one day you will wake up and you find yourself deep in the middle of life.
living fast and loud and find yourself not taking the time to make sure
important stuff on
your check list is not getting checked off.
it won’t take long to realize that
you are not prepared.
and so begins our story of scouting.
really it began 4 years ago with cub scouts.
i was in love from the first time he put his uniform on
we took 1 year off but something kept nagging at me to get back and I’m so glad i listened.
Though scouting is it’s own little iconic piece American dream,
I am learning that the real dream is just starting
now that we’ve crossed over to boy scouts.
don’t get me wrong.
we enjoyed the meetings and the projects and all the skills and socializing of cub scouts.
it was SO fun and i can definitely see the value in every bit of it.
and like every good thing – there comes an end of an era.
the belt loops, the cake bakes, pine derbies….
for all you cub scout moms & dad’s that don’t know yet – there’s a ceremony at the end of your
cub scouts adventure called the “Arrow of Light”.
truly, a rite of passage.
i put it up there with the those intangible, profound ideals
like those demonstrated in Norman Rockwell paintings…
those you saw in the movie Stand by Me or The Sand Lot.
the onion slicing ninjas creep in the background somewhere at those ceremonies.
yes, something is different and somehow it feels like everything has changed.
it’s the beginning of true boyhood.
you get to choose which boy scout troop your son will join.
isn’t that fantastic?
Every troop has their own “flavor” so it’s really whatever works for your family.
So when they “cross over” to boy scouts- the troop they’ve chosen
will send representatives to welcome your scout and dress them in their new neckerchiefs.
Maceo was like, “uh what are they doing to me”?
and i was with a giant lump in my throat, seeing these fine young men
take my son and don him with a new neckerchief.
Another glorious surprise…
the moms got together weeks before and purchased arrows
(these were from purchased fro a native american in the Southwest who makes them).
We then met again and made the arrow into a timeline
with different color embroidery string showing the
major accomplishments in the order the scout received them.
The boys have no idea that we were doing this so when they were presented
with them at the Arrow of Light ceremony it was that much more special.
Maceo really loved his.
So onto new beginnings.
2 meetings in and we’re at our first campout.
yep, dove in head first.
no, literally, our FIRST ever campout.
Hector and I just
weren’t aren’t camping people.
and THIS is why boy scouts is so important. CRUCIAL. VITAL.
i’m not being dramatic. no not me.
the thought that maceo would be pitching his own tent,
helping cook meals, setting up his sleeping arrangement, etc….
well it gave me hives.
literally like 3 hives on my face.
i know. I’m weak. it’s ridiculous.
sure he can be on the honor roll every quarter, earn a gold medal in piano,
spelling bee rockstar, and breaking boards with his feet…
but to be responsible for his very own life?
as i’ve said before…
you have to understand.
we have ONE child.
ONE child to get it right with and ONE child to mess it up with.
instruction manual not included.
but from the first time i walked into the meeting at our new troop,
i felt like it was a good choice.
a choice he needed.
Maybe all troops are like this? i don’t know.
but i could smell and feel the testosterone all around.
these are not little boys.
these are smart and capable young men.
ones that i wouldn’t mind my son following around.
so we get our little list of what he needs.
it was his first campout (in January no less) so we headed to academy.
and back to academy.
and last minute amazon prime.
and then we packed up and we went with him.
this is all just stuff for me and hubby– for one day/night.
it was literally close enough for hubby to go home and let the dog out
a couple times but that’s besides the point.
and like trained soldiers.
they got there and the tents came out and up.
and what we saw was shocking…
not only did maceo and his partner set up his tent— but they did it PERFECTLY with no help.
The whole operation was mind-blowing to me.
this little group of boys just packing their stuff, unpacking their stuff,
everyone with jobs and duties.
and it was beautiful.
firewood for campfire.
this is a 3 wash pot station. i can’t believe boys can actually wash their OWN dishes
and without running water in the woods. crazy talk.
Scoutmaster, Mr. Lowenstein, was the perfect balance of
knowledge, “get-r-done”, “stop goofing around”, and “good job” type of guy.
Exactly what these boys need and crave.
somehow i must just LOOK like a cook b/c i was invited to be Grubmaster.
i love that title!
It was a really fun job.
So you are allowed to pick the menu
(for this – it included lunch, dinner, breakfast, and lunch for 13 adults).
I chose pulled pork/potato salad for lunch,
chili/cornbread for dinner,
chorizo/egg & fruit for breakfast, and
cold cuts/sandwhiches for lunch.
Takes a lot of planning but i enjoyed it and i stayed on
budget which is not one of my strengths.
that and i was totally spoiled b/c the venue had a sink, running water, tables, and counter space.
