a blast with our own families but our activities bring others around as well. Another great thing about camping is the people you meet. Games and big meals bring people together!

Q: Tell me about your camper. This looks new.

Sindy: Yes, it’s a Connect Spree by KZ. We bought it from Diederich’s in West Coxsackie, NY. It is a small family owned business. We initially went to one of those huge dealerships but got such a run-around. At Diederich’s there was no hassles, no haggling. Seriously, we got the deal done in just 10 minutes! The price was great too – much better than the large volume dealer, who was overcharging and wasted hours of our life. It was a great buying experience at Diederich’s and we would send anyone there looking to purchase a camper.

Q: Great to know. This is beautiful, what were your bucket list items when purchasing a camper?

Sindy: Room to accommodate a large group. We were looking for a camper with great sleeping space so others could visit with us. Also, with many of us together, having an open floor plan was important in making our decision. Sometimes it rains, and we need space to be indoors if necessary. The third non-negotiable was having a master bedroom with privacy. So, you can see our room is on one end and the kids are on the other end.

Q: Now that you have used your camper, what features have been pleasant surprises?

Sindy: The outside kitchen! I like to get up early. Mike can sleep in and I can get our coffee going and start breakfast. The outside kitchen was a very pleasant surprise.

Q: If you could recommend one campground, which one would you tell everyone about?

Sindy: INDIAN RIDGE CAMPGROUND in CATSKILL, NY!!!
(NOTE: Without hesitation, Sindy goes to happily chat about her family’s favorite place…) We really enjoy ourselves here. This campground is very comfortable. You know, when we first drove into this place, we could really feel it. Can’t you? (I absolutely agree!) The people here are so nice. The owners, the campers, everyone is just great! Once you pull in, you see the store on your right. It is well stocked and have anything you may need and they do not price gouge you. That’s nice. (CLICK HERE for IRC’s Facebook Page)

Sindy: Every weekend, there are TONS of things to do – both for adults and for kids. I have to say again, the people here are great. The owners are very personable and fun to be around. They are here and truly enjoy what they do and make this place an extended family.

Q: Any final thoughts you would like to share? Looks like your breakfast is ready and the kids are hungry…

Sindy: For people thinking about camping or just starting out, be open minded. There are so many people who have misconceptions about what camping is nowadays. Like, you don’t shower, no toilets available, camping is dirty, can’t live without room service…if you think ANY of this, you need to come into reality. Honestly, if you have never experienced camping, you do not know what you are missing. This is not the 1940’s and you sleep in a canvas tent on the cold, hard ground. Seriously, there are so many people just missing out on such fun! Keep in mind, you can camp with electric and water. It is a house on wheels. Check this out (Sindy points to the table) I use real plates and we have a TV. Ok, that is rarely used; we are too busy having fun. But it’s a creature comfort that is nice to have. It is nice to have all the amenities from home and we can share time with our long-time friends and new friends we meet along the way. So, for the nay-say-ers, I say, it’s really not, “not camping.”