Two weeks ago we signed Z up for Boy Scouts. I know - we did not need one more thing on our plate but this was important. Z is a cheerleader. He has been begging to do scouts for years! He identifies it as a "boy thing" (like cheering isn't?!?!). In reality he just needed to do something that the kids in his class were doing, and this is what he picked. Well you know how it goes, one signs up for an activity and immediately the other wants to do it too. Off we were to find a Girl Scout Troop. In the lats two weeks we have signed up for both genders of scouts. I have sewn on countless patches and have more to sew on.
Right off the bat there's a family camp out with Boy Scouts. Really?!?!?! Who has time for a family camp out right after the registration drive? Oh well, I'm a trooper and can pull this off. Besides, they're doing the food so that takes a huge chunk of responsibility off of me. My van is still packed from last weekends scrap night (really because I'm hopeful to do another one real soon and not because I'm just to lazy to take it out. who am I kidding - laziness was totally a factor) so we take Nate's little SUV type car. Neither of us were sure that the equipment would fit, but without food items it should. Friday - after a full day of school, a DI meeting, and a ballet class - we packed the suit cases and the car. We were off and I kept thinking about how I would definitely relax this weekend. It's the Boy Scouts - aren't they always prepared? The car trip out to camp was pretty uneventful unless you count the flying nuggets incident. Bless their little hearts! Z and A had set up a little table with the arm rest in the middle of the seat for dinner. They had their chicken nugget boxes set up there and their drinks in the cup holders. Just as we were getting at cruising speed up 183 a light changed to red. It would have been fine, but the yellow was short and the speed limit was somewhere near 60 mph. Next thing we know those little chickens are in flight! It was the best flight they ever had. We had to turn on the dome light and chase those little rascals down! We found one under the sun visor, and another cowering under the cup holder. Several were clustered under my seat. It was funny! If you have never had to chase down flying chicken nuggets going 60 miles an hour with a car full of camping equipment you should. It's hilarious!
After driving for an hour or so in complete darkness we come up to the camp grounds. A beautiful rock gate welcomes you to Canyon of the Eagles, and then there are little dirt paths off the main road to the various camp grounds. Of course we have no idea where to meet out party, but we're here. I'm sure we'll find a group of boy scouts somewhere. The first camp sights we find have little tags with names on them. Certainly not us - we're with a group. Then one of the tags says "GS". Ok so maybe we're looking for "BS"? We get to the end of the first set of camp grounds and we find the "GS" as suspected there are a ton of Girl Scouts hanging out, fire going, and all that fun stuff. Great! A is asleep. Her troop will not be camping this year because they are kindergarteners. Don't tell her that Girl Scouts camp, because she'll want to go. Finally we head to a place marked for group camping.
It was amazing! There was a ring of tents with a fire pit in the center field and a lantern in a tree. Boys are running everywhere, marshmallows are being roasted. It's AMAZING! We get out of the car and look for an open spot for a tent. Several dads come over, introduce them selves and offer to help. The tent is up in no time! The car is unloaded quickly. I was as if we had always been part of the group. I do note that we are under prepared. We forgot the folding chairs. Oh well, there are logs and things.
Our neighbors introduce themselves and it turns out that they are in our den. Fantastic! Someone we'll be getting to know this year. The mom is Sabrina. We get to talking and our sons have the exact same educational story. It's like we were destined to meet. Finally someone who knows what it's like to go through what we've been through. What I find out over the course of the weekend is that not only do our sons have things in common so do our families. They have a kindergratener as well. They love to camp and do outdoor things. They go to the Renaissance festival, dressed up. She sews and scrapbooks. They read. It's like our families have been living similar lives just a few short blocks away. I feel at home. It's no longer lonely.
The den leader is so much fun! His name is Mark, and being a den leader is certainly his calling. You can tell he wants the best for the boys. He planned out a fun hiking event for the den, and encourages them to be their best at all times. His method of discipline is push ups which is great. Then there's Mr. Rocha. Now this is one of those people that when I start describing him you will get an idea in your head and it will be spot on. Mr. Rocha was a Boy Scout his entire childhood. He then joined the Marine Corp where he had a successful career. Mark says that when Mr. Rocha came they took on specific roles. Mr. Rocha is bad cop and Mark is good cop. I get to be the teacher at your future school that you don't want to upset. The boys are great though. They were a lot of fun through out the weekend.
Learning experience though. When they say food is provided, that does not include plates or anything. Good news is that other families had extra to get us through. I did do a Wal-Mart run though. Just easier that way and gave Z time with his buddies without A hanging around. Though I will say that A found her little group of friends and was off. There were actual moments where I almost forgot I was a mom. I might have actually been able to go to the bathroom without someone trying to find me. There was one dad who didn't. Made my heart laugh when his little boy was beating on the door to the port a potty because he needed to go and couldn't go in the one that was open (spider in the toilet). He didn't believe me that he could knock the spider down with his pee and be fine. The older boys were excited to try it.
So I mentioned a hike with the boys. Mark had received a secret scavenger hunt from Willie the Ghost of the camp. Ironically the stations of the hike were the exact things Z needed to do to earn his first patch and get caught up with the den. We get started and station 2 requires us to climb over part of a fence. We get all the kids over without incident. On the 4th parent, Sabrina, and there's an incident. She comes off that log over the fence, twists her ankle and as to go back to camp. Now when we left Sabrina she was just calm and saying that she needed to rest the ankle. When we get back from the hike we learn that she had to go to the hospital. About 4 hours later we learn that the ankle is broken and she'll be in a temporary cast. OK. She gets major mommy points for not crying in front of the boys and sending them on the hike. Then she gets major mommy points for coming back to camp and finishing the camp out. She might be a greater mommy than I (and she's my new friend that I can really see her being a new best friend. I had prayed for this lately - long story).
Here's the greatest thing. Sabrina and John took off for the hospital knowing that their kids were on a hike with the den. They knew that they didn't have to worry about the kids and that they were cared for. Our den banded together and just went about the camp out without missing a beat. I took care of the mommy stuff - eating. Mark took care of the boy things like dressing in the scout uniform in time for camp fire. The kids had no worries, and they were just a blessing in my day. They responded to redirection when needed. Took care of everything. J and Z hooked up as buddies, and D and A hooked up as buddies. They stayed where they were supposed to and played. It was wonderful! I feel that I can trust my kids in the hands of any of the den parents.
Camp fire was fun. Each den got to do a skit or jokes or whatever they wanted. Lots of singing and joking between acts. The scout masters were funny. Our den was the best act of course ;) They built a totem pole of heads as they told a joke. The jokes of course were boy jokes. Lots of potty humor.
One of the things they did on this camp out was earn their astronomy belt loop and pin. The Austin Astronomical Society was out with their telescopes showing people all sorts of cool things. The kids got to see Venus, Pluto and 4 moons, a ring nebula, and how a telescope works. The boys loved it. Hint - when driving up to a star gazing party only use your running lights and not your head lights. They blind the people looking through the telescope.
Honestly it was a great trip and I look forward to many more scouting functions. I could get used to having a network of friends like this.