Sunday, October 14, 2007

4H Camp Day Two

The plan for day two was to have the boys get ready by 7am and we'd take a hike or something to pass the time before our 7:50 Flag Raising. One of the chaperones had to tell his kids to go back to bed at 4, since they were up showering and getting ready. The lack of a clock has both good and bad points. As I wandered out of my room at around 6:30, putting on my pants as I went, one of the boys noticed the belt in my hand. He screamed, "He's taking off his belt! Get back in your rooms!" Figuring that was my best opportunity to get things back in line I said "5 seconds...1,2." They were already in place. All I could do was laugh to myself.

The AL 4H Center serves great meals. Breakfast offered grits, eggs, bacon, and biscuits. We ate as much as we could eat, then weighed our scraps as before. The tally was 8.5 pounds and my table was one of those with nothing at all on the waste plate. A little competition goes a long way.

It was a chilly morning and our first lesson was Lake Ecology. We studied types of bugs and critters then waded into the lake up to our knees digging for anything that moves. We didn't find a whole bunch other than mud, but the snails (and some kind of penny thing I forget) were the type which live in good water. We were happy that the water was good, since leeches live in polluted water according to the "environmental indicators."

Our Principal shared with me during lunch that a man had approached her and asked "Do you let the kids take the canoes into that lake?" She responded in the affirmative and told him that our school even owns canoes which we use for regular trips. He looked rather puzzled and then asked, "Is this a private school?" She laughed "No, Sir," and thought again just how great our opportunities really are. The schools in our system are all good, but I'm very glad we live in the neighborhood where we do.

Our lunch waste from chicken strips and tater tots was up a little at 12 pounds or so, but still much improved from the initial 16.5 pounds.

After lunch we proved to our Instructor just how many nautical terms we already knew, then added parts of an oar to our vocabulary. We loaded up 3 per canoe and went out onto Lay Lake. It's pretty hard to handle a canoe in a strong crosswind, but we all managed to get out and back without assistance from the motorboat.

Our second afternoon session was rock climbing. The center has a new climbing wall with 3 levels of difficulty. The kids helped one another a ton with encouragement and pointing out where and how to move up. Climbing that wall is quite a workout.

Supper was excellent and our waste was down to 2 pounds. Yet another skit enforced the message not to waste food.

For sports night my tribe went to the putt-putt course first. Some of the boys went together and some paired up with girls for the course. It was very cute to watch. They all knew exactly what the best way to do every hole was, and were quick to share their excellence. It was nice to watch them encourage one another again though.

We played a bit more basketball, then took a break before Astronomy class. The staff had a tarp spread out in the middle of a large field where the kids sat or lay down for Astronomy. It was a perfectly clear night and slightly cool. Shortly after our Instructor started teaching a bright falling star streaked across the sky. She explained to us about what falling stars really are and that we should be experiencing showers for the next few weeks. Stars change colors with their age as they burn up. The color changes from blue to yellow to red to dark as they burn out. Stars appear to twinkle but planets generally do not. We listened to stories about constellations as she pointed them out with a lazer pointer in the night sky. It didn't touch the stars obvioiusly, but the beam was visible enough to point out stars of interest. It was a beautiful night and was enjoyed by kids and adults alike. A few took advantage of the stillness for an extra nap.

Once back at the boys' dorm, we again prepared for the night and wrote in daily journals. It was easier to get the boys to sleep this night, since it had been a very long day and the adrenaline rush was long since past. As we waited for the boys to fall asleep I had a nice visit with my roommate who had married a lady from my home town. It really is a small world.

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