M went camping on the weekend with his Cub Scout troop. We drove him to the camp on Friday night and his dad picked him up at the appointed time yesterday afternoon.
For most 10 year olds, going camping for a weekend would not be a big deal. Two nights and a day and a half away. Winter camping is bit more of an adventure than camping in spring or fall, but they were in cabins. For Cub Scouts, this was almost like staying in a hotel.
For M, this weekend was a huge achievement.
Last time he went to a weekend camp with the Cub Scouts was two years ago. He got sent home after one night, after getting into a fight with a couple of other kids and went after one of them with a big stick. So 2 nights and no calls – definitely worth celebrating.
Last year, we didn’t even suggest he go camping. Nor did he seem particularly interested. But this year, he decided he wanted to go to the Fall camp. He had birthday party on Saturday afternoon, so he only went for one night. He had a good time and didn’t have any particular difficulties.
But 2 nights? In winter? Sticks are harder to come by but lots of snow and ice to throw around.
M and his dad packed up his gear according to the list:
– Snow shovel – check
– Sleeping bag – check
– Three pairs of underwear – no problem (they were instructed to wear one pair to camp – so no one turned up going commando?)
The non-cotton long-sleeve shirts and pants were a bit more problematic – boy’s clothes are pretty much made from 100% cotton – but we improvised.
The camp was about an hour out of town. The kids had to truck their gear in on sleds in the dark. M lost control of his sled a couple of times and manged to scatter his stuff across the trail – it was all packed in water-proof bags for precisely this reason. M couldn’t decide if he wanted a top or bottom bunk and he was clearly distracted by all the action and noise around him. But we left him in the capable hands of the leaders and crossed our fingers he could cope for the full weekend.
I had a moment of panic on Saturday night when my husband discovered someone had called his cell but had not left a message. I tripled checked our home phone for missed calls and even re-charged my cell phone to check for messages. No calls.
When M got home on Sunday afternoon, he was pretty tired. I asked him how camp had gone, but I got one-syllable answers to most of my questions. I told him I was proud of him and asked him how he felt about the weekend. I gather he had a good time, he had 2 hot dog buns and chips for lunch yesterday and saw a friend from school who was camping at the same site with his Cub Scout troop. He made himself a lanyard and started to make his dad and I each one, so we would all have one. He didn’t sleep much. Just typical weekend camping stuff.
But for M, this is more than just a camping trip. This is positive proof that he is making real progress. Less than two years ago, he couldn’t make it through a full weekend without an angry conflict with another child and threatening to hurt them. This year, 2 nights, no calls.
Cause for celebration indeed.