T.G.I.F. @ Day Camp

sent: Fri 6/8/2012 9:35 PM

I was pretty groggy getting packed up and on the bus for camp. Once we got there, I strictly enforced the ‘no water fights before the opening flag ceremony’ policy. The boys think it’s about respecting our country, but mainly it’s just too early.

The 5th consecutive day here can go a bit Lord of the Flies.  It’s good to keep things moving.  Luckily our Friday schedule had some awesome activities that the boys really dig.

First thing was 2 liter bottle rockets. That one involved bottles, a little water, some pvc pipe and an air compressor. It was a huge hit! I’m sure that the ones who aren’t sleeping already, are probably trying to assemble that set up right now in their back yards.

We have launched or shot a lot of things this week, but those things really sailed. Two of the Tiger cubs started crying because
a) they couldn’t find their bottles
b) wanted to go again
c) bottle didn’t go the highest
or                                                                                                                                                d) rock and roll life style catching up with them…

We pressed on to our next activity, the bb guns. After the boys listened to their range masters attempt to instill the fear of God in them and established that only one of our scouts is a “Left eyed Dominic” we lined them up and handed them the most anticipated weapon of the week.

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Just because they aren’t allowed to have pressurized squirt guns at camp, doesn’t mean that they can’t have a little fun aiming the old Red Ryder at some paper targets… and the occasional bird that’s unfortunate enough to wander by.

We made it through lunch and our daily squirt gun wars with the packs whose camp homes border our own.  These seem to escalate, with each passing day, and I think we broke it up  just in time.

We had to get to announcements/flag pole/surprise.

All that I remember about that, aside from trying to find a place in the crowd far from our squirt gun enemies, was a guy in the front dressed as a cowboy on an inflatable horse thanking all the volunteers.

Also, I took a tumble coming in. It turns out that after the boys lost interest in the pistol packin’ mama speaker yesterday, many of them entertained themselves by digging holes with sticks.

We only had the maze and soap carving left and parents from the pack were already breaking down our camp, the end was in sight. Unfortunately, the boys got through the maze (of blue tarps attached to stakes) in record time, leaving plenty of time for us to fill with duck duck goose, tattling, crying and eventual bribing with Twizzlers.

picture 246.

At soap carving the boys carved a bar of ivory soap into a pile of ivory soap using plastic knives. Another pack passed by yelling “we’ve got spirit how ‘bout you?!”  This is a cheer that’s designed to start out sort of aggressive and escalate, but on the last day of camp could easily degenerate into a brawl.

Thankfully their leaders moved them along and I was able to reassure our tired, frazzled, crazy boys that they definitely had more spirit. “Look guys they’re backing off, you don’t need to make them eat soap, please put down the plastic knives.”

After the painfully slow lowering of the Kansas flag, during which I told my own kiddo to zip it or I might retire his colors, we were definitely ready for the bus. I carried today’s disappearing tiger cub all the way there, operation complete.

So, in closing I dedicate these posts to Cub Masters, Den Leaders, Camp Directors and Range Masters everywhere.  Ya’ll deserve a raise!  Oh, wait…

Parents, definitely volunteer and get out there, if you can swing it.  I promise that they’ll make you laugh.

Don’t go if you have any history of anger control problems though, because even the most mild mannered people can be pushed to their wits end by a little boy who won’t stop soaking your shorts with a spray bottle and yelling, “She’s peeing!”  Remember, you don’t want to do anything that causes you to end up on the news.

Thank goodness I’ll have a month to recover before Daughter and I head to Daisy Day Camp:)

Thursday @ Day Camp

Sent: Thu 6/7/2012 7:48 PM
We started the day, after our daily homage to the flag, with the obstacle course. A high school girl was waiting there to help the guys split into 4 groups for things like; running through tires, high jump, monkey bars, ski’s for three and tug of war.  In a surprising turn of events the wiry guys took down the husky boys two times out of three in tug of war.

After a snack (we get our boys from place to place by leaving a trail of teddy grahams) it was on to the leather station. The boys each got a leather medallion that they could hammer with stamps. I’m really surprised at the amount of hammering that goes on here.  Soothing sounds of the hammer, all the livelong day.

