Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Perhaps you have an opinion about the Boy Scouts of America? I do, but I'm not going to share it here. Personal opinions become problematic when mixed with child rearing I've noticed. Not wanting to jade Collin to early or pass judgment as an example, I keep a lot to myself. Thus when he and friends wanted to listen to the Boy Scouts of America sales pitch one evening at school, I went. Jennifer and Hector went as well. Midway through the meeting I see Jen signal me from across the room. She's shaking her head, ever so slightly "no, no" --that and Hectors slash across the throat gesture pretty much told me that they weren't buyin' Boy Scouts. The presentation was a high-pressure, sign-on-line and give us a check affair. Our boys just wanted to go camping and shoot bows and arrows.
After the meeting I got to thinking. Couldn't we camp on our own? My Dad did. In fact he and the men of our neighborhood formed the Renegades. Fathers and sons went camping a few times a year as Renegades. Jen and Hector thought it was a good idea. We even got excited about buying our own bow and arrows and finding some badges we could give to the boys.
I missed the first camping weekend. Rick, Collin, the Gonzales family and the Tenneys went to Tomoka. I was working in Sanibel, but I heard all about their adventures. It rained. When I called Collin from Camp Janet, he declared that the boys were "being beavers!" Apparently they used shovels to dig a ditch and build a damn in order to protect the Tenney's tent from a flood. Our second trip was this past weekend. Rick and Hector went to camp early Friday to set up--they were off work and the boys were out of school. Jen and I drove up together after school planning to meet the Tenneys and their friends the Jacksons there. We were again at Tomoka State Park.
On the way up, Jen told me all about trying to get badges for the boys. They'd found a dealer (Town & Country) and thought that getting such things would merely require walking in and paying for them. Oh no, apparently not. You have to have a license or a special Boy Scouts permit to buy those badges. It's not like the boys necessarily care about badges and we certainly aren't trying to fake our way through Boy Scouts, but we did want to give the boys a chance to earn something. We brought bows and arrows. And Jen had this great idea for name plaques and totems. She ended up buying these wooden rectangle shapes which she threaded with a leather thong. She painted one with stripes: red, green, yellow and perhaps blue. On top of the stripes she wrote Rebel Scout (I love the name change!) and then below is a place for each boy (and girl by the way) to write their name. Then she found little wooden charms almost that the kids can tie to either the rectangle or the leather strap that holds it. Of course in camping-lingo those charms are badges. She found a fish one, an open book one (on which she wrote science) and another whose shape now escapes me.
Why? We love crafts. Truly we do. Sometimes our boys do too. Jen figured making the badges would be fun to do, especially if it rained. I was all excited about our new Rebel Scout status and she and I came up with all kinds of cool things we could do with it: logos, t-shirts, totems, etc.
When we drove up to the campsites, the boys were hip deep in a mud puddle and still digging. By dinner it seemed that Jack, Jen's oldest, had a fever and by the next morning he was throwing up. It was pouring rain. Perhaps normal rain, given that you have good shelter, would be ideal for doing crafts, but that was not the case this time. It rained buckets. We hardly had enough "tarp-ology" to keep tables dry much less ourselves or breakfast. The kids loved it. The adults? Not so much. The kids could have cared less about the rain. Lucky for them, Ryan and his cousin, Hunter, brought and entire tub of full-sized G.I. Joes. Who knew boys still liked G.I. Joe--they kept the boys occupied for hours in and out of the rain! The girls, however, were content to build a fort and hut in the dirt as well as read some books I found from NCTE still stashed in the back of my car. After the rain cleared it was frisbee and football, fishing and rock skipping, tag and smore making... perhaps we'll get to those Rebel Scout badges yet.