Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Camp - from mom's perspective

Both of my kids are finally back at home. A 2 week camp sounded like a great idea during the long Christmas break when we sent in the registration but it was a long 2 weeks for this momma!

Arriving at camp, we were warned of an outbreak of H1N1 virus (swine flu). We knew about this outbreak thanks to regular e-mail updates from the camp. Oh, and the fact that my sister's 3 boys all came down with the flu. We weren't sure what to expect with Carson. He had bunked with his cousin, who had gotten sick. We had planned on staying with my brother's family in their lake house for 2 nights after picking up Carson but didn't want to risk exposing their little boys (2 and 8 mos) to the flu. Kristin ended up picking up her boys early and leaving town; leaving us the use of their rented mountain house for the remainder of our stay.

This pig rock stands at the entrance to the camp. Someone from town had draped a sheet over to look like a face mask - poking fun at the swine flu outbreak! The camp director did not find the humor in it and had the mask taken down before more families arrived! :) There was another camp in town that would not allow any visitors who had spent time at Deerfoot. It was all very reminiscent of SARS when we traveled to China.

And when I say "entrance" to the camp, I use that term very loosely. You have to drive a mile or two down a one lane, heavily wooded, dirt road to actually arrive at camp. You truly feel like you are stepping into another world.

The final morning devos (devotionals...not somber at all like the word might imply...150 energetic boys were pretty loud and boisterous about these devos!) were still going on when we arrived, so I walked around taking some pictures. Who knew there were so many shapes and sizes of paddles?

The boys were packed up and ready to leave. There were piles like this all over. Unfortunately, it rained before the families left camp so everything was soaked. I couldn't tell clean from dirty in Carson's bag (he didn't realize the purpose of the laundry bag I'd packed was to store his DIRTY laundry and just dumped it all back into his luggage.) Because everything was wet, I just washed it all. Can't honestly tell how many pairs of underwear were actually worn (more than I care to admit were still folded suspiciously like I fold his underwear).

Safety first. Now, this is a BOYS camp. Notice the pink life vest?!?

Carson passed his rowing test so was allowed to take out a rowboat all by himself. Gulp. Glad I didn't know that beforehand. He tells this funny story of rowing out by himself to Skull Island (nice name), laying back in the boat and falling asleep. He said he woke up and had drifted all the way back to camp.

My brother was the original Deerfoot camper in the family (he spent 9 summers there) and joined us when we picked up Carson. He enjoyed his time back at camp. He and Perry wandered while I took pictures and waited on Carson.

Looks like Perry could become quite comfortable here as well!

Eric finding names of old camp-mates, friends, and campers. By this time, I was getting a little worried that we hadn't found Carson. Eric kept telling me not to worry. But, seriously, I hadn't seen any other families still looking for their son. We finally decided to check the nurse's cabin and that's where we found our son. We were a little worried he'd have the flu but he hadn't spiked the tell tale fever at that point.

It was so good to have him back in my arms, but he was one pooped puppy! I remember my brother getting home from camp and sleeping for HOURS. Between Carson's nasty cough (one flu sympton), major tiredness and lack of any energy, I admit to being a bit worried that we were going down the swine flu road.

It was amazing how a little ice cream could perk him up enough to give us a tour of camp.

Eric and Carson pose by Carson's cabin. Eric had been a counselor in this cabin back in the day.

Carson made sure to pick up his woodburning craft. It's HUUUGGGEEE. You can't see it, but there is some woodburning on this hunk of wood.

Camp ends each session with a circle of friendship. All past and present camps circle around and sing the main camp song. The main chief sends them off. It was actually a very emotional moment.
Carson spent much of the first day sacked out in front of a TV (he hadn't had any electricity for 2 weeks!). His energy slowly returned and got bits and pieces of his time at camp. It was unfortunate that Kristin's boys had left early because I would have loved to hear the 4 boys all compare notes about their experiences. For the record, Carson did not end up with the flu (at least I don't think so). He had a slight head cold when he left and I think the damp cool weather made that worse. He never ran a fever, which seemed to hit all the boys with the flu.
He had a great time and I believe it was a life changing experience for him.
The grossest part - he couldn't find the toothbrust I packed so he didn't brush his teeth for 2 weeks. You had to hold your breath a bit when we first hugged him, but it was worth it! :)


The Morris Family said...

Great post- and photos- especially like the one with all the paddles!
Deerfoot looks like a really special place- betcha Carson is already thinking about next summer!
Too funny about the toothbrush- ack!

Tammie said...

Ah yes! Boys will be boys! That is one thing that is for certain. His experience reminds me of 4-H camp. The girls were meticulous about their laundry & personal hygiene. The boys? Well, they went down Carson's path.

It may have been a long 2 weeks for the momma, but the cub sure had a great time.

Deerfoot sounds like a wonderful place for Carson to spend his next few summers.