Tomorrow we leave for Molly Stark State Park in Wilmington, VT to participate in the NNEC Pathfinder Fall Camporee. I am really looking forward to it, but it has made me one busy guy this week.

First, I was hoping to break away from the office at lunch time without burning up any vacation hours. To that end, I worked late every night this week except Tuesday. So at noon I’ll have my time in.

Tonight after I got off, I left Jonathan at the office while I went shopping for food. That took me an hour, and I forgot a few things. So I’ll need to go back. The total came to $163 and some change, which I think it pretty good considering we will be feeding 17 people 5 meals. That’s under $2.00 per meal. It’s still a losing deal for the club though, as I’m charging each member $20 to come along, and we have to pay the conference $16 of that. That means $4.00 is left for food for each person, and I spent $10. But I will charge $20 for the next campout too, and we will not have to pay the conference $16 per head.

Beth packed her own gear for this, her very first Pathfinder outing as a Pathfinder. She has tagged along on trips before, but this will be her first time as a club member. I like that her first campout will be at the same place where the boys and I first camped with the Pathfinders when we moved up here.

I told all the kids to pack their own gear – it’s not their mother’s job. When a kid’s mom packs the gear, the kid doesn’t know where any of it is, and when he can’t find it, he tries to tell me, “My mom didn’t pack that for me.” Well – that doesn’t fly with me. Especially when towards the end of the trip the kid finds that crucial item that Mom “didn’t pack.” Sorry kiddo – you should pack your own stuff.

I always have a very long list of items to bring on these because I am responsible for the group equipment as well as my own personal gear. Food is one of those things. This time we’re also bringing shovels and rakes for the cleanup effort we’ll be working on Sunday morning.

I also make up rosters. I know who is coming, I have their permission slips (except for two girls who will NOT be coming if they don’t have those signed when they get picked up), I know whose car they will ride in, and which tent they will sleep in. I know who is on kitchen duty for every meal, what they will prepare for that meal, and what ingredients they may use for that.

I used to have a hard time getting to sleep the night before a campout because my brain would not shut off as it poured over every detail. I would remember something and say to myself, “When you get up in the morning, don’t forget to pack your rain gear” or whatever. But a couple of years ago I started making a todo list on my computer. I update it for every trip and mark each “checked” item with an x in the first column when it has been taken care of. As I think of things I need to do for this particular trip, I add them to the list. So now my brain can go to sleep and not worry about me forgetting something in the morning. The computer will remember.

Tomorrow I will go to work, have lunch with Jonathan, and then have him take me to Ken’s farm so I can borrow his truck. I need the truck to tow the trailer. I will have to buy ice, load the perishables into the cooler, and then load all the food into the trailer, though that part can wait until I have kids around to help.

I also need to put the club’s wheelbarrows into the truck and make photcopies of all the medical release forms – one copy for each counselor. I had Va scan them all for me tonight, so I have digital copies on my computer and also on my camera’s memory card.

If all goes well, we should be able to roll out of there at 3:00 and make it to Molly Stark by 5:00.

I am pretty tired tonight from doing all this, but I will be even more tired tomorrow.