Wednesday morning I finished loading the car, checking the checklist
three times, and off Tyler and I went to SCOUTLAND! A 4-day, 3-night
camping getaway with Webelos activities to help Tyler along his Webelos
trail. We still forgot rain-gear.
There’re three things we need to do on the way..
haircuts, store, and lunch. We get on the road and Tyler says he’s
hungry, so that moves lunch to tops on the list. We hit up his
favorite joint, Arby’s, and even go inside and eat leisurely. It’s
about noon and check-in at camp starts at 2pm, and it might take an
hour to get there Teresa and I had figured. We got plenty of time, so
we go inside, order up Tyler’s roast-beef meal and my number 14
(chicken cordon-bleu) and sit and eat. One meal doesn’t quite satisfy
Tyler, so he asks for another one. I say no, and it’s really because
if I go up to the counter to order him more food I’d probably get more
for myself, too. In hindsight, another lunch probably would have been
Haircuts are next… we’re in luck, there are two stylists
available so we sit side by side and get our hairs cut (haircuts?). We
make the usual small-talk and I find out my haircutter is the same age
as Teresa, and it comes up that I’m a grandfather (stepgrandfather?).
She can’t believe it.
After that a quick jump to the Kroger next
store to pick up some necessary supplies. Beef jerky, magazines
(Discover for me, MadKids for Tyler), and batteries. Didn’t buy enough
of either of those, as it turns out. I had considered filling one of
our Gott coolers (the kind with the spout on it) with ice and water and
taking it with us, but the instructions say no cars are allowed in camp
and I don’t really want to lug a water/ice filled cooler around. If I
had thought through it a bit further I would have realized that surely
they allow loading/unloading… but I didn’t.
So we did it, our
three stops, and so we head to Scoutland. It’s about 1:30 by now, and
I had decided earlier I wasn’t going to get uptight about the schedule
(I have to do that in advance these days, otherwise I start
clock-watching and getting antsy too much). I figure we’ll still be
one of the first ones in camp, even if we get there 30 minutes late.
It ends up taking about 35 minutes to get there, even with turning
around about 4 times to follow the directions Teresa had printed out.
Not her, or the directions fault… I had started looking at them in
the wrong place and thought I was in a different place on the map.
They didn’t cause much of a delay anyway, and we get there about 2:15pm.
park the car in the parking lot since there are big signs that say NO
CARS IN CAMP all over the place. I congratulate myself on not bringing
the Gott cooler with water and ice to lug to the campsite, and Tyler
and I head into the trailer / administration building. Some scouts are
lounging on the porch, and they verify we’re in the right place and to
go inside. We go inside, and find out our campsite for the week will
be ‘Taboqui’. All the campsites were named after characters or places
in the Jungle Book. We had a running conversation for the next three
days on who Tabaqui was in the books. I’m already missing the
internet. Turns out it’s the jackal, and is translated from Indian as ‘dish-licker’. Hmmm.
"Just down this road, past the turn-off for the
mess hall, and the first campsite on the right." Sounds easy… we go
back to the car and load up all our stuff, and start walking into
camp. Trudge, trudge, trudge… ok, this is kind of far. We get
passed by 3 cars going into the camp. Drat. Why do I listen to
rules? Am I the only one in the world that sees a sign that says ‘NO
CARS ALLOWED IN CAMP’ and believes it? So we trudge with our luggage
down to our camp, find out the only empty tents are on the FAR side of
the camp, drag the luggage through camp, and collapse on a picnic table
under a white temporary pavilion tent.
The tents look in
decent repair, and the beds are actually beds, with mattresses kind of
half-full. They look relatively comfortable, and Tyler and I unroll
our sleeping bags and rest a bit. It’s 2:40 and we’re told that our
swimtest is at 3:00. Tyler and I have to go to the bathroom which is,
as luck would have it, back up by the parkinglot. This becomes another
standard theme for the week. We trudge back up to the bathroom, but
make it back in time to change and dress for the swimtest.
we’re walking to the swimtest I’m walking my normal walk and start to
leave Tyler behind. ‘Daddy!’ he calls, and I wait up for him. "Tell
you what," I say. "This week I’ll walk your speed, not my speed,
okay? This week is for you, not for me, so we’ll do it your way." He
seems to like that, and so our trudging becomes more of a mosey.
dock is shaped like a T, but with the top-bar longer than the vertical
bar. The swim-test is swimming the length of the dock twice using
on-your-belly strokes, then once with an ‘elementary backstroke’, and
then float on your back. The girl testing Tyler takes him into the
beginner area, but he talks her into letting him try the big test, so I
seem them get out of there and go to the big section of the dock, and
him jump off. Couple seconds later I’m called for mine. I look down
the dock and I see the girl, but no Tyler as I jump in and start mine.
