Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Winter Camp as seen by a Leader of Beavers

The weekend started with frustration. I was supposed to be leaving work at 3 pm. We had things to do and I’d cleared it with my boss. Unfortunately, 3 came and went and I was still slaving over the latest URGENT URGENT RUSH RUSH GOTTA GET THIS OUT THE DOOR OR THE COMPANY IS DOOOOOOOOOOOMED change that they waited until the very last minute to foist upon me. ‘Sokay, whatever. I was out of here at 3:30. Plenty of time to get the running around I needed done. Except that things kept creeping up. And then I forgot my shirt (which I ended up not *really* needing.) I’m not trying to set a frustrating tone for the entire weekend, I’m just saying that the time until we got to camp was, while not immersed, I’d say lightly dipped in frustration.

The second I stepped into the lodge where we would all be sleeping, all of that frustration was swept away and I was transported back into the heyday of my youth when I would be the one wearing the silly hat (as a Cub OR a Beaver – we had funny hats for both, back then) and I wanted nothing more than to go and play. And play I did. As soon as we were squared away (thanks, Rob, for the hand with the bags), we were off in the trailer, pulled by Akela’s RV. Around a couple corners and into the slightly-snowy tobogganing hill. That’s right, there was snow there. You know, white stuff, little chilly, good for throwing at Cubs… The first bunch of attempts to go down the hill were met with good-natured frustration and failure. Then Rob had the genius idea of turning the krazy karpet over and sliding on the dull side. Face first. I tried it. The bottom of the hill was lined with some shrubs which met my face.

Next it was off to camp opening and then bed for Beavers. I became acquainted with a swede-saw as I had to lop the front corners off a bunch of Kub Kars to turn them into something the Beavers could race the next day. Then I carved my own and it was off to bed.

The next morning started with a breakfast prepared (as I’m sure all of you know by now) by a professional chef. Scrambled eggs are amazing when you mix them with Cream of Mushroom soup. Who knew? Anyway, after that was a long hike down to the lake for a quick game of tag and a return trip to the lodge and mess hall for morning snack.

While the Beavers went off with Rob and Rainbow to make candles, I sanded down the Beaver Kars that I had cut the night before. Splinter + Beaver = tragedy. The cars were painted and the time after lunch was dedicated to Valentine’s craft, which I was once again not a part of, because I was helping to fix the Kub Kar track.

After lunch it was back down to the lake (on the trailer) for some Mega-boggan fun. It was a little disconcerting to hear the ice cracking underneath and I had a couple of Dead Zone moments, but nothing went wrong (aside from the boggan breaking and requiring a little fixey-fixey) and a good time was had by all.

It was during this sojourn that I decided my time of throwing snowballs was done. Three snowballs left my hands and three Cub/Beavers ended up in tears, the results of my missile-projection dripping down their faces. I’m such a jerk. Ah well, I paid for it the next day when one of the cubs walked right up to me and threw a snowball right in my junk – three times. I guess it’s a little more physically demanding than a “Hail Mary” but it gets the point across.

Supper that night was smoked pork loin and spaghetti with the now-infamous salmon sauce. I passed on the salmon and went for the meat sauce. I’ve never been much for fish.

The Scouting-Car rally came next and I was allowed to do the announcing. The kids were pretty excited. I made them all name their cars and the tournament was underway. Beavers fell by the wayside until one stood victorious. It was Spider-Car.

Next, the Cubs had their tournament. Again, I was announcing. Finally, Baby-Blue Crew won the Cub tournament.

In the end, it was a grudge match between Beavers and Cubs. This had transcended mere racing. The battle was on between the younger beavers and the Cubs who could throw farther, run faster and do more. None of that matters on the race-track, though, and that was apparent at the finish line where Spider-Car made a mockery of Baby-Blue Crew and there was much celebration among the Beavers at the expense of the Cubs.

Campfire was fun. There was the usual assortment of skits and songs and I even got up in front of everyone to do a rousing round of “Down by the bay” (not to be confused with “Sitting on the dock of the bay” – that wouldn’t have won many Cubs or Beavers over). Big thanks to Nicholas for the first “Did you ever see a” because his was the only hand in the air when I asked for a line. That opened things up and it seemed like everyone had a line. Even with the last one: “Did you ever see a cub… um… doing that thing like this!”

Sunday saw another fantastic breakfast, a trip to the lake, cleanup and the long drive home. There were a few frustrations on Sunday and all of us (Lillian aside – she’s a real champ) felt the effects of a weekend of cramming too much stuff into too little time. Still, I was glad to be a part of it and I’ll definitely get out for Spring camp at Evansburg, which I thought was in Pennsylvania but is apparently in Alberta.


Dylan said...

I'm sure this was an interesting post, but I was stuck on two things:

1) You forgot your shirt? Some nipple action is NOT always good in a story.

2) They let you play with knives? Poor, deluded fools.

Sean Woods said...

"This is how you divide frozen burgers!"

Liam J. said...

Yeah. I told them about it and everything.

Ironic moment: As I was dragging my knife across the car, they were having a knife-safety moment when Akela showed off his scar.

He's got nothing on me.

domesticvixen said...

You were awesome. The cubs were singing "Down by the Bay" all day Sunday... I think they like you.

Liam J. said...

Yeah, kids like me. It's because I'm the only grownup they know where they actually have to stoop to my level.

Liam J. said...

And Dylan: The shirt was the Beaver Leader uniform shirt. And I went back and got it anyway.

Baron Von Cliff said...

"Dammit, I'm a mountain man! I require no shirt!"

Sounds like a fun weekend. I remember Kub Kars, and the ridiculously outsized track for them. Aaah, good times.

And the idea of salmon sauce is indeed disturbing, and I DO like fish.

Liam J. said...

I've realized that I'm a reasonably good beaver leader because the kids like me. It has nothing to do with (mainly because I possess) any skills in the wilderness.

Baron Von Cliff said...

Do they like you, or do they fear your ability to draw tears, and possibly blood, with vicious snowball strikes?