Thing I learned from WEBELOS camp
I’ve tried not to get to personal with this blog. However, I feel the time has come to share some of my personal experiences. This year was my second time taking my son to WEBELOS camp. This is what I learned at WEBELOS camp.
Preparing for camp
Being my second year at camp I thought packing would be easy. I’d bought a 5 gallon jug for water. I knew what clothes to bring. I even got extra batteries for my fans and flashlights. Heck I even trusted my son to pack his own clothes.
I figured packing the day before would be quick and simple. It’s always a good idea to have everything packed and ready to load the night before you leave.
As I went on my standard early morning grocery trip Saturday morning with my wife I picked up a few things I needed going though a mental check list. I bought extra batteries. A toothbrush holder. Thinking we had sunscreen and bug spray at home I skipped that. Oops that was a mistake. More on that later.
I got home, and checked my battery packs for charging my phone. Thank you Steven Harris for those. Then I started laundry and began packing my new duffle bag. I had never used it but figured it was big enough and came with straps to carry at a backpack or duffle bag so it was going to be great. Turns out it was the one thing I didn’t have to worry about.
As I was packing and looking for stuff I realized my kids had used up all the sunscreen and bug spray. I should have bought some at the store. So another trip to the store.
By the end of the day I had everything ready to go. Only one small problem. I was having trouble breathing. I had asthma since I was a kid. It’s not very bad. In fact I hadn’t needed an inhaler for months. Normally a little allergy medicine and some caffeine and I’m good to go. Didn’t think anything off it. I was ready to go. It was going to be a great trip.
First thing I learned.
Sunday morning while making breakfast I realized I was still having trouble breathing. This was a big problem. I couldn’t see a doctor get an inhaler and make camp on time. So much for planning for everything. I scrambled to find something over the counter that would help. Get breakfast made, and pack the car.
I did succeed. However I learned that if you have any sort of medical problems no matter how small expect them to happen as you are leaving for your trip.
We had another parent who had been fighting a swollen ankle the week before camp. As its expected it came back right before he left.
The lesson is, it’s better to have medicine you don’t need then need it and not have it.
The road trip to camp.
Everyone that was going meet together to caravan down to camp. By the map it was going to take us 1 hour and 45 minutes. I had printed out maps and directions. Then I talked to one of the parents who had worked at the camp. He volunteered to lead us down. This was great I didn’t even have to worry about GPS, maps or anything. Just follow the leader. However the problem was he took a different route.
We still made it with 3 minute quicker than planned. The only problem is we had 15 cars going. As I was the second car is was hard to see where everyone was. We never broke the speed limit so I trusted everyone was behind use somewhere. However, thinking back on it, we all should have phone numbers for everyone driving. That way if someone got lost or was dragging behind we could call and make sure everything was ok. With 15 cars it can be nerve racking when you only see 5 or 6 cars in your rearview mirror and your not sure they are all with your caravan. Just another lesson I learned from WEBELOS camp. Always make sure you have numbers and a way to communicate with your whole group.
The First evening at Camp
Check in went perfect. There where no problems. We all had our medical forms filled out. Everything couldn’t have gone smoother. After a short trip to our campsite to grab our swimming gear we all headed for the pool, for swim tests.
This is where I learned my next lesson. As a former high school life guard I don’t think much of swim tests. In fact I pretty much hate them. I know I can swim. Well, I thought I could swim. After standing in line for a long time it was my time to test. As you guessed it. I’m out of shape. Well I’m a shape, round is a shape. After swallowing water more than once, having a hard time catching my breath and barely making it out of the pool after 4 laps. I passed the swim test. It was rough. I learned I need to get into shape if I’m going to keep up with these boys.
After the swim test we had time to set up camp. Which is where I found out my son needs to learn to change and move faster. After waiting for him for over 10 minutes we where one of the last one back to camp. This meant we got last pick of places to put our tent up. Lucky for me many of the other boys didn’t put much thought into where they set up their tents. This gave me a shady almost flat spot to set up. The problem I realized as camp went on, is there wasn’t any air flow around my tent. This made the almost 100 degree weather pretty hard to deal with. Yet again, I learned to consider air flow and shade when setting up a tent.
The rest of the night went great. Dinner was good. The opening campfire was amazing. By lights out I was ready to relax and try to get some sleep. I had my battery powered fans on, and was as cool as I could get when it’s still 90 degrees out.
One small problem. All the medicine I’d taken had me a wake. Of course the heat didn’t help either. So as I tried sleep all night I learned one more lesson at WEBELOS camp. Drinking lots of water is a must when active in the heat. Trying to sleep more than a few hours when you’ve drank 3 or 4 gallons of water all day, isn’t going to happen. I also realized after my 3rd time up to go to the bathroom that I should have brought sandals to put on so I didn’t have to fumble with shoes every time.