Please  Please

Alright, I digress. We had lunch after that, which was pretty exciting because today instead of bag lunches we grilled hot dogs and made s’mores and after that awesomeness, we were all ready for a midday surprise at the flagpole.

To recap, So far this week we had our tornado drill (I think they threw some tootsie rolls at us), the Indian dancing and Popsicle combo, then fire truck/hose down party, so we’re setting the bar pretty high.

Today’s surprise…. the gun enthusiast speaker lady that you see below, oh yeah. The boys were a little disappointed after they realized that she was shootin’ blanks and wasn’t going to blow up a portapotty or anything.

thursday 001 

Next we headed down to the zip line, which they loved. Half the boys worked at a table making cards for meals on wheels recipients, while the other half lined up to sit in the little zip line chair.

I hung out at the card table to help regulate.  The cards were blank, but had phrases at the top like “Sending you a smile” or “Thinking of you” and the boys were asked to add a little note or drawing.  I had to scrap “thinking of you … in a car crash” even though the picture had a lot of detail.  Time to bring down the thunder, I mean, give those boys a little more direction.

picture 307

Our last activity was the wood station. A seventh grade scout was waiting to equip the boys with saws and of course hammers.

I was just biding my time to get back on the bus before anyone lost a finger or was hit by a hammer. One kid did hit another kid with a hammer, but we took away his hammer, and his saw. Also, in an unrelated story, his spray bottle.

We were all ready to say good bye to the flags and hello to the bus ride home with African-American Danica Patrick. The ride was less eventful than yesterdays and I found myself beginning to glaze over, but snapped into action when I heard a kid yell, “Your face is my booster seat!”

Not on my watch Mister.

Hump Day at Day Camp

Sent: Wednesday, 6/6/2012 9:28 PM

It’s Day 3 at Day Camp!   The boys all lined up to get retaped as we headed to the bus. Unfortunately during the taping process the scissors got caught in the duct tape, one thing led to another and I almost sliced off the top of my left pointer finger.  Luckily, they held the bus until I was able to stop the gushing, and I’m sure that our Dukes of Hazard bus driver made up for any lost time.

As soon as we got off the bus the boys spotted a lost baby mole and were instantly concerned that it might need to be misted. It was a difficult job getting them to disperse, with all the excitement of their 1st wild animal sighting.

We did need to get going though, because we had an important responsibility, doing the flag ceremony! Oh yeah, Kansas flag you are going down, I was all ready to shove it up my shirt and start the pledge, but they, the important people… two women with cowboy hats and bullhorns told us that it was actually flag day (check your calendars people, it is so not flag day).

Nevertheless, it was apparently time for “Camp Flag Day” which includes an absolutely flagarific bonanza of patriotism.  Another pack did the American flag, we got assigned …the Kansas flag and there were other flags all over the place.

After that we were more than ready to head to our first activity, non-mechanical bull.

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I ended up carrying a wiped out tiger cub to the next one, which was tennis ball catapulting.

picture 276 which I can’t recommend highly enough.

A little after lunch a fire truck showed up.

picture 280 There’s nothing like a few hundred boys frolicking in cold hose water.

It was easy to find our next activity because of all the taxidermy.

Sort of like this, but, in a trailer,                                                                                          the walls of which were covered with animal heads,                                              yowza.

After walking through the trailer picture 287… of the deer departed, they made plush snakes from neckties and did some plaster animal tracks.                   

We finished off the day with a hike and then an eventful bus ride  back to civilization. The leader from our bus buddy/neighbor school, hollered for me to pass some first aid supplies back.  Apparently there was a nose bleed back there, so he was doing a little triage while the bus weaved, and was taking some heavy illegal squirt gun fire.

I just let him keep that bandanna.

Cub Scout Day Camp… Second Day

Sent: Tue 6/5/2012 9:52 PM

Yes, I came back again

but

Today I brought a whistle,

That’s right, I Captain Von Trapped all my people.

