Mudder Earth- Family Getaway at Camp Brorein
Picture this, you are getting ready the day before a well-deserved weekend getaway with your wife and two boys. So your wife gives you the check list to go over everything for the boys, sun screen lotion, sun glasses, cargo shorts, swim trunks, extra t-shirts, flip flops and bug spray— the last item reminds you that it is not a cruise instead you are going on an outdoor scout camping retreat. It is a ‘bring your own room vacation’ —a tent for four, sleeping bags and blow up bed, OK, lets do it for the kids, so off to Mudder Earth outdoor weekend camping we went with serious trepidation.
Mudder Earth is a weekend scout camping getaway with their family at Camp Brorein in Tampa hosted by the Gulf Ridge Council. The council encompasses eight counties in west Florida (Citrus, Hernando, Sumter, Pasco, Hillsborough, Polk, Hardee and Highlands). Serving more than 20,000 youth in 134 Cub Scout packs, 149 Boy Scout and Varsity Scout troops.
Our journey started Friday April 25th, 2014 around 7 p.m. heading towards Tampa. The ride should take us about a 1 hour and some to get to Camp Brorein off Boy Scout Road, but with our family it was more like a National Lampoon’s Vacation — in short we got lost, but got it right before lights out and even got to make a few S’mores……all part of the adventure.
Saturday morning came too early at first light and the loud wake up roar of our Pack 106 leader. Thankfully we were treated to morning grubs by the scout masters— scrambled eggs, pancakes and orange juice. Somehow my wife found hot coffee …guess she shamefully followed her nose to the Fernandez family tent.
Jessica Marchese was Mother Earth for the weekend, who teaches the Scouts how to care for nature and the value of plants.
Our Mudder Earth escapades started right after flag ceremony. Boys of all ages lined up with their Pack leaders to take on the day’s activities. As the publisher for Art & Gator Travel + Lifestyle Magazine (A&G), I had to slip away to interview Mudder Earth camp director, Bethann Harmon (BH), who was patient enough to answer questions about our weekend adventure:
A&G – What is Mudder Earth?
BH – Mudder Earth originated from Earth Day that it’s celebrated every year during Earth Month in April.
A&G – Why the theme Mudder Earth?
BH – It was the best theme to attract young boys – it also teach the boys about plants and value of keeping the environment clean. “Leave No Trace Behind”
A&G – How big is the campsite?
BH – Situated on more than 80 acres of land, surrounded by two lakes and blessed by the shade of many Live Oak trees, Camp Brorein provides the ideal camping experience for all. Great walking and bike trails. Gulf Ridge Council is doing its part to purchasing, preserve and protect open land for Scouts and their family to enjoy.
A&G – How many staff/team are here to assist campers today?
BH – We have a team of seventy (70) dedicated helpers
A&G – How many Scout Packs are here for Mudder Earth?
BH – There are 18 Scout Packs, that’s about 286 scouts not counting their family
A&G – What would you like the community to know about camping?
BH – Camping is a way for family to spend more time together and getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy the great outdoors. The outdoors has so many free things to explore and enjoy. The hope is that each scout and their family will share their experience with friends—protecting and preserving the outdoors for the next generation.
Pack Round Up
After my count off to see how many packs were in attendance, I meet up with Pack 2693 who’s Cub Scout leader Joe Tuccillo started out in 1953 and is now passing on leadership to Steve Taylor on left and Brian Shatney on right. I must say that scouting follows the principle of being your brothers keeper and transforming boys into accountable men.
Go Camping—unplug and connect with nature and family!
Looking over the weekend I can truly say thank you to my cub scout son Pack 106—if it wasn’t part of his required activity to earn his belt loop maybe we would have never considered going camping. But we are hooked, it was a blast!
Here are some useful links for camping generally and tips on where to camp in Florida: