Poll: Camping Out With Dad

Camp In Belgium by Freek van den Bergh
Camp In Belgium, a photo by Freek van den Bergh on Flickr.

Last weekend, our ward celebrated the anniversary of the priesthood commemoration by sending all the fathers and sons on a camp-out. As a feminist couple, Nate and I are troubled by this–If the priesthood is available to all, shouldn’t all be invited to celebrate its restoration?**

Fortunately, this is the sixth year in a row that my husband has either chosen not to go or missed the announcement about it entirely. So we’ve got a whole year until we have to worry about this again.  I’m interested in what others do.  Is our ward an anomaly?

**Actually, I’m not a big camper. If this is our ward’s chosen method of celebrating the priesthood commemoration, then, I’m ok missing out, but I want my daughter to have the choice as to whether or not she wants to celebrate in this way.

EmilyCC lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her spouse and three children. She currently serves as a stake Just Serve specialists, and she recently returned to school to become a nurse. She is a former editor of Exponent II and a founding blogger at The Exponent.


  1. I know that our ward does fathers and sons campouts (this is Montana, after all, where male bonding in the wilderness is a required activity), but I honestly don’t have any idea if they are connected to priesthood commemoration, since I tend to tune out any announcement with the word “priesthood” in it. I do know that my son’s ward (which shares the building with ours) has a father and child campout, where the dads take the children camping and mom gets a break. My son, who’s daughter is an only child, loves this chance to have some one-on-one with his daughter, and she loves it too.

  2. We had it too, but it was more like a Father/Son campout that had 20 minutes at the bonfire dedicated to remembering the priesthood’s restoration. It’s a convenient message to attach to the campfire program to deepen the event’s credibility and a priesthood purpose. The neatest part is having all the dads and their boys out romping around with focused attention on each other.

  3. My ward has 2. One commemorates the priesthood restoration and is for teenage boys and their fathers/leaders only. The other one is held in June and is for all boys and their fathers. Basically, the entire male contingent of the ward over the age of 1 attends.

    My husband (a non-member) has gotten an invite to the June trip every year since my son was born. The two years previous, he never got one for him and my daughter. The funny thing is that my daughter would LOVE to go camping, but my son has no interest. I really wish it was a ward activity OR that they had a fathers/children camping trip OR a mothers/daughters or mothers/children camping trip.

    My husband has never gone. However, we are going to take a family camping trip with our home teachers and possibly one other ward family later this summer.

  4. Our ward does a Father Kid campout. I’ve lived here 13 years and I saw it change from a Father Son to a Father kid because of ONE family. The scoutmaster who had one little girls, then two, then three little girls. He took his first girl at age one. Our ward had other young families with an oldest girl. They soon took theirs. Eventually my husband had camping gear and took our oldest two kids (oldest is a girl). Ward boundary change. Original family moved (so did many other families). My husband took our oldest two to the Father Son campout (he never took toddlers) when oldest had hit puberty and came home saying it would need to be the last year (because of demographics and the lack of history for the older part of the ward with teen girls no older girls had gone). However, apparently it had seeped in enough that for the past 3 years they have called it exactly what it should be. Father KID campout (and they made it on mothers day weekend). My husband took all four of our kids for the first time this weekend. Lots of girls.
    So, just do it. Take the girls. It is probably emotionally easier to take them when they are toddlers and raise them that way. And probably easier of you are a scoutmaster who knows all the campers and all the dads and all the young men in the ward.

  5. These have been going on in most of my wards for years. They used to be called the father’s and son’s campout. They changed the title to Aaronic Priesthood commemorative campout to be more sensitive to young men who may not be able to attend with a father. Kind of like Enrichment turned into just additional RS meetings. I dont think it is so much about the priesthood, just a way for guys to bond. In our ward little dudes are invited as long as they are out of diapers.

  6. Our stake has a father/son campout, but some men bring small daughters as well. As it should be! I hope we see a more explicit trend toward inviting male and female children on these campouts. (As someone who is not very interested in camping, I’d be thrilled if my husband took all my children away for a night.) I’d also like to see women who want to go invited as well.

  7. Caroline – If adult women want to go camping too, it should be called a WARD campout. Our ward used to have them, but now they don’t. We seem happy with a Father Kid one.

  8. I think it’s just a good excuse for a ward father-son event – you really don’t need to read more into it than that. (The Relief Society holds anniversary celebrations just for the sisters even though the RS, too, blesses everyone not just women.)

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