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Janine Pettit: “It’s a Lot More Than Camping”

October 9, 2018
By Larry Claypool - OVO Times Editor , Ohio Valley Outdoors

For all of the good things camping offers, Janine Pettit has a story to share. Maybe "an experience" would be a better word to use.

Specifically, Pettit has become an ambassador for women who are interested in camping and "how-to" do everything associated with the outdoor adventures of "Girl Camping". She's known as "The Girl Camper" online and started the group 'Camp Like a Girl'.

Pettit, who rolls her 18-foot Liberty Outdoors Little Guy Mini Max teardrop trailer from her home in Bordentown, New Jersey, traversing this country for several days each year - mostly by herself - to travel, camp, speak, host events, be a brand ambassador for several companies and write, report and keep a daily log for her popular website, blog, podcast and more. Find her everywhere online at: her website, www.girlcamper.com; on Facebook (Girl Camper Podcast and Camp Like a Girl), Instagram, Twitter and podcast outlets; Itunes, Stitcher, Podbean and through her GoRVing.com blog.

Article Photos

Janine Pettit, aka Girl Camper, of Bordentown, NJ, stands beside her traveling companion, a Liberty Outdoors Little Guy Mini Max teardrop trailer at the Beaver Creek State Park campground recently. Photo by Larry Claypool

Pettit has also been featured on PBS TV in Boston, Outside Interests Magazine, Forbes Lifestyle, Country Living Magazine, and Redbook Magazine.

I met Pettit this past August while she was camping at Beaver Creek State Park, near East Liverpool, OH, as part of a fall get-together of 'Camp Like a Girl', hosted locally by Gail Bable, the camp host at Beaver Creek.

Pettit explains that she's loved camping since she was a little girl, growing up in the Chicago, IL area. Her parents owned a pop-up camper. "We grew up a camping family. It was bargain basement camping though. There were seven kids in my family," said Pettit, while we sat on a wooden picnic table at the Beaver Creek park campground before an evening 'pot luck' dinner the Girl Campers would enjoy just before dusk.

"We stayed at places like Jellystone Park. My parents would have two kids sleeping with them in the camper, and five kids slept in tents. I loved it," she added.

Pettit's love of camping was put on hold for several years, as her husband (now of 22 years) was a "non-camper".

She later convinced her husband, Rick, to go on a camping trip. "It looked like he was having fun," said Pettit of the trip. "When we got back home, and cleaned everything up, he said to me, 'thank God it's over. We don't have to do that again.'"

So camping together as a family was out of the question from there, Pettit said.

Jump to 2005, as things would change for the Pettit family. The camping world opened up again for Janine after she read a magazine article about 'Sisters on the Fly', a women's outdoor adventure group that was founded in 1999.

"Thirteen years ago I saw this article about women camping. I showed it to my husband, and he said 'I'll help you get a camper. This is something you can do. Your people have found you'", explained Pettit.

The camping lifestyle, and being on the road, suits Pettit perfectly. She's learned that women - for several different reasons - need an outlet, a quest, to do something different, maybe out of their comfort zone at first, but gain the support of other women who similarly thirst for an outdoor experience and camaraderie.

"You realize this is a lot more than camping," said Pettit.

A database of questions, answers and problem solving about camping, and Pettit's camping experiences, can be found on her website and blog. Her podcasts, that now number 143, are very informative. If you have questions for her, she's available via email at: girlcamper528@gmail.com.

Pettit noted that the Little Guy Mini Max trailer she's been using this year will be auctioned off later this year with proceeds to go to needy groups, including one that assists the human trafficking problem that's sweeping this country.

Sisters on the Fly is the largest women's organization in the United States with a focus on outdoor recreation. The current active membership exceeds 6,200. They have member-hosted events and special destination trips, that include: camping, sightseeing, hiking, Girls' Night Out, antiquing, junkin', dancing, cooking, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, wine tasting, geocaching, community service, fundraising events and more. Contact them at: www.sistersonthefly.com.

 
 

 

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