Out of the Comfort Zone

This past weekend, I went to a summer camp in the middle of Ohio with nearly 100 strangers. For anyone who knows me, you’ll know this is just about the opposite of anything I’d normally do. I love air conditioning, nice clothes, steady internet service, and am an introvert. That being said, one of my biggest goals is to have more experiences in life. What better way than to push myself out of my comfort zone?

One of my favorite bloggers, Brittany, had asked her readers, “Wouldn’t it be great to re-experience all the camp moments you loved as a kid, now that you’re legally allowed to drink and and light things on fire?”

I didn’t really have any kid camp moments besides fat camp (which was quite posh), but I figured this might be interesting. It was only 2 hours from home, and my friend Retta was also going. With that, my trip to Camp Throwback was planned.


We arrived and after checking in and getting our cabin assignment (holla cabin 6!), I saw where home would be for the next 3 nights:

Cabin 6Oh lordy, help me.

I had 2 big fears with going to camp: 1) My ankle not being able to handle all the walking; 2) Bunk beds. More specifically, a top bunk. I could already imagine it: getting stuck with a top bunk and then falling in the middle of the night on top of the camper below me.

I nearly panicked when we walked into the cabin and saw that all of the 5 bottom bunks were claimed. I didn’t want to make a bad impression by asking a stranger to move to a top bunk. Thankfully, new bunkmate Carrie agreed to move to the top. Panic attack averted.

Then I realized how small the bunks were. Phew, claustrophobia!


I told Retta that I wasn’t sure I could make it through 3 nights! Alcohol and awesome people helped.

archeryThe closest I’ll get to being Katniss. For 5 seconds, I was upset at my stomach in this photo. Then I realized I was about to censor myself by not sharing and I got over it. Life is too short.

90s Party Outfit

There was a 90’s party one night. I wanted to pair this outfit with jorts and combat boots, but running shorts and Teva’s had to do. I printed out the NKOTB and Backstreet Boys photos on shipping labels to stick to my shirt.


We had arts and crafts where I didn’t even realize I was creating something on top of a schmear of bird poo.


There were bonfires (thanks, Duraflame!)

shirt decorating

We decorated field day shirts with puffy paint

cabin 6

Field day – go cabin 6! We made it to the semifinals of the dodgeball tournament (no thanks to me) and Theresa’s watermelon eating skills won that competition. Retta made a valiant watermelon eating effort as well.


I hung out in the grass with daddy longlegs, ants, and other creepy crawlies. And great people.

IMG_20140529_215353It’s hard to take a selfie in the dark. But thanks Retta for being my comfort zone!



It was a lot of walking, but my ankle held up. It started swelling pretty bad on the drive home and it’s still pretty bad, but it did way better than I thought it would. Progress.

Throughout this experience I was reminded that you can’t get more out of life if you don’t push yourself. I really enjoyed myself and hope to go back for 2015. Thanks to Brittany for putting this event on, and for the awesome people I met. I have great memories and lots of bug bites to remind me of you.

Would you ever go camping like this?

  • Brittany Gibbons

    First off, I have an admission. I was SO intimidated to meet you. Like, seriously. If I seemed weird, know it was entirely because you made me nervous because I am actually a REALLY big fan. I mean, we were in a magazine together!

    Okay, moving on, I am so proud of you. You were just IN IT. Everything you did you rocked it, and it made me so incredibly happy. I do hope you come back next year, because I will sideline my nerves and hope to do SO much more beside you. You’re such an amazing woman, I am so glad I got to meet you!

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com/ Emily Sandford

      What?! That’s bonkers. I was SO intimidated to meet YOU! I was trying not to go fangirl, so I laid low and out of your way – haha. We’ll fix this next year. I really did have an awesome time and am so thankful to you for doing this.

  • Alissa Conaty

    I love that you printed out the images for your 90’s night shirt. Such a better idea than my Goodwill dress in a sticky, non-breathable fabric. I am probably going to steal your idea for next year. Because despite our cabin’s mouse, and the weird possum skull outside, I’m psyched to go again next year!

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com/ Emily Sandford

      They didn’t last the whole night because I soaked them with sweat from my 90s gyrations, LOL. But they did the trick. I don’t know how you all handled the mouse. The possum skull was epic.

      • Alissa Conaty

        Heh, the mouse was a rather polite roommate. He didn’t crawl into our luggage or sleeping bags, didn’t poop anywhere that we could see. Truth be told…I’ve had worse roommates.

  • Guest

    I’m so glad we did this!

  • retta74

    You totally rocked camp. I’m so glad we did this!!

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com/ Emily Sandford

      I would never have done this if you didn’t go. So happy we’re friends! Thanks for putting up with my bubble blowing phase and slow walking.

      • retta74

        Me too!! All phases of Emily were/are awesome :) “Do you want some tape gum? It fell on the ground.”

  • http://www.therangerproject.com Jeremy Logsdon

    I think camping sucks, but I’m not gonna lie – this looks awesome! When I think camping, I think hot and sweaty in an uncomfortable tent. This looked pretty fun.

  • bryn4fun

    I get to go to a weekend camp with Rainbow Girls at the end of the month! All the fun, no alcohol, but there is a cappuccino machine in the mess hall :) I love me some arts and crafts, swimming, hiking, and getting to act like a teenager again by soaking up the girls’ energy. Can’t wait!

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com/ Emily Sandford

      oh my gosh, coffee was the one thing I missed. We had some coffee, but I needed industrial-strength shots of espresso to recover some morning.

  • jen

    i went to sleep away camp when i was eight and i hated it.this looks like a blast.

  • SassySarah

    Omg you look totally adorable in your 90s outfit- and the super high pony tail totally nails it! I want to go back to summer camp!!;)

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com/ Emily Sandford

      Thanks! It was so fun.

  • Marcie Timmerman

    The archery pick just highlighted for me how much weight you’ve actually lost. So glad you posted it! Glad to see you had a great time, and expanded your comfort zone!

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com/ Emily Sandford

      Thanks Marcie! Hoping my ankle will be all good to go to do the NAMIWalks 5K.

  • Nkritkausky

    You go girl! Your blog is a great inspiration! We need to get out of comfort zone more often.

  • http://irresistibleicing.com/ irresistibleicing

    That looks like a fun time!

  • http://lessofless.blog.com/ Less

    That looks like a lot of fun. I never really went to camp as a kid… That’s not true, I did a few weekend trips with brownies and girl guides.

  • MaryKC

    My Girl Scout camp is having a 75th anniversary reunion in August, and I can’t wait to spend the weekend there! I plan to enjoy all the things I loved about camp with some of my best camp friends, and it will probably be the highlight of my summer. I might have to check out Camp Throwback next time I need a fix though!

  • Lydia

    I wanna go next year!

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com/ Emily Sandford

      Lydia – registration opens up in the next couple of weeks I think and it will sell out quickly – I’ll shoot you a message when I see it.

  • http://www.thecurvyword.com/ Beverly

    How fun!!!! But that cabin straight up looks like it came from Camp Crystal Lake (Friday the 13th) haha!

  • Gryph

    I would love to do something like this! It is exactly what I would like to do with my summer vacation, actually! Maybe next time!

  • http://twitter.com/#!/pattyaizaga Patty

    Looks like a very cool adventure. I would never last a night! :) Never went camping as a kid, can’t see myself doing it as an adult. :)