I figure I’ll knock this test out in about 30 seconds and get back to
watching him, so I start a hearty freestyle stroke, and start swimming
down the dock. I keep looking to see if Tyler’s passing me going the
other way, but I never see him. I get to the end, turn around, look
around a bit and start back. By now I start realizing why I was
passing most of the dads. This swimming thing is exhausting. I still
have to swim a whole length again on my back… eek, this isn’t looking
good. So I start doing a sidestroke, since that lets me look for
Tyler… no Tyler. I finish, do the backstroke, float on my back for a
second and get the all good signal from my testing instructor, and
climb out. My legs are rubber, and I swear the ground is moving under
my feet. But I ignore it because I don’t want anyone to know I
overswam my capabilities, and see Tyler waiting by his testing
instructor up near the gate. Nobody really says anything, and my
instructor tells the recorder that I’m a swimmer, and Tyler’s
instructor says he’s a beginner. I think that’s pretty darn good since
he’s never really been coached on the strokes, etc. I mentally pull
out my ‘need to work on that’ notepad and write down ‘teach him strokes
so he can swim the length of the pool, thrice’. I don’t know why they
had to wait for me.. maybe Tyler couldn’t spell his last name? He does
it all the time… it’s a mystery for the ages.
Okay, so nothing
to do now until dinner. Tyler and I wander around a bit, taking
pictures, he plays on the playground and creates a photo-essay of the
playground with my camera.
Dinner time is approaching, so we
head back to camp. I’m a bit concerned about the meals, wondering if
I’ll get enough to eat and starve half the time, or if they’ll have
seconds. They have a flag ceremony scheduled before dinner, and we
start hearing a cadence coming down the road. "Cool!" I think and grab
my camera and start taking pictures. Meanwhile all the other scouts at
our campsite come out dressed in their uniforms and start falling into
line in front of the flags. "Argghhh…" I think and scramble to get
Tyler dressed in uniform to make the ceremony. We’re moving at his
speed, not mine, and so we miss roll call ("245, here and alive!" I
hear from the other scouts in our troop), miss the march back and the
call to go to dinner. We make it up to the cafeteria, walk in, and I
turn to what I expect to be the food-line, with nobody in it. We’re
late, but there still seems to be an abundance of food. I start to
grab a plate, and get directed to my seat instead. Ohhhh….. we sit
down with the other scouts in our campsite. They do a song, and a
prayer, some enrichments, and then they start calling the scouts to the
There is a troop of Boy Scouts there, who I see around but
aren’t really involved in the activities that we’re there for… we see
them doing things like lifeguarding, taking care of the boats, etc,.
but not teaching. I asked one later and he said that their troop is
what is considered a ‘High Adventure’ troop and do things like
white-water rafting, sailing, boating, and other water-oriented
activities. If a scout is in a troop that doesn’t do these things, and
wants to, they transfer into that troop and spend some time in the
summer there at the camp. Interesting. They eat first, every night.
is either a chicken casserole, or tuna casserole. I’m pretty sure it
was chicken but if I just had to go by taste I would say tuna. Tyler
ate quite a bit, and I warned him about not having anything more to eat
until breakfast and he was cool with that… so I finished his plate.
Then they called ‘limted seconds are available, bring your plate’.
Oh. I ask Tyler if he wants any more, and he doesn’t, but we get a
couple extra rolls. I actually leave pretty satiated.
after dinner we check out the trading post. I get a cool hat for $8,
he gets a little flashlight/fan thing, and some candy. I use this
candy to my advantage over the next couple days.
So here it
is, after dinner, and I still don’t know what’s gonna happen the next
day. We got an overall schedule when we checked in (meals, activity
periods, etc) but have no idea what activities Tyler is signed up for,
whatever. I talk with one of the other Dad’s who is the Webelos II
leader about the 9pm meeting and he says he’s going, he’ll get all the
But first there’s an ‘opening ceremony’ that is
up by the playground (which is past the parking lot). Tyler and I get
there mosey-speed, so we’re trying to fit in behind the line scratched
in the ground suitable for 50 people, not the 139 people that were
actually there. Our chair makes matters worse, since we take up more
groundspace. I find a spot behind two much bigger chairs, and Tyler
gets to sit in the dirt in front of them. The show was festive and
included the Mento’s-in-coke drop… er, I mean ‘crystallized fairy
tear dropped into liquidized dragon breath’, decent juggling, and a
skit where some returning knights’ treasure got captured by evil
knights. They announce at the end, ‘To Be Continued…’
both mosey back to camp, incredibly tired, read with our flashlights
for a while and then go to sleep. Or what passes as ‘sleep’ anyway. I
spend the night tossing a bit since it’s very hot. The other people in
the camp are sleeping with their flaps up and I’m thinking ‘What
fools… they’re going to get bitten by bugs all night long!’. Mr.