The First Whole Day
The first day was great. My early morning trip to the shower was peaceful. As I got up before most of the camp to make sure I had warm water. It was refreshing and gave me a great start to the day.
After breakfast we have three different classes that the boys went to. They worked on requirements for Arrow of Light electives. I’m not going to get into what they worked on because it didn’t teach me anything new.
Right before lunch our boys got to the BB gun range. Which they where excited about. It was great to see that they treated BB guns just like any other fire arm. Although they didn’t teach these boys about proper marksmanship. Baby steps I guess. You can’t shoot well if you aren’t being safe with a gun.
After lunch I was watching some of our boys clean up the dinning hall. This is expected of them. However what I learned is my son who “forgets” to take his dishes to the sink at home, has no problems helping clean up 4 whole tables at camp. This of course got me wondering what’s the difference? The only thing I can think of is my son has no problem doing what everyone else is doing. He just doesn’t want to it when I tell him to.
The afternoon consisted of working on more requirements. While ending up the afternoon at the Archery range. Yet again they did great with teaching safety. As I walked back to the main camp grounds to figure out what I was going to do before dinner in an hour I learned one of the biggest lessons I’d learned all day. Walking on gravel and grass is not the same as walking on pavement.
Now I normally walk over 4-5 miles in a day. Plus I am used to be on my feet all day and half the night. However by 5pm, my legs where very sore. In fact they hurt and all I wanted to do was sit down. This of course was due to the uneven ground I’d been walking on all day. Most people don’t think about the differences but my legs sure told me there where some.
After dinner the had the lake front open and both BB Gun and Archery ranges open. Being as I really wasn’t in the mood to get wet. Although I should have been being as it was over 100 degrees out. I decided to go try archery. I don’t do archery at home as guns are expensive enough. As I was having fun being the only person who made the long trek out to the ranges my son found me. Turns out he was willing to walk all the way out to the range just to get his swim tag. I guess he really wanted to take a kayak out on the lake.
Which taught something else. My son won’t even pick up his laundry on the floor next to the hamper, but he will walk half a mile to get a swim tag so he can spend 2 hours paddling a kayak around a lake. I guess the lesson is motivation and how to get a 10 year old motivated. Which has really has been the big lesson for the day. What does it take to motivate a 10 year old boy to do work?
The Last day of Camp
I woke up to a cloudy slightly cooler morning. Showered and dressed, I went about packing up my gear. We where leaving that night and had no need to have our gear out for the day. As I was packing up the clouds got worse and the air got thicker. We got all packed up and to the dinning hall for breakfast before it started raining.
The downfall is no one expected it to rain. In fact we where all so sure it wouldn’t rain almost no one brought rain gear. This is a lesson I’ve learned many times and actually contemplated bringing a rain coat. But figured I wouldn’t need it because the weather was for hot and humid all week. So once again, I learned that you should also bring a rain coat or poncho, no matter what.
As the rain stopped mid morning the rest of the day was much like the first day. With working on requirements and some free time in the afternoon.
We had a closing campfire, right before we left. The campfire was amazing. On any normal night I would have had a great time, however I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. Which means it was a long campfire as I was really wanted to get home.
After campfire we got on the road home. This is where I learned one last thing. Since it was late at night I wanted to be able to stop at a gas station mid trip. So I took a different route home. According to Mapquest it should have been a longer trip. I learned that with a slight fudging of the speed limit even with a stop we got home in the same time as it took us to get to camp. Mapquest isn’t always right on their time frames.
What I learned from WEBELOS camp
There are lots of things I learned from WEBOLOS camp this year. Starting with even if you don’t think you’ll need it make sure you have any medication you’ve had just in case. Along with packing medication, make sure you have new bottles of sunscreen and bug spray. Don’t trust that ones you bought at the beginning of the summer are still full.
Plan more multiple routes to you destination, and know them all. Along with that if you have multiple vehicles going, have a way to communicate with all of them during the trip.
Don’t expect that because you where once in shape to do something you are still in that shape. Go easy and test yourself so you know you can handle it before you get yourself into trouble. This includes walking on surfaces you don’t normally walk. If you only ever stay on pavement you may want to walk a little less than normal because dirt isn’t that same.
Kids will surprise you on how hard they will work when they want to. Some of the laziest kids will work hard when all their friends are doing it. It’s amazing what will motivate a child to walk 1/2 a mile just to paddle a kayak. When the same child can’t pick a t-shirt and move it 2′ to a close hamper.
Last but most important always without doubt plan for bad weather. No matter how sunny or warm the forecast bring rain gear and something warm. You can’t always trust the weatherman and storms and cold weather appear out of nowhere.