Hello fellow outdoors-folks. I'm from Cumberland County, in south central Pennsylvania.
Since we're soon to get an REI store in Mechanicsburg (quite near where we live), I became a co-op member a few months ago, and they sent me an email to join this discussion group, so here I am.
I was born and raised in northern NJ, near NYC. My parents didn't camp, but somehow I managed to go with church groups, relatives and friends up through my teens. Then college, job and starting a family more or less took over, but our son Tom (then "Tommy") joined the Cub Scouts as a Tiger back in 2012, and fell in love with camping. Since the Cub Scouts only camped twice a year, my wife suggested that Tommy and I drag out some gear and go to one of our local state parks to camp for a night - we are extremely blessed to have very easy access to several state parks and forests in this area, as well as the AT and many side trails. Tommy was over the moon. My wife and daughter are not as interested, so this became a great father-son pursuit for us.
Anyhow, we got pretty deep into it, and Tom (no longer "Tommy" at that point) and I decided to go backpacking in early 2019. I had had a misguided false start when I was 13 and thought I would do it right this time. We couldn't find anyone to go with us, so we did some research and took a git-r-done approach - borrowing and making some gear - to see if that was something we wanted to get into and invest more in better gear. Tom loved that as well. Now an Eagle Scout, he and I just finished the "Backpacking" Boy Scouts merit badge, with me as his Counselor. We're not backpacking experts by any means, but we can hold our own and do know our way around PA's Michaux State Forest!
We enjoy a mix of backpacking, tent camping, and Scouting within about an hour of our home. I also like blogging about it (just for fun and for a permanent record of our travels, musings and gear; I have no aspirations to monetize at this point).
Anyhow, this is kind of long-winded but that's us. I'm glad to be here and to be a part of the REI community (and to visit our new store when it opens this fall!).
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Hi @MustangDad - Welcome to the community! Thanks for sharing that awesome introduction. It's amazing to hear the timeline of you and your son's backpacking experiences.
We hope you are able to take some time to look around our different boards and join in where conversations interest you. It sounds like you will have plenty of stories and advice to share! Hopefully this is a spot where the question you have can get answered as well, as there are lots of folks here with a wide range of experiences in the outdoors.
It's great to hear that the Mechanicsburg store opening soon is near you. Hopefully you and your family will enjoy the in-store experience and what it brings the community. Maybe you can even join the Opening Weekend festivities!
Thanks for taking the time to say hello. We're happy to have you here in the community.
At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.