Okay, I’m not that good, but the whistle did save my voice. I’d blow it to get their attention, then we do a cheesy cheer,

“C-A-M…P-E-R! Campers, Yes we are! Hey!” and the Count Off.

Also, I put red duct tape across all of their backs, so it’s easier to sort them from the rabble.

and

We banned the “Rock you, sock you” song.  Honestly, I think it was the first thing that crossed my mind this morning… it’s burned into my brain. Anyway, it’s gone and I won’t miss it, although I might catch myself still humming it… j/k.

Today, activity number one was Human Foosball and then they did sling shots, all before lunch.  Noonday flag pole fun?  The mic-o-say Indian dancers and Popsicles!

After that we went to The Trading Post, where boys were able to buy the same rocks that were all over the ground for a dollar fifty each, and as if rocks alone weren’t enough, they also carry a great selection of plastic handcuffs, bouncy balls and other quality items. My Son purchased plastic sheriff badges for Sis and himself.

We packed up all of their items and put them in somebody’s car.  That way we didn’t have to spend the rest of the day breaking up fights between campers wielding tiny rubber swords that say “Day Camp 2011”.

Ugh, Don’t make me use the plastic handcuffs!

Instead, we headed off to our egg drop activity.                                                     Just giving a group of little boys a raw egg, seems risky,  

having them figure out ways to drop it without breaking it, that’s just cheap entertainment.

They wrapped up the day making crafty handkerchiefs with crafty slides.

The boys were able to fill any down time by throwing water at each other or doing a little hula hooping. We were pretty much accident free, except for a boy who got hit in the face with the portapotty door… while attempting to harass a portapotty user, and another whose tongue got stuck in his water bottle. No permanent damage.

Cub Scout Day Camp, Day One

In honor of summer, I’ve dug up an oldie.

Shortly after my son finished first grade, I had an experience that remains a dear and cherished memory.  I volunteered to be a “Walking Leader” at Cub Scout Day Camp.  Each night after I got home, I put together an e-mail to share.

Hopefully you’ll get a kick out of reading the ups and downs of this action packed and funny week…

Be Prepared... Wait, does this make my butt look big?!
Be Prepared… Wait, does this make my butt look big?!

Subject: Cub Scout Day Camp -Day 1                     Sent: Mon 6/4/2012 8:30 PM

My ears are ringing, I’m losing my voice and I have a wicked sunburn.            I’m probably not gonna live through the week.

Ah, the bus ride home.  One of the boys from our pack, who sat directly behind us shared this catchy chant…  repeatedly;  “We will, we Will, ROCK YOU, sock you, Pick you up and drop you, flush you down the TOILET, I hope you Enjoy it…  WE will we will….”

The

entire

way.

The morning started off, innocently enough, with duck duck goose.  We killed 20 minutes playing it in the field, as soon as we arrived.  BUT, the official start of any day camp day is the flag ceremony.

Flag ceremony and announcements take a little bit longer than you’d hope.      My suggestion, just get rid of the Kansas flag… no one wants to stand at attention for that long.

It’s shade-less and toasty, and they’re very active boys.

picture 264

We were finally released, to charge off to our camp.

That is, our side-less tent, amongst a row of side-less tents at the edge of the treeless field, where each group has their all important buckets.

 Each boy (and leader) has one.  It’s your chair and also where you keep your hat, sunblock, contraband and bug spray.

Aside from the buckets, our side-less tent home also houses a cooler filled with sack lunches and the blessed igloo water cooler.

By the time we got there, we’d lost our 1st kid.

So long Kindergarten Kyle. It’s surprisingly easy to lose a kid at a camp where all the kids are required to wear matching t-shirts.  Pretty much every time another pack crosses your path your down, or up a camper or two.

After he was returned (he got to ride on the golf cart!) off we went to our 1st official camp activity.  We were with our 7th grade den chief Jonah.

Good to see a familiar face, but I still have no idea what we were supposed to be doing there.  Next we were on the move to the archery range.

Our range master didn’t look like any of these folks…

 but he did know a lot about archery.

