Sunday, August 7, 2011

One Final Push

 Day 6 – Exhaustion is mixed with giddiness as I sit in my semi-empty tent and mentally count down the tasks that will lead me to air conditioning, cushioned seats, and most importantly, flush toilets.

What a day….

It was never easy.  From the first confrontation at breakfast that lasted well into the hike to aquatics later on that morning to the showdown at lunch, it was a battle of wills. 

I can say much of it was same old, same old because parts of it truly were.

Do we really need to rehash why the camp changed the program for Pirate Night?  Do we need to debate the reasons why the junior high does not allow students to go to their lockers in between classes again?

Seriously?  Am I living in a re-make of the movie Groundhog Day?

I don’t want to discuss these things again and certainly not at camp when there are much more pressing matters at hand.

Let’s talk about the schedule for the day…  Let’s practice your speech for the Public Speaking merit badge…. 

Let’s have a conversation about anything other than topics that we have covered ad nauseam.


I hit another breaking point today.  We were at lunch discussing the locker issue and Sean said something akin to he was right and everybody else was wrong.

Really, Sean?

I didn’t respond and Sean continued to bury himself further in the hole by saying, “See, I win because you can’t say anything in return.”

I told Sean to clean up his place and that we were going to leave.  I think he was stunned.

We walked out of the dining pavilion without saying a word to anyone else and headed towards the parking lot.

Merit badges or not, I was ready to head home and Sean knew it.

Sometime during that walk I want to believe that Sean finally understood that he had pushed too far and had crossed the line.

Did he understand why I was so angry?  I don’t think so….

But any glimmer of mutual understanding is better than nothing.

I decided to let him continue on his quest for merit badges and he did remarkably well.  At times the required badge work was tedious, at other times strenuous.  In the end, Sean accomplished the six that