Last night just past midnight, David and I rolled in from Rhode Island. We had been at the Atlantic Union’s Courage to Shine Pathfinder Camporee, which was very much enjoyed by everyone in our group.

I wanted us to arrive there about an hour before dark, but since the Camporee started on a Wednesday, I really needed to wait until kids got out of school. They were going to miss Thursday and Friday as it was. We left our church at about 4:00pm, and drove directly into Boston’s rush hour. I had already figured that would happen, so it wasn’t a surprise at all. It added an hour to our trip.

We arrived just after dark and it was raining lightly. We set up our kitchen shelter and began pitching our three-man tents inside of it. As they were pitched, we hauled them out and staked them down. By the time we had pitched two this way, the rain had stopped, so we just pitched the rest in situ. After the kids had stowed their gear in their tents, we hung out for a little while before going to bed.

Thursday morning I woke the kids up and we began to set up the rest of our campsite. Then we cooked breakfast. We were expecting guests for that, but they did not show up. That was a bit of a disappointment, as I always enjoy hosting guests for meals when we camp.

The day was filled with activities, and the kids enjoyed them all immensely (as best I could tell). We ate PB&J for lunch so we wouldn’t have to hang around the kitchen for an hour preparing a meal, and then another huge chunk of time cleaning it up.

I did institute one new rule while we were there, and I think I will adopt it permanently. We have had a chronic problem of kids abandoning their dirty dishes. All the dishes are numbered, and each kid has an assigned number, so we know who left the dish. But even when we bust this kid’s chops repeatedly, the behavior remains unchanged. The new rule is that if we find a dirty dish laying around unattended after ample time to clean it has passed, we will simply return it to the kid’s kit without cleaning it. If that makes the rest of his dishes dirty, well… that’s really just too bad, isn’t it? When kid number 12 returns to his kit for the next meal, he will have some dishes to wash first. After I announced the new rule, I saw a behavior change. There were no more abandoned dishes. 🙂

Friday was much the same as Thursday: gorgeous weather, and active, happy kids. Oh – except we had some pretty high winds. They were high enough to roll our kitchen shelter over. We had not anchored it properly, and that is a mistake we will not repeat. The strangest thing is that I had a lantern hanging from a rope thrown over the ridge pole, and the globe did not break during the tumble, nor did the mantel. Wow. The dish kits were hanging in mesh bags on a line we had strung between two legs of the shelter, and even though none of them were zipped closed, they only dropped a couple of items of flatware. It must have been a fairly gentle roll-over. None of us were there when it happened, so it’s kind of hard to say for sure. It was enough to bend one of the shelter’s joints, but one of our staff members has taken that home with him to fix it.

While the kitchen was rolling over, our club was participating in a Drilling and Marching competition. They did very well, and I was very proud of them. The crowd was pretty noisy though, and because of that, our squad was not able to hear one of the commands. Some thought “Counter columns, march” was called, and others though that “To the rear, march” was called. The result was chaos, but they recovered quickly. The last “big” maneuver they performed was the “Flashing Starburst” which is one that I had developed about three years ago. I may be partial to that move. I took some footage of their performance, but it’s pretty obvious from this that my camera was not designed for capturing video. I uploaded it to Youtube.

We were supposed to have guests for breakfast on Saturday morning, but no one showed up. The only guests we did have were three of our area coordinators that I invited over for dinner on Friday. Usually, the clubs cook for the AC’s (a worker is worth his wages), but this time they were on their own to make way for other guests (some from the Union, Division, and GC). These guests did show up, and they very much enjoyed dinner. Unfortunately, I missed most of it, as two girls in our club who were dying to earn the Tie-Dying honor (pun intended!) finally scored the last available slot. I chaperoned them to the Honor Midway so they could do that, and we were 30 minutes late for dinner. Our guests were well cared for in my absence, and they were still there enjoying the meal when I arrive with the two girls and their new T-shirts.

On Sabbath morning we marched in a parade. We had eleven kids from our club there, but only four of them marched with our club. Two others were up front carrying a Burundi Flag and wearing their native clothing, which was pretty cool. Two more were carrying our club’s Pathfinder and AmericanFlags (also up front). Another was carrying the conference American Flag, and two more were “moose haulers”. Paul had brought a life-sized model moose with him in our trailer, which is why he wanted to tow it to RI for us. I was more than happy to let him do that, as it solved a problem for both of us (I wouldn’t have to borrow a truck, and he could get his moose to the Camporee).

After the parade we had the church service, then lunch, and then more activities. While half the staff had the kids out for activities, the other half stayed at our site to start packing up. We had the kids drop their tents as soon as they had changed our of their dress uniforms. They were nice and dry for a change, which is really nice, because I didn’t have to pitch them at my house to dry them out.

As the time for the evening program was nearing, some storm clouds began rolling in. I consulted with the staff, and not one of them wanted to sit through the evening program if it was raining. Staying would also prevent us from getting home at a timely hour (I had predicted 1:00am, but in retrospect, 2:00am would have been more likely). The weather was only getting worse, so I made the call. We packed up during the evening program and got out of there about the time it ended. Everyone was in a pretty good mood, and two of the three kids who rode in my car slept on the way home. I met one parent in Concord, and delivered another to her house (about three miles from my own). Then David and I came home, and Penny was there waiting for us, and very happy to see us. She wanted to play! But David and I wanted to sleep. And we got our way.