Also, he was running pretty far behind schedule, which was not surprising since he was in no rush whatsoever.

picture 234

We knew we were pressing on through lunch. (✖﹏✖)

When we did wrap it up, one of the boys had to make a trip to the portapotties, and since in cub scouts you always need 2 adults, we all got to take that hike together.

By the time we got back, we only had 5 minutes to eat before the noon day surprise/ announcements.

Surprise!  Tooo…oorNado Drill!

For the tornado drill we got to get down in a berm and Assume The Position,     honestly not as much fun as it sounds.

Okay, two more activities left on the schedule, so like the Israelites in the desert, we eventually found our way to the next big thing,

picture 238 the ropes course.

We had to split into two groups, one group whined and complained about hating the  “rope making” activity, while the other group had fun climbing in the ropes course, down in the shade/tick central.  Then they switched.

The final stop for the day, chuck wagon, was a fun one. The boys love food, so it was a slam dunk that they’d be excited to make pizzas and peanut-less trail mix.

Time for closing flag… Kansas flag, why do we have you?!

and finally, back to the bus…

We will, we will, rock you, sock you…

All Wet

After hiking out of the Grand Canyon, most people just hit the quarter showers, but not this family.

We actually drove four and a half hours to a Comfort Inn in Hurricane, Utah.

It wasn’t as bad as it sounds.  We ate 2nd lunch at The General Store and I was able to pick up one of those sweet Grand Canyon coffee mugs, with my name on it.  Yup, using it right now:)

The drive to Zion is barren and beautiful.

After dinner at Triple TJ’s (Good find, our hotel recommended… we were so tired by then that they probably thought that we were zombies…  “Zombie want BLT!  BLT good!  Zzzzz….”

We were quite sleepy.

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June 5th

We were ready for a special and relaxing day at Zion National Park.  We told the kids that we weren’t camping or anything like that, just enjoying the park from the shuttle and probably throwing in one hike that they would be sure to love.

At the 8th and final shuttle stop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle, we disembarked to take a hike that is gorgeous, unique and highly recommended by many as the hike to do, if you have one day in Zion.

We strolled down the paved trail, which covers about a mile and a half, along with lots and lots of other folks, young and old.  We were surrounded by high stone walls covered in hanging gardens, watered by the weeping walls.

At the bottom we looked for a good picnic spot which was tricky, because there’s a bit of a squirrel problem.  There is a lot of anti squirrel feeding signage throughout the parks.

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The squirrels are pretty bold.  In this photo you can see one of the aggressive squirrels checking out my little pack seconds after we sat down.  To be fair to the squirrel, it did contain two hoagies and a bag of Twizzlers.IMG_7380

After lunch we were ready for the fun part.  There aren’t many places in the world where you can hike up a clear, shallow running stream, in a narrow canyon, between straight up, towering sandstone walls.  We crossed back and forth, in and out of the cool water of the north fork of the Virgin River.

. Riverside Walk It took daughter and I a minute to find our feet, with all of the ups and downs and rounded, mossy river rock, but my son was awesome at navigating his way all over the place, without falling.  IMG_7395

We took our time and enjoyed hiking in the knee to waist deep water with the riverbed alternating between sandy parts and areas with a lot of loose rocks, from boulders to gravel, on our way to the famous Narrows.

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Well, we didn’t quite make it to the narrows. We were well on our way when we heard a small, low grumble of thunder.  I looked to Hub to call it, “I think if it’s just that and a couple rain drops, we should keep going. We’ll turn back if it’s more.”

We didn’t go much further before a pronounced crack of thunder made the decision clear. The rain went from the slightest sprinkle to a consistent shower. Hub and I attempted to calmly reassure our kiddos, while maintaining the relative jog back upstream.

The thunder rolled and the rain picked up and became a thick curtain of marble sized hail. We pulled the kids under some overhanging rock and paused to catch our breath, the water was at my waist. A woman running by shouted, “DON”T STOP!” over the downpour.

(I tried to find a photo online to illustrate this soaked, wild woman and the relative drama of the whole situation)

 Bam!