I’m-so-wise instead sleeps with the tent flaps closed, and I swelter
most of the night.
The next morning I ask the John about the
schedules and the meeting and he says, "oops!" Cool… another human.
I like meeting other fallible human beings, because it makes me feel
good. Not a one of them are complaining about the bugs the night
before… just the dogs, the beds, the heat and other campers. Hmm. I
join in on the ‘heat’ part.
So with 35 minutes left until the
flag ceremony in the morning, I coax Tyler into going to take a shower,
and we mosey up to the shower house by the parking lot, shower, and
mosey back down just in time to hear roll-call. Sigh. We make it up
to breakfast in time for a song and waiting in line. It’s a cold
breakfast. Cereal, bagels, donuts, bananas, apples, instant oatmeal,
instant grits, orange juice. What is generally called a ‘contintental
breakfast’ in hotels. I ate a bagel, grits, a couple small donuts, a
banana and 3 apples. Tyler liked the Froot Loops, and I ate his grits.
first activity was Aquatics, so we mosey back, get our bathings suits
on, and mosey over the the lake. It’s 9am, the time I usually am
waking up. Ok, ok, that’s a little exagerrated.. I wake up around 8am
or so, come down and log in and everything. Still, it’s 9am and I’ve
showered, eaten, and moseyed a half a mile already. The day really
isn’t what would be considered ‘warm’ yet, and I’m faced with the
prospect of Aquatics. I dunno if I’m ready for the water yet. The
instructor gathers the boys around and starts talking and says ‘grab a
buddy and let’s go get in the water’. Tyler forms a buddy-ship first
(he’s good at that, really good at that), and is first in line. Phew,
looks like I don’t have to go into the water. Tyler has a lot of fun,
learns how to dive, how to life-save, and how to cannonball. He really
likes cannonballing, as everyone else must, too, because they do it
three times. The teachers are good at keeping it interesting for the
kids, and Tyler comes out grinning from ear to ear.
activity is archery, probably the thing Tyler has been looking forward
to the most. And our camp-site is right next to the archery range so
he’s been asking about it since the night before. The teacher does a
eye dominance test, which is interesting. Hold your arms out at full
length, overlapping your hands, but leaving a hole in your
thumb-valleys. Look at something far away with both your eyes open,
and then move it back to your face. Turns out Tyler is left-eye
dominant (and so am I), and should be shooting left-handed. Really!?
I think Cameron is too, because when he was shooting a BB gun couple
weeks ago he did better when I covered his left eye. But Tyler wasn’t
comfortable doing things with his left hand, so I moved him back to
right-handed shooting and he did extremely well. Our period after
Archery was freetime, and Tyler stayed and kept doing archery through
that period, too.
Then it was time for lunch. It was coldcut
sandwiches and a bag of chips. Oh, and two cookies. ONLY 2! Tyler
and I got yelled at for taking 3. These weren’t big round 6" cookes,
but the 1.5" variety. Ok, ok, fine I’ll put it back. Tyler gobbled
everything down and I added 2 apples to my meal to satiate me… they
didn’t call seconds on that lunch.
Right after lunch was ‘quiet
time’. I spent my quiet time laying on my cot, half-dozing. Tyler
read his magazine and played a bit with the other kids in camp.
quiet-time it was BB-Shooting time, which was up past the parking lot.
So we started moseying a little early to get up there. The fellow
teaching BB-shooting is the same that was teaching archery, so we do
the eye-dominance test thing again and I assert some parental authority
again and have Tyler shoot right-handed. The first target is a
patch-qualifying target where you have to make a score of 35 or higher
with 5 shots to earn a patch. There are 4 rings, scored 7,8,9,10 from
the outside in. Yeah, so basically if you hit the target 5 times you
earn a patch. Tyler’s gun dry-fires once his first time and there’s
only 4 holes. Uggh. Instead of shooting a 5th shot we give him a new
target, and once again it dry-fires once. This time the instructor
(who, btw, was called ‘Santa’ because of his physical appearance) just
sent the target back down and had Tyler shoot it once more. 42! Yay,
a patch! We have to mail it in to get it, which means I have to
remember to give this to Teresa when we get home.
