I was thinking about camping yesterday, most likely brought about by a highly enjoyable YouTube video found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rps1zdppqBA, which you may want to watch before continuing.
After listening to the stories my brothers bring home from scout camp every year, I would say the video is pretty accurate, barring, of course, the game of patty cake in the tent. Also, I am pretty sure the process of becoming an Eagle Scout involves more than just catching a trout. But I may be wrong.
I've heard some great stories through the years about scout camp, including our bishop arriving at the campsite just in time to see a young man come streaking in. And by streaking I am not referring to how fast he was going. There was also the incident in which a certain older scout tied a certain deacon to the rafters by his feet, wrapped him in toilet paper, and left him hanging there for a scout leader to find. Names have been removed to protect the innocent (also, close relatives).
Of course, I went camping every year too, with the other young women at church. Here, however, I use "camping" in a much looser sense of the word. I attended three different girls camps in my years as a young woman, with varying degrees of primitivity (cabin, teepee, tarp over wood), but I would still say each was markedly different from the scout camp experience.
For one, girls do not believe their sleeping bags should ever touch the ground, even if the ground is a wooden floor. There must be an air matress or cot in between the sleeper and said ground. This negates the definition of camping that my family uses. When you have six people, three of them gigantic teenage boys, still using a five person tent, there is not a lot of room for air matresses. Or breathing.
Secondly, girls bring suitcases to camp. Some suitcases are small, others would garner all sorts of fees at the airport, but even the smallest suitcases contain much more clothing than any scouter would bring. After years of observing brothers and their friends leave for scout camp I have come to the conclusion that there are two different types of scouts. Half of them bring a backpack with the bare essentials, namely beef jerky and candy. The other half have mothers who forced them to cram everything they own into a pack the size of a well fed deacon. When they return home a week later everything not edible is in the exact same place as their mother packed it originally.
Girls, on the other hand, use everything they bring. The fact that 90% of girls still wear makeup at girls camp, when the only guys around are the occasional married camp dad, proves the point that girls dress up to impress other girls, not guys.
Girls also shower. It doesn't matter if the water makes the dust stick better and the passion fruit body wash attracts more insects, they will still make a daily trek to "freshen up." My brothers, on the other hand, didn't realize until the end of the week one yearthat their showers were broken. I doubt some scouts even realized there were showers.
There is also the food. Boy scouts can subsist on a steady diet of burnt hot dogs, but most girls have taste buds. Most girls also know how to cook. I say most here, because I have to exclude my teepee-mates from my third year, who mistook lemon pudding powder for flour and rolled the chicken in it. Let me tell you now: Lemon pudding does not belong in chicken casserole. Ever.
There are also pranks. Both camps have them, although the male versions often seem a bit harsh for young women. You will never come across a Beehive tied to the ceiling by her feet. One year, however, a group of girls took another girl's bag of makeup and hair products and ran it up the flag pole. The victim had a fit, the pranksters stepped forward to be condemned by the rest of the group as having gone "too far," and there were tearful apologies all around.
Some day I will tackle the differences between Elders Quorums and the Relief Society...