We didn’t stop.  The kids screamed as the hail pelted their soft skin. “Okay, the hail really hurts for sure, but, a flash flood or lightening down here could kill us.  That’s worse, right?”  This is the conversation that Hub and I had using our telepathic wonder twin powers, while yelling, “Keep moving!  You guys are doing awesome!”

I watched one of theseImage result for keen float by beyond my reach.  A man saw me look down and yelled, “Leave it!”  He somehow, was able to grab it and I looked up in time to catch it in the air.

Thankfully,  we never saw lightening.  We did note that the water rose around a foot higher.   Also, I fell behind momentarily, lost my footing and got washing machined, and that wasn’t great, but I have to say, we sure made some good time on that hike.

My son helped a younger girl whose mother had asked him to grab her hand and happily we all ended up back on the paved trail in and kept on walking.  Although the weather had already begun to calm, we went ahead and piled on the crowded shuttle, back to dry clothes.  We were just freezing.

That was the end of our Zion day.  With dry clothes on, we headed out to find a restaurant in Bryce Canyon City.  IMG_7414

We found “Restaurant”, There’s not a whole lot in Bryce Canyon City, but it was great! The staff sang Happy Birthday to my, now 11 year old, son and brought him out the Big Brownie Buckaroo Sundae.IMG_7409 IMG_7413 That sundae was awesome!

We spent the rest of the evening driving around Bryce Canyon National Park.  We saw rainbows and animals roaming around at dusk, but we were all pretty ready for Canyon City Best Western, where we slept the sleep of the very, very tired.

IMG_7442 IMG_7444IMG_7432 She blends right in with all the nature.

.

Up and Away

It’s hike out day!

Good Morning!  Getting ready to hike out.
Good Morning! Getting ready to hike out.

We slept in until 4:30 or so, so the campground was pretty cleared out by the time that we hit the trail an hour later.IMG_7333

I sang This is My Father’s World,

every verse that’s ever been imagined of Down by the Bay… Where the Watermelons Grow,

and of course We Like to Move It, MOVE IT.

Day 3
Day 3

The only hitch we had, besides the climb and all, was running out of food a little early.  This is a bummer, because I’m pretty crazy about food.  Not sure if this was related to my slowdown or not.

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I told Hub to keep moving as long as the kids had any forward momentum.  I took a moment to lean my face against the cool rock.

I hadn’t sat down or taken off my pack after the 3 mile rest stop.  Usually, just stopping for a minute, looking around (ooooooohhhh   aaaahhhhh) IMG_7342and grabbing a drink is good enough.  I don’t want to sit down, or have to get back up again, but I was definitely beginning to travel at a reduced speed.

When you’re on the way up, everyone is so kind.  It’s something that’s  truly precious.  I stored up every smile and encouraging comment.

I stopped for a minute to visit with a woman who was day hiking near the rim.  She asked where I’d come from and how I was getting along.  I told her about the food.  I smiled and said that I’d seen a man with a sketch book, eating an apple in the shade at the last switchback and decided that I probably shouldn’t wrestle the half-eaten apple away from him.

The woman reached into her bag and pulled out a bar for me, it was some gelatinous fruit-like bar that, to me tasted like the best apple ever.  Thinking about it now, I feel a little teary.  Also, I realize that I must have looked all:

While we were standing there, a young French couple stopped and the guy held out a plastic water bottle to me.  I showed him the straw that came from my platypus.  “I’m good, thanks”

He pointed to my pack and then undid my sternum strap and lifted the pack off my back.  The girl with him put her arm around my shoulder.

I don’t think that I was getting ready to tumble off, but my hands and feet were starting to feel a little weird and tingly.

I was on the last switchback.  She was pointing at a building.

“This is the top?!”

“Oui!”

IMG_7348I love those people.

I sat down on a bench with my kids.  Hub came back from an unsuccessful  food search and told us that the shuttle was due soon.

The French couple reappeared with…He pointed at the box and said “sugar” and gave it to us.  Both kids said, “I love those people”.

No doubt!  Right!?