The boys’ then get open-fire and shoot their targets hundreds of shots… they love it.
last class for the day is Scientist, which is at a place called ‘The
Big House’. Picture an equilateral triangle with the top of it being
the parking lot, the bottom left corner the campsite, and the lower
right-side ‘The Big House’ and you get the idea. So we mosey over to
the Big House. Tyler learns about Bernoulli, Pascal, and some other
scientist dude that I don’t think Tyler could tell you about either.
The class was made fun by Andy, a boy with no gates between his brain
and his mouth, who said whatever came to mind, whenever it came to
mind, relevant or not. Keeping up with his mental leaps was
challenging and looking at people’s faces who are listening to him was
Another free-period afterwards. Tyler wants to do
both archery and swimming, and I explain there isn’t enough time for
two. He decides on swimming, so we go and he doesn’t really care for
Boy Scout swimming hole rules. Too many. No jumping, buddy checks, no
falling off the dock, stay on this side, don’t give your dad a
heart-attack by ducking down in the murky water and then shooting up
into the air right next to the metal dock kinda rules. And the fish
like nibbling on my moles. I hate that. Thunder saves me and my moles
with about 10 minutes left in the free-time. We mosey back to camp and
Tyler wants to do archery (his original plan). It IS right next to
camp, but we look and it’s full of boys, and Tyler’s heart is broken.
Turns out all the boys at Archery in that free-time got an archery
That night is hobo-meal night, since the
Webelos II boys and parents went to canoe 12 miles and spend the night
on an island. They got to throw all their equipment into a big trailer
before they left, so evidentally this is an island with a road leading
to it. It was also the camp staff’s night off, so our only dinner was
tossing a hamburgher, potatoes, onions and carrots into a tin-foil
sheet and tossing it on the fire. The only people in camp that had
gone to the meeting and learned the recommended way of doing it were
either on the island, or drove out to the store to get some more ice
and drinks. So we winged it, had the kids peel and cut the potatoes,
and the parents did the rest. Only 3 people put their names on theirs,
so it was hit-or-miss on what you got. It turned out pretty decent,
though, and I finished Tyler’s to make sure I had enough to eat… and
After dinner one of the Dad’s in camp took the boys to
show them fly fishing (Tyler got to reel it in once), and we wandered
around the lake. We also went up to see the obstacle course on top of
telephone poles, which was kind of insane, if you ask me.
opened the tentflaps a little that night, and slept without a shirt and
went back and forth between stifling hot, and shivering cold. Under
the sleeping bag covers was too hot, but out from them was too cold, so
I ended up half in and out… but I still think I slept better. I even
slept up until my phone alarm went off!
I roll out, poke
Tyler a few times and get him to get up and get his uniform on. Yeah,
no shower this morning, but we’re gonna make roll-call. I’m
determined! We do, and find out that we’re on the schedule for
cleaning the bathrooms today. The morning crew actually can’t do it in
the morning, and plan to do it right after lunch. We’ll join them, we
decide. How long could it take? Acutally I start trying to think of a
way of ducking out of it, but never came up with a good distraction.
was a lesser selection of bagels, oatmeal, cereal, and apples. I guess
they only had enough grits for 1 day. Too bad, I was looking forward
to those again. This day I learned that we’re actually in charge of
cleaning our tables, too, after the meal. Since only 4 of us ate at
them it isn’t too hard. Tyler is eager to help, too, spraying and
Our first activity is Craftsman (up past the
parking lot), where they name some tools, pound a handle on a pre-cut
shield, and sanded the edges. Oh, and colored it with chalk. Chalk!
Of course the most natural way of carrying it is with the chalk-side to
your body. Oh well. Tyler wants me to sketch the Halo 2 logo from
memory. He gets upset when I can’t do it. I promise him we’ll paint
it better at home. It’s the teacher’s last class day after being at
camp for 3 weeks. This one shows it.
Then we have Engineer
class (at the Big House). Once again, Andy makes this class fun. It
was even the same teacher as in the Scienctist class, Alex. Andy tells
us about a scuba ghost that murdered someone behind Council Rock. Alex
tells him that it’s just a dead beaver that died at the beginning of
the summer. Andy tells us no, it’s a deer. Later it’s a bear. A
shredded bear. Blood everywhere. As Alex is talking about different
kinds of power plants, Andy tells us that Beaver Dam is closed because
of the day the buildings fell down when they threw airplanes into it.
Engineering class runs long, but it is great fun. Thanks, Andy!
wants to do Archery, so we mosey on over there (next to our camp) and
Tyler gets to shoot until lunchtime. We’re the last ones to leave, and
help the range master put the equipment away.
