Sunday, April 26, 2009

Advancement Camp

This weekend was Delaney's Advancement Camp, the first real camp out for the new Boy Scouts in his troop. It was at Casey Jones park in Elizabeth, just a little South East of us. We got Delaney ready this week and then headed out Friday afternoon to the camp site.

My first instinct was to bring a second tent and spend Friday night there, coming home Saturday night before baseball. Instead with the call for rain, a lack of warm sleeping bags, a general dislike of camping, and most importantly, missing Tia a bit, I decided to come home each night. It's about 12 miles, so it's not too far.

Delaney was supposed to buddy up with someone and he chose George, a kid from his Cub Scout group. When we arrived, about half the people were there, and we get Delaney going on his tent with George. Me and the other Dad gave them hints and told them what to do, but we didn't do the work, letting them get their tent set up.

The troop sets up this first camp out to help the new kids get their Tenderfoot rank, and learn how to camp. It's the chance for kids to make mistakes, learn from them, and parents to bail them out if things get bad. However it's also supposed to be the boys doing most things.

Some dads has signed up for specific things to teach (knots, cooking, first aid, etc.), but me and a few others were roaming, just doing the things that needed to be done. I ended up helping out cooking quite a bit during the weekend, and cleaning up the kitchen tent.

This troop does things a lot different than I remember as a kid, where we always backpack camped. It's also different than the troop that Kyle was in when we lived in Highlands Ranch. For this camp out, the dads did a lot of things, like cooking and cleaning the general stuff, letting the kids spend time learning. Kyle's old troop seemed to really have the patrols doing more work for themselves, but they were mixed patrols of all ages. Here all of the new scouts are in their own patrols.

Friday night there was no dinner, so after getting Delaney set, and letting him run around with friends, I headed over to Cheesies in the nearby town, ordered us a pizza, and then came back. Delaney and I shared it, giving a few pieces to George as well. His Dad had brought cold fried chicken, which didn't look nearly as good as pizza.

I stayed through the campfire, and then headed home around 9. I was tired, Delaney had confiscated my chair, and I wanted to get home to spend time with Tia. Unfortunately Kendall was feeling sick, and so I brought her up to our bed, and she fell asleep with us.

Sunday I was up at 6, ran quickly, and then was back to camp by 7. That was just in time to help cook food with breakfast. A couple other Dads and I cooked the food for everyone and then cleaned up while the scouts moved off to the various stations and worked on learning things. I cleaned, hung out with Dads, talked about scouts, learned a few things that we could do to help, and monitored the cooking class. I liked that the older scouts were teaching the younger ones about cooking, but they needed some monitoring to ensure that they stayed on track and that the younger ones would pay attention.

It was a cold, misty, hazy day and we kept expecting it to rain or storm. It started to mist a little in the afternoon and the temperature dropped enough that we thought it might even snow. It ended up holding off and we got some late afternoon run, but it was a fairly miserable day. Sticking in the cooking tent was a good idea, with it being about 10F warmer than outside.

By the time we got to campfire, however, my lower back was very tight and sore. I think the standing around, not moving a lot, just back and forth in the kitchen tent, wasn't good for me. Along with the cold temperatures, I sat and somewhat suffered through a drug talk, and then walked Delaney to the bathroom and told him I was leaving before the campfire. He was OK with it, spending most of the time with his friends, which was good to see.

I made it home, but found Tia and Kendall and Kyle gone. By the time they got home, it was late and I didn't even really see Tia.

I woke up at 6, but was tired, and went back to sleep until almost 7.  I ate a bar on the way to camp, and found Delaney eating breakfast and a little cold when I arrived. He was glad I'd left him a knit hat, something he'd insisted he didn't need. He was a little miserable, which was good. I think he learned a few things about being prepared.

After breakfast, we sat through a short service run by the kids. I'd talked to Delaney a bit about praying and services, wanting him to be able to fit in. I think he probably needs to explore spirituality, and Scouts is a good way to push him. Not sure how he views things since he's a little unsure of the whole God and church thing, but we'll figure it out.

After that they divided the kids up into 7 groups to compete in various areas. I helped with the cooking area, but was really an extra since I needed to leave before 11. I stuck around, helping the kids get going, and then left before 11, when I realized that I wasn't really needed. I did walk around and watch Delaney set up a tent by himself, get a fire going, and clean up a little, learning dish work.

I kept meaning to bring a camera, and kept forgetting. I figure I'll get to some other ones and get some good shots of Delaney doing things. This time I barely saw him.

All in all he said it was a good weekend. Camping worked out well with me, and I'll definitely avoid some of the outings, but I know I need to get myself set up a bit to get to a few of the camp outs with him. And stay with him.

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