Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Camp YaWannaMaybeShower?

Ah, summer.  A time for exploration, fun, and learning --- at camp.  This childhood right of passage continues in our household.  Both boys are signed up for a few different camps so that we, as parents, don't have to come up with songs and crafts and daily entertainment designed to tire them out and use up all that boy energy.  That job is delegated to some weary adult volunteers and kids who are barely older than my own.  But it means a few hours of time to myself, or time with only one half of the Brawl Brothers, so I'm alright with that.

My youngest goes to Cub Scout Day Camp.  He comes home telling me what they did at each station: arts and crafts, engineering, archery, BB guns, swimming, etc.  Apparently they had a helicopter land in the field today and a demonstration of police and K-9 dogs!  All part of the planned activities, don't worry... well, as far as I know... come to think of it, that Timmy is a troublemaker.  Anyway, I guess it beats the entertainment they had the first day when Logan exclaimed, "Today there was a mime.  She sucked."  I answered, "Why would you say that?" and he said "She kept talking".  Ah, well, yes, you might have a point there.  In any case, my youngest packs his backpack each day with the necessary supplies.  Hat, sunscreen, towel, swimsuit, goggles, lunch, canteen - you get the picture.  He can figure this all out on his own and he rarely forgets an important item.

Now, my oldest... well, it's always interesting.  Zack is signed up for his second year of Boy Scout Camp where he will be gone for an entire week. You may not know the ways of the Boy Scouts, but they encourage the campers to be responsible and pack their own bags, without parental help aside from a little oversight and verbal guidance.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I was practically sitting on my hands last year,  itching to jump in and fold things and pack them away perfectly into his giant duffel bag, like olive-colored Tetris pieces.  And how do you convince a child that they will need extra clothes when they insist they've got enough?  Our conversation went something like this:

Z:  OK, I've got everything.
Me:  You only have 3 pairs of underwear.
Z:  Yeah.
Me:  Aren't you gone for 7 days?
Z:  Uh huh.
Me:  Well, you do the math.  How many more pairs of underwear do you need for after the showers?
Z:  They don't have showers.  You use a bucket of water to wash off.
Me:  Excuse me????  Then take some wet wipes to clean yourself and pack some more pairs of undies.
Z:  I won't need them.
Me:  Just humor me!

And when he was away at camp, someone was kind enough to take pictures of the boys during the week and upload them onto their Troop website.  This is an example of what I saw:

This picture doesn't even look like my son.  The dirt has changed his facial features.  He's probably shlepping some of their "bathing water" right there, but I know for a fact that he didn't use it.  He came home with that same dirt smudge on his face 4 days later.  And that shirt never did give up its stains no matter how many loads of OxiClean laundry I put it through.

But here's the kicker:  He only had 2 pairs of Boy Scout olive green socks.  Each day's batch of pictures showed him wearing those green socks so I was cringing.  Two pairs of socks in one week in those kind of dirty conditions???  When would I see him wearing the extra white ones he'd packed?  Well, my answer came when I finally dumped his duffel bag onto the floor of the garage after he returned home.  From the bottom of the bag came 6 perfectly rolled balls of socks, scampering out like frightened little hamsters.  This included one pair of olive green socks.  Yep.  He wore ONE pair of nasty socks the ENTIRE WEEK!  They could've walked themselves home.  He said he couldn't reach to the bottom of the duffel bag to find the extra socks, and they didn't have enough time to change so he just grabbed what he could find.  Ohhhh myyyy.......

I remember a parent laughingly advising us to put a $10 bill at the bottom of the soap container to see if he'd even notice.  I'm pretty sure I can skip that step.  Why even pack soap when we both know it'll never see the light of day.  But I cringe because this year he's signed up for Horsemanship...  Followed by Cooking.  Uh huh.  You can see where I'm going with this.  This year in addition to the dirt, he may return home with some additional friends.  I'll introduce you to a few of them: Valley Fever, Hanta Virus, Swine Flu, SARS, Ebola, Rickets... 

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