Lunch was BBQ
sandwiches, with baked beans and chips. When seconds are announced the
entire place gets up and goes and gets seconds. I don’t, because Tyler
did and I figure I’m going to be eating what he doesn’t, and I’m
actually right. It isn’t a whole lot, though.
After lunch we go and
clean the bathrooms… twice. Well, I say twice because Tyler went in
with a toilet brush and comet and cleaned all the toilets, and I
cleaned the mirrors, and another dad cleaned the sinks. Then they
started cleaning the floors, which only really needed to be swept, and
maybe mopped. The other people helping us took a hose to the bathrooms, and sent the kids in with brooms and squigies (sp?). So everything had to be wiped down / cleaned again. We got back to our campsite, and had 20 minutes for class, Ropes and Bridges, back up past the bathroom. Uggh.
Tyler starts complaining on this walk of being a little dizzy. I know it’s not dehydration. We’ve been drinking water at every class and in between. He says it’s his tummy, maybe the milk he had with lunch. We didn’t get a quiet time today, and have moseyed from camp, to messhall, to bathrooms, to camp, to past bathrooms within 30 minutes. I pour some cold water over him and he feels a little better, and does great with the knots.
After knots, it’s Readyman, first aid, at … the Big House. Mosey, mosey, mosey. Tyler’s feeling better, and Andy is in this class, the last class of a three-week stint for the scout-teacher. This…was…the…longest…50…minutes…. even with Andy telling his stories. Andy and Tyler buddy up when the teacher asks for buddies and gives 1/2 the team bandages (Andy). The bandage-buddies are then told to bandage up the other half of the team because they have an injury that is bleeding. Tyler doesn’t tell Andy where his injury is, so Andy decides it is Tyler’s neck. After telling Tyler to tell Andy where he’s bleeding, Tyler tells him his arm. Andy makes him a sling. The teacher says, ‘Umm, ok, so I guess his arm was broken and the bone was sticking out causing it to bleed so you needed a sling to hold the arm….. er, whatever..’
Last free time, and Tyler wants to do BB-shooting (back up past the parkinglot). Mosey, mosey, mosey… Santa tells us that on the last bb-shooting he does the pieces of the Shooting Sports pin, and they’ll clean a gun afterwards, etc. So we shoot for a while and Tyler shoots like an ace, even with the wrong eye dominant. A whole crowd of people come in after the first shooting, and Santa cycles them up to the range to shoot, and Tyler sits down. Instead of sitting there, I tell Tyler that we can clean my .22 at home to earn the pin, and suggest starting to mosey back to get ready for dinner (I’m thinking we need to make roll-call). He’s cool with that, since he sees there won’t be any more shooting, and we mosey back and get dressed.
A cub-scout troop comes marching down the street in cadence, and half the camp thinks it’s time and they run out to the flag poles. It isn’t, and I look around and can’t find Tyler. He went with them. I go out and stand, early, in the hot sun with no breeze and sweat starts pouring down my face. Meh. It’s hot. Really hot.
We go to dinner and it’s ham, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. Tyler doesn’t like any of it. They hand out archery patches and shooting sports pins at dinner. Not really the patches and pins, but the form signed by a certified instructor. What? You need to be a certified instructor? Dang… Tyler could have gotten up and gotten those. We were in both places to get it done. He doesn’t seem to be torn up about it, so I don’t bring it up.
He goes to play on the playground with some other boys, and I go get my chair and head up there. I don’t take my camera because we have more than an hour until the final ceremony/show… but we stay at the playground up until showtime. Most of the others in our campsite are leaving that night, I learn. They continue to talk about their beds, air-conditioning and hot showers for the hour before the show. Meanwhile I de-bark a staff that Tyler found, and amaze the kids that I was able to do the entire thing. Tyler and I do go explore a trail that leads away from the playground, and decide it’s not going where he thought it was going to go so we turn around and go back.
The final ceremonies are neat, as they take groups of campers through a quest, where they track down the evil knights, toss nerf-balls… er, special magic special spheres at them, then run away and get the treasure.
We go back to the camp, and Tyler wants to go back up to the playground, but it’s too late and too far, so we go read instead, and soon turn our flashlights off to go to sleep. It rains, so I have to put the tent-flaps down and the night drags with the sound of rain on the tent.
In the morning Tyler says he wants Burger King French Toast sticks, and I walk up to get the car to load it in the camp. I pass the mess hall and I smell eggs and bacon. Man oh man… I drive into camp, load the car, and we head on home to Bruger King mini-buns (he changed his mind), decent showers, and air-conditioning. I weigh myself when I get home and I’ve lost 6 pounds.