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Missouri Camper Award

As winter starts to settle into our Midwest home we received great news this week that reminds us of all of our summer fun.  Hopefully you read about our goal of earning a Missouri Camper Award as I shared our Tour of Missouri travels this past summer.   In order to obtain the award, campers have to visit five different state parks in a year. 

I learned about the award doing one of the things that I do best. Reading. My friend Angie and I were sitting together at a picnic table on one of our early camping trips to a state park. I was reading the brochure the camp host handed us at check-in and found a tiny paragraph about earning the camper award. It looked simple, camp in five different state parks in one year and earn a patch. Our geek-ness took over and Angie and I decided we wanted the award! 

The Missouri Camper Award was actually started in 1971 with only 13 recipients. Each year the program has grown to reach nearly 600 recipients in 2011. 

This was our first year to try and obtain the award. Upon checking into our first state park this year, we asked the host for the form and we were on our way. We had a great time exploring new state parks as well as visiting some old favorites. In 2014 we completed nine camping trips; but only five were qualifying trips for the Camper Award. 

In April we visited: Watkins Mill State Park 
In May we visited: Wallace State Park
In June we visited: Table Rock State Park
In August we visited: Bennett Springs State Park
Over Labor Day we visited: Long Branch State Park

Besides visiting the different campgrounds you also have to have a staff from that park certify you were there. I almost lost the certificate a few times but I manged to keep track of it all summer long.  After our Labor Day trip, I mailed our completed certificate off to The Department of Natural Resources and waited about ten weeks before a package arrived at our house. The package held our certificates as well as our commemorative Camper Award patches and year bars!


Also included in our Camper Award package was new information for me. If we participate for multiple years we are eligible for the Distinguished Camper Award. The Distinguished Camper Award i awarded for every five year of participating in the program so you can become a "Distinguished Missouri Camper!"  I just found a news article about a family who has earned the Camper Award every year for 30 consecutive years!

We maybe settling in to hibernate this winter cold right now but we are planning what Missouri State Parks we will be visiting in 2015. Weston Bend, Lewis and Clark, Crowder, Big Lake, Bennett Springs, Watkins, Wallace, Pershing are all fairly close considerations. As well as Elephant Rock, Johnson Shut-Ins, or Meramec are being considered for our big family vacation this year. Do you have any advice?

My geek-ness is screaming once again!


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