The first group to use our group site this year was a father-son campout. About eighty dads and sons of all ages converged within a very short time on our pavilion, parking lot, and tent area. I think there is an unwritten rule of any father-son outing that no one should be able to tell the fathers from the sons. For one night only they ALL get to be little boys.
It seemed that with this group, all I said was “No.”
“No, you can’t park there. We need to leave space for other vehicles.”
“No, you can’t put your tent there. That spot is reserved for another camper.”
“No, you can’t build a fire in another campsite.”
“No, you can’t take your ATV off the trailer.”
“No, you can’t take your ATV off the trailer and drive it outside of the campground.”
“No. No. No. No. No.”
One of the dads called me on it. “Don’t you hate always having to be the bad guy?” He went on. “I’m going to call you Miss Trunchbull.” For those, like me, who had no idea who Miss Trunchbull is, she is the wicked headmistress in the film, Matilda. I still haven’t seen the film, but the Wikipedia review refers to her as sadistic. Ouch. I suppose it could have been worse. He could have called me Professor Umbridge.
The Forest Service imposes rules within the campground. These rules are for the safety and comfort of the campers and to ensure the safety and preservation of the local wildlife. If that means I have to be the wicked headmistress to get campers to comply, I guess I’ll wear the label gladly.
The good news is that both the Forest Service and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department have my back. The better news is that we captured our “lessons learned” from this first group and incorporated them into our process for checking groups in. (There I go again, talking like a process engineer.) We've had no problems managing the group site since.
Of course, we haven’t had another father-son campout since. Wish us luck on the next one!