First-Time Campers!


I’ve always had an excitement for the idea of camping … well, the thought of it, at least. And up until recently, it was just a thought … something I wanted to do with my family but never had. When I was a little girl, I was in Girl Scouts, and I remember I had the opportunity to go camping with my Mommy! I was SO excited as a little girl for this new adventure we would be going on with my troop! My Mom even got me a sleeping bag, and I was just over the moon excited for camping!!! Well, the night before we were supposed to go … my Mom got really sick, and I ended up not being able to go. 

… I was devastated …

My Mom was so sad that she couldn’t take her little girl camping, and so was I. Missing out on something like this stuck with me … I always had an urge to go camping … to try it out, and recently, that little girl who is a woman now (me) had her wish come true! 

Our neighbors are seasoned campers … they always would talk about how they were going on a camping trip, and the little girl in me was always like …hey … that sounds like SO much fun …

One day! My neighbor (who is also an amazing friend!) simply said … hey! You should come with us! All you need is a tent! She started sending me ones that she saw on Amazon … I started pitching the idea to my husband (who isn’t the most outdoorsy person … I mean, none of our family really is … so … why would he be any different?).

Long story short- we ended up finding the perfect 10-12 person tent on Facebook Marketplace and! With the guidance of our neighbors, we got together and booked the perfect first camping trip to Lucky Clover in Steelville, MO! This place had it all! And as first-time campers … we felt pretty spoiled and comfortable despite our preconceived notions! 

I mean … out in the middle of nowhere … We thought there would be porta potties (if that! HA!), bugs and mosquitoes everywhere (ughhh!!), and nothing to do! Lucky Clover offered so many things on it’s property, including: 

  • Bathrooms (with token shower stalls)
  • Convenience store (with ice cream and supplies you may have forgotten; one of my favorite memories from this trip was all the kids sitting together after swimming all day, eating their ice cream as a cool treat to cool them down on a hot summer day!) 
  • A pool (nice and clean, whaaat?!) 
  • A playground (a playground is THE BEST entertainment for your kids while camping! Ours happened to be directly across from our campsite.) 
  • A lake
  • A river with a sandy beach

When we arrived the first afternoon, this was in June, so it was still light outside to put up our tent! 

(Tip I learned from our friends: you want a pop-up tent … not one that you have to put together! Makes set up for camping SO much easier and convenient!). It takes at the most! 10-15 minutes to set up the tent fully, which is crazy fast!).

Let me tell you … all of our family/friends looked at us like we were crazy when we told them that we were going to be adventuring out to nature and going camping for the first time ever! And honestly, I kept thinking to myself … are we going to regret this? I was FOR SURE we would have crazy stories to tell … heck! We may not even make it through the first night (luckily, Lucky Clover was about an hour away from STL, so this could be an option if! it all went south!) I had nightmares about ticks … I even bought a tick kit off of Amazon to keep in my purse JUST IN CASE! 

What ended up happening was …

WE HAD FUN … and created new memories that will last a lifetime!!! …


From the Friday night we got to the campsite to the Sunday morning we left … WE HAD FUN! We sat around our first campfire … ate s’mores … and foil dinners! (Here’s a great recipe for a foil dinner: Easy Tin Foil Sausage Veggie Dinner) all together with our sons and our neighbors and their kids, and! We also had our other great friends there who were seasoned campers, as well! It truly helped that our kids had some of their closest friends with them to show them the ropes of camping! I never thought you would see our family in a river! EVER! But guess what?! WE DID!!! There were so many firsts that were had! My oldest son even swam in a lake for the first time with his best friend … I didn’t know he was that brave! But, he was … because he had his friends there and they introduced that to him!

… and luckily, we didn’t get any ticks … barely saw any bugs … and didn’t get eaten by mosquitos!!!! 

Recharging and disconnecting from the world and just being with your family (and friends, sometimes!) is something we needed and … we got it with camping! 

Our family enjoyed camping SO MUCH, that we just completed our second camping trip this past weekend! It was another successful trip! This time we ventured to Meramac Caverns and it was beautiful. More memories were created … with our sweet family. We even went with our neighbors, again …

So! Before you shoot down the idea of doing something you have never done before … think about it! It may turn out to be special … so special that you make it a family tradition! This is how we feel about camping! We are campers now and this will be a tradition for our family! 

… the little girl in me is so happy! And! I know my Mom is looking down and is saying “well done, my girl, WEll done …!”

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Kelly W.
Kelly was born in Los Angeles, CA, and raised in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (GO BA!) where she graduated as a Tiger. Soon thereafter, she moved to Columbia, MO, and attended The University of Missouri-Columbia (a Tiger again!). She graduated in 2009 with her degree in Actuarial Science with an emphasis in Finance. While at Mizzou, she met her husband. Once they graduated, they moved back to St. Louis. They got married in St. Lucia in 2014 in front of all of their closest friends and family after being together for 5 years! A couple of years later (2! To be exact!) they had their oldest son! During the pandemic they had their youngest son and feel their beautiful family is complete! Being a Mom is the most challenging and rewarding job! Kelly truly LOVES and adores her boys! They are blessings and her heart! After working super hard at her job for the past nine years (almost a decade whoohooo!), she attained her dream role! She is a Data Engineer specializing in Data Integration. What is that? …maybe one day she will talk about it! She loves her job- it’s super challenging!! She is not the biggest fan of being on-call once a month, but! Hey! Sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do! As mentioned earlier, Kelly loves St. Louis … she lives in Ballwin and adores her neighbors and neighborhood. Her family is the most important thing to her. They love doing everything together! They love taking their boys to parks, water parks (especially with summer! Whooo! )… pretty much any place that they can get all of that energy out!! They have energy for days … weeks … heck! She just needs 5% of it and she’d be set for the rest of her life! She and her husband also find it important to have their alone time- they love dates! Thanks to her super supportive and loving MIL, they get to go on dates from time to time! They love trying new spots to eat (Brass Rail is a new favorite with the best martinis!), going to the movies and traveling! Kelly’s looking forward to sharing her thoughts on a variety of topics and she is hoping you will be open to listening and maybe discussing!