2023 Campout: Fun, Food and Festivities

AYC campout founders Al and Sandy Lehman were among the first to arrive at the Dairy Springs group site on Friday, August 11. With 2023 marking the 40th year since the first AYC Kinnikinick Lake Campout, one can only imagine the multitude of memories these two hold. And the family album will now include at least one page of pictures boasting three generations in attendance. This event is definitely a family affair!

Three generations of camping for the Lehman family.
(L to R) Al Jr., Samantha, Rachel, Sandy, and Al Sr.

What a turnout! Fifty, yes 50, members and their families (plus four-legged) attended this year’s event, mostly campers; a few day trippers. Friday included the typical routine of finding a spot, unloading, and setting up camp. Once settled, everyone enjoyed dinner, drinks and a few hours of socializing before lights out.

Saturday morning greeted us with a bit of cloud cover and temps in the mid-50s, but we quickly warmed our bodies with cocktails at the elaborate Bloody Mary Bar put on by Jo and Mike Grijalva. All the fixings were laid out: strips of bacon, olives, pickles, celery, and more! In addition, homemade scones were shared for an additional carb load. A proper breakfast of champions!

A Bloody Mary bar makes for some very happy campers. Cheers!

The forecast of scattered showers held out for the morning, and then the storm hit, causing everyone to run for shelter as rain plummeted from the sky. There was hail. There was thunder. There was mud. Small streams carved their way around tables, chairs, coolers, tents, and trailers. Plans were abandoned for water activities at Lake Mary, and although the world around us was wet, spirits were not dampened.

As day-trippers started to arrive, the rain receded, and the sun poked out. The Sangria and Salsa Contest went into full swing, with some thinking “salsa” meant a dance-off. Nope, not that kind of salsa! But with lively salsa-type music playing during the tasting, a few dancers could not abstain. All part of the fun!

With six containers of deliciousness and several bags of chips, it was all hands in for dipping and salsa tasting. Without official judges identified, plan B was implemented – group consensus. With a show of hands, Jo Grijalva won for the yummiest salsa, and Fay Powell secured the votes for her fruit-filled jars of Sangria.

Will Nowak gets the prize for winning the knot-tying contest.

Throughout the day, Al Lehman hosted a knot-tying competition at his trailer. Prize winner Will Nowak tied the four knots in the fastest time. He was speedy, with his hands a mere blur!

The group picnic included a variety of appetizers, with the hot ones being dispensed by their chefs. It felt sort of high-class being served while standing around in the dirt. The crowd filled up with burgers, brats, steaks, and homemade dishes like mac-n-cheese, clam chowder, potato salad, pea salad, bread pudding, choc chip cookies and more.

The kiddos enjoyed rock painting, a scavenger hunt, slack line, and many other games supplied by this year’s organizer Joanne Aspinall. The parents and kids certainly appreciated all the activities she provided. It was also evident that being in nature and unplugged created plenty of time for creativity and play. Unknown to us, one of the items on the scavenger hunt list was to tell Deb or Emory Heisler a joke. The joke I heard went something like this, “Where do naughty rainbows go? To prism!” Now we all know. Everyone was in on the fun, even the children!

Speaking of children, I’m confident those in attendance will hold their AYC campout memories for a lifetime. Thank you, Joanne, for organizing our event again this year.

Al and Sandy Lehman hold the big AYC Burgee for a photo with the kids.

Saturday evening ended with a starry night, good conversation around a welcoming fire, gooey S’mores, and countless glow sticks for the kids.

While snuggling into my sleeping bag and drifting toward sleep, the music to “Taps” played in my head with the words, “Day is done, gone the sun…All is well…”
And indeed, it was!

Photos: Joanne Aspinall and Deb Heisler. You can view and download more photos from the Dairy Spring Campout folder. Want to upload a few of your best shots from the weekend? Upload here but remember our photo-sharing criteria found on this page.

“On behalf of the Sutton Family (Peter, Melissa, Landen & Zander) – THANK YOU!  We had a fabulous time getting to know everyone, playing games, and spending “quality family time” hunkered down in our tent for a few hours during the torrential rain and moments of hail – LOL!

Great job organizing everything, Joanne!  We especially loved the touches you added, specifically for the kids. Amazing! We will definitely be back next year – rain, lightning, thunder, hail, or shine!” 

– Melissa Sutton