Friday, June 13, 2014

Twilight Camp

It's probably not going to be shocking when I confess that I am not super excited about being in places that require bug spray and allergy meds, wearing a uniform, or being surrounded by 400 little boys.  But...that's how I spent my week.  After I dropped three girls and a set of crutches off at a muddy trek site, I transformed into a walking den leader for McKay's little pack of Webelos at Twilight Camp.  3:30-9:00pm Monday through Friday.  

Five little boys in matching yellow t-shirts piled into my van armed with buckets full of day camp necessities...water bottles, neckerchiefs to distinguish them from all the other little boys in yellow t-shirts, lunches, hats, and swaps!  

Swaps are little trinkets (either homemade or store bought) that the boys bring to trade with each other.  They collect as many as possible and pin them onto their hats.  By the end of the week, most of the boys are covered in swaps.  
last year's swaps...we made the little boots at the top
this is last year's hat covered in swaps (holy cow! look how little McKay was)
This year, we made a cute little sushi swap.  (You just never know what's going to catch the interest of a 10-yr-old boy.)  These were really fun and easy to make, and apparently a big hit with the other 10-year-old boys.  By the end of the week we saw lots of sushi swaps walking around camp on boys' hats.  
I have to say, as reluctant as I was to actually put on my camp shirt and go hang out in the wilderness with Cub Scouts, it wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated.  These camps are amazingly organized.  The boys spent the week rotating through projects and activities directed by trained volunteers.  They were scheduled down to the minute every single day.  All I really had to do was follow them around and assist with an occasional hammer or glue stick.  
Ring Toss wood project
Noodle Wars
BB Shooting (that's my little bandit second from the left)
Astronomy (that's a telescope in McKay's lap...that he actually assembled)
And this was my favorite project of the week...Game Boxes!
On Monday, the boys drew templates on a wood box and colored them with Sharpie markers and turned them into multi-functional, portable game sets.  On one side there is a Tic-Tac-Toe board.  One the other is a checker/chess board.  And inside is a backgammon board.  The boys received checker/backgammon pieces and Tic-Tac-Toe pieces with their boards on the first day.
 On Wednesday, they made their own chess pieces out of nuts and bolts.  So cool! 
And then on Friday, they had a chess tournament.  By the end of the week, 400 boys had earned their chess belt loop and academic pin, and part of their Craftsman requirements from just this one little game set.  And they loved it!  

I actually really enjoyed hanging out with my little Webelos this week.  They are smart and funny and get along with each other really well.  Twilight Camp wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.  The weather was blissfully tolerable.  I was able to spend a whole lot of time bonding with McKay in a way that we typically don't get to.  And I did things I didn't think I could do.  Who knew that I would willingly let 30 boys attack me with pool noodles?  Who knew that I could learn to ignore grasshoppers even while I ate my lunch?  Who knew that I would be completely unphased by the tarantula that crawled through our little woodworking site?  I know the girls did some really hard things on trek, but I did some pretty hard things this week, too.  It was a week filled with personal victories!  

There is so much work that goes into Cub Scouts.  I'm so grateful for people who aren't deterred by a little heat and a few grasshoppers, and who sacrifice countless personal hours to make Twilight Camp happen.  And I am in awe of the ones who do it year after year after year.  

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