Day four of Cub Scout Day Camp is done! It has been a long week hanging outside in the heat all day, using port-a-potty’s and packing lunches. At the end of the day, my feet hurt and I am tired. I am jointly responsible for watching over 6 boys and am asked to pitch in to help with another 5 or so in our camp den.
Today went a bit slower than the previous days. There were no fish caught today, no BB bullseyes…but just when you think there will be no milestones, something happens! Today the big advancement was in archery. My son got his first bullseye! Then, even though he is one of the littlest guys on the range, he chose to shoot the big recurve bow at longer distance. I was proud when he got a few arrows on the target!
Summer day camps are an interesting experience. The first day or so is hard to adjust to the new schedule or physical stresses like weather or activity level. About mid-week you start to get the hang of it and then by the end of the week a part of you feels you will miss your new routine and seeing the same friends every day.
Tomorrow, we bring all the children to camp for family day. I am still nervous that my little guy is going to find his way to the BB gun range, the fishing pond or the archery range. Fingers crossed he will stay on the playground!
Another day outside at camp! Mom is getting sore but my son is still going relatively strong. He arrived sleepy this morning and took a nap in our wagon. At the end of the day, he fell asleep on the bench during crafts!
Highlights today include hitting the archery target by himself, catching yet another fish (a huge catfish the instructor had to help reel in!) and hitting a bullseye twice on the BB gun range!
It has been interesting to watch the learning process in the scouts. My son went from scoring a zero on the BB gun range on his first day to two bullseyes on the third day. It took some experimentation from his instructors to realize that he was shooting on his non-dominant side and he needed to steady himself on the shooting table to “fire from rest.” Once we unlock how we learn best, there is no limit to what we can do.
As I work with the other boys, I find it is very common that even the brightest among them struggle with handwriting. They use interesting language to teach each other how to do certain physical skills, like handling an arrow or shooting a gun. They describe to each other the movements they need to make to be successful.
There are a few boys that struggle with following directions or obeying orders from adults. I have increased sympathy for this problem from working with my own boys. I try to let them know that we like having them there and that we want them to stay in camp but they need to follow the rules. It is curious to me that whether given a gentle approach like I usually do or a harsher, more authoritarian approach, like some of the other leaders, it doesn’t seem to make much difference. If the boy is not motivated himself to do a certain behavior, it often doesn’t get done.
My daughter who reads this blog informed me that readers are probably curious where she, her older sister and our littlest one are this week. They are having their first ever babysitting job watching my littlest one! The camp is a very short 10-minute drive from my home and I check in with them periodically. So far, they are learning that watching children is a lot of hard work and are demonstrating great maturity which is a learning experience in itself.
We added a new camp to our summer rotation this year…Cub Scout Day Camp! We are a relatively new scouting family so none of us has any experience with this camp. Naturally, I, the least skilled person in matters of archery, shooting sports and fishing, am the scout leader for our pack for this expedition! Also, as the least experienced camp person, the boys also let me know what I am supposed to be doing. Many of them have been to camp for years.
It seems a common problem in scouting in 2019 that the people with all the scout skills are also the people who work full-time to support their families. That leaves a pool of eager but unskilled volunteers to do the actual scouting work with the children. Fortunately, there are a couple of key skilled volunteers to help at each station.
Today, the boys and I struggled in the heat going from station to station. A common refrain from the boys was “When is this over? I want to go home to my Xbox/Fornite/computer.” But by the end of the day, they were having a rousing game of 20 questions and getting excited about shooting BB guns.
I came home exhausted and took a good nap. But we are ready to pack up and do it all again tomorrow!