The Grit of Camp
July 19, 2017 by Don Gentle
The Mini II boys are rolling now! It is great to see them in the groove with camp already. Even cabin clean-up is starting to workout fairly well. I had an opportunity to catch up with a few of them at breakfast this morning. Life is good in the mini camp.
First Time Parents: The first letters from the Mini II campers should be arriving home. Some of you may find the first letter could talk about some homesickness. My guess is that they are over it by now. If you have any concerns, let us know. Don’t forget that an encouraging letter focusing on their achievements is the best tool. Again, I feel like these boys are really rolling in camp right now. I just wanted to set you up for success. Please let me know if you have any concerns.
My favorite part about these four-week boys is how well they can schedule themselves throughout the day. Sure, they have an activity schedule, but I have enjoyed watching them make the most of their choice periods, down time, and the wonderful group of boys that surround them. Of course, they enjoy their active time, but I really appreciate their ability to relax as well. Four weeks can be a marathon. Many of these boys have gone all-out these first couple of weeks and are now starting to work on the final pace through the finish.
Many of the four-week guys are in what I call “The Grit” of the camp session. It’s that time during the session where they have a pretty good sense of everything and know exactly what they want. They are also working hard at several goals and activities at the same time. They have this sort of winded, rough, grizzled look about them. Mostly, because it is about time for a haircut, but also because they ARE all of that and they are having a blast! The general thought is that we can rest after camp.
I felt like I had a “camper” day myself today. I played my first camper-counselor tennis match. This tournament typically only occurs during the four-week July session. Campers can ask any staff they want to be their partner. Some staff members are even asked on opening day by the seasoned campers. The tennis staff then take some time to create a bracket with good matches. At times through my years, I have played my wife, good friends, and even old roommates. My little guy, Parker, and I won our first match. While we won the match, I felt more like we didn’t lose. Looking at the bracket, I don’t think we have a chance in the next game.
My second “camper” activity today was fishing. Each year we usually take a day during the session to catch and keep some fish and eat them. It serves several purposes for those involved. Some boy scouts need to do exactly this task for a merit badge. For others, it helps them understand a little bit about the food cycle and where food comes from. So we catch a bunch of fish first. The boys did a fantastic job. The fishing crew caught over thirty bluegills in the three morning periods. Next, comes the hard part; cleaning the fish. It can be a pretty big deal for some of these guys to work through the process of cleaning a fish. We had about six to eight guys help us out. It was a messy job, but the fish are ready for tomorrow. The boys will meet us at choice period tomorrow to learn how to fry the fish. I’ll be sure to get some pictures to show you the details. I was pretty sure you did not want to see the details of the cleaning process :)…
I usually make a point to sit at a table of boys during meals a few times a week. I like to hear first hand how camp is going for them, how they are getting along in their cabin, what they like about their counselor, and (most of the time) help them with their table manners :). I find it amazing how excited they get when talking to me about camp. Sometimes I think it is just the fact that an adult has a genuine interest in what they have to say, so they’re excited to share. Tonight’s dinner conversation was a lot of that. Of course, the youngest guys always have a lot of questions. The older guys tonight enjoyed speaking about their cabin counselor mostly. It sure is a fun bunch!
There were still a number of images uploading when I posted tonight. Be sure to check back in about an hour to be sure you were able to see them all.
Have a great night! We sure are having a blast!