The guys were very kind…they gave me tons of praise and offers of help!
hubby brought a camping stove we purchased a while back but have yet to use.
thing cooks like a BEAST!
it wasn’t easy fending off the boys with all the smell goods.
my mama heart wanted to serve them a nice cup but i stayed strong.
even when my own passed by and had a little pitiful face.
it was really good for him.
the boys started had a little free time to play.
the assistant scoutmasters manned different stations
teaching everything from knots, cooking with propane,
how to use an axe (yes my inner mama heart is screaming) and thank God– FIRST AID!
lots of man learnin’
scoutmasters set up all the necessary equipment in addition to
their own camping quarters, and still taught at their various stations.
I was really impressed with how the whole operation ran — and if you know me in real life–
that’s not easily earned.
very respectful boys
it was weird and funny to see my kid in another atmosphere.
i think i actually heard him put his order in….”i’ll have turkey, and bla bla….”
uh yeah. nobody cared.
which is EXACTLY why he needs to be here.
it was freaking F R E E E E E E E Z I N G.
im not one to complain about the cold.
heck i don’t even wear a coat 90% of winter.
but this was of the canadian, frosty variety.
Thank God for hand warmers.
and yet there were still kids in shorts!
i’ll chalk that up to raging hormones of youth.
after lunch….more learnin’ time
new recruits had a lot of learning to do
then fun stuff.
so many knots to learn in scouts.
those knots could save your life one day
tug of war
who knew you could do so much with ropes?
swinging water around…boy stuff
lots of 1-1 learning. i don’t know how they do it all.
time for the very very sharp axes. YIKES
i may or may not have been threatened to leave the area.
i may have nightmares about this but he loved it so that’s good
kids and axes? who knew?
dinner was tator tots and chicken tenders.
the boys got to choose their menu and then their grub master make it.
it was very simple but enough and
no one died.
i call that SUCCESS!
The older boys have a little bit better grasp on what
is hardy and good stuff to get.
they start their own fire for the campfire
and what fun!
they sat around telling scary stories, each patrol put on a skit,
they sung the “letter from camp/hello muddah” song (my heart almost exploded again), and
then the adults did their skit which was us singing “hotel california”
which i LOVED!
the kids who were raised right — listening to classic rock — got into it too.
Asst Scoutmaster Mr. Cartes made monkey bread
for the boys and they devoured it.
some kind of laser thing?
thank GOD for my very smart husband who
— may have never been a scout but has some good smarts–
bought this little gadget i named “wall-e”.
it was the difference of dying and living.
many buns were toasted.
hey I’m from the south – we aint’ used to this much cold!
then time for bed came and i wanted to die.
we all wanted to die.
this was the temp at 10:30.
it got colder. much much colder.
luckily i worked hard all day so i was tired out and pretty much passed out till 5am.
my outstanding hubby set up a lovely queen size bed/air mattress so we were comfortable.
we slept with FIVE blankets, coat on and it wasn’t enough.
hand warmers from amazon helped bring me back from hypothermia.
i got some from walmart too- they have sticky side that you can attach
to you feet and that helped save my toes from frostbite and all.
but it was just freaking cold.
i was so proud of maceo.
he never got up or came to get us.
he just endured it.
he said he was really mad about being so cold but
i told him to chalk it up to one of those character builders in life.
besides it’ll make for a grand fish tale later on…
“the first time i went camping….it was snowing….20 degrees…”
i heard him laughing when i woke up and i was so relieved.
i believe he was the first one up.
snuck over for a quick photo…but strictly no hugs, affection, or nice words spoken.
that would be un-manly and un-scoutly.
after breakfast it was time to pack up- not time to leave – just pack up.
pretty impressive to see some scouts packed up before breakfast with no coaxing or prodding.
i had my own tent packing service
more teaching and learning after packing up
hubby helped out with some law enforcement related material
i love this image.
it was strange to see my son let himself be disheveled,
hair not combed, and moments later
being tackled…but smiles all the way.
this is why scouting is so important for boys.
we don’t live in a world where boys spend hours and hours outside
exploring, learning, testing their hair-raising ideas, walking the fine line between
emergency room and exciting adventure.
they need leadership and positive role models to help this process.
we’re only 2 meetings and 1 camp in but i think this is going to be a good thing.
I’m very impressed with what boys scouts seeks to teach young boys.
i wonder if the organization and parents realize exactly that children are receiving from this.
it’s mind boggling to me.
this is necessary and vital to becoming a true boy and later a knowledgeable man.
we will never get this time back- the time to lay this foundation.
don’t get me wrong… it’s still going to take me time to make the adjustment
but i have much peace in knowing that
we are on the road to being prepared.
we will be well prepared.