Friday, July 12, 2013

Camping...but without the tents....

Well, the boys have completed their one and only week of camp for Summer 2013, at a local private resort--I mean "school"...and seem to be none the worse for wear from their adventures. Of course, for Riley the whole thing resembled one long stretch of extra-special recess, with the highlights being daily Ultimate Frisbee games, swimming in the on-campus lake, and time set aside for exploration of the surrounding natural environment. (Bonus: he encountered any number of toads--his current most-favoritest animal EVER--to observe and admire during his rambles.) In addition, he was plied with snacks and hot lunches, courtesy of the cafeteria, and was able to hang out with several of his soccer and school buddies who were also attending the session. Pretty. Nice. Deal.

Derek, on the other hand, would have you believe that his stint seemed more like, say, court-ordered Work Camp. (Not that we'd know anything about that...except what I've picked up from watching many episodes of Law & Order...) In order to earn Volunteer Hours required for high school graduation in this state, he participated in 5 days of projects, for which he would be awarded credit for, um, "time served", if you will. Now, before you think how mean this is, to force a young teenager to (gasp) labor away his free hours in the Summertime (which incidentally is exactly how Derek saw it) let me just tell you how much his attitude rebounded when he learned that at least seven people he knew would be joining him for the trial and tribulation. So yes, he had a posse to share the burden, and all was well with the world. And they got to experience some interesting stuff, like tending the school's organic garden. (Although when I picked the carpool up that day, one of Derek's friends sputtered, "I thought it would be, like, pulling weeds, but it was...farming!" Ha! I refrained--barely and with great effort--from lecturing them about how connecting with the soil and nurturing greenery is nourishing to one's soul, blah blah blah. Had it been just my own kids in the car, they totally would have gotten the full presentation of that speech, so they dodged a bullet they didn't even know about, lucky them!)

The adolescent crew also washed buses one afternoon, (which I can only imagine involved an enormous amount of general horsing around...and spraying each other with hoses). Another day they visited a retirement home to make cookies and chat with the residents. (Derek reported that while waiting for the treats to come out of the oven, the senior citizens...fell asleep. Well, look at it this way: they got freshly baked, warm cookies, PLUS a nap! To me, this sounds like a huge W-I-N! Let this be a lesson: opportunities to serve others can take many forms, my son...) A trip to Antietam National Park allowed them to assist the rangers with "wildflower restoration"... in other words  "removing invasive plants". (Ahhh, yes, Derek and I are familiar with this one. What we gleaned from our last outing of this type: the little buggers you want to remove generally have the deepest, most stubborn roots...and the longest, sharpest thorns. Have fun...storming the weeds, dear!) For their ultimate hurrah, on the final, rainy day of camp, they made an anti-bullying video to be posted on YouTube. Oh, and lest I forget, they, also, spent time splashing at the lake when their daily goal was achieved.

All-in-all, five days of fun-with-a-purpose...not a bad way to pass some otherwise empty hours in July. For next week, though, I've promised the boys I will not wake them up, nor hurry them through their leisurely morning repast, nor even force them to change out of their pajamas if they don't wish to do so. They've earned some true downtime...that is of course unless I can persuade them to bake ME some cookies...while I take a little snooze...Hey, I think I'm onto something, here: welcome to Camp Coddle Mom! (Think they'll buy it? Maybe if I offer to share the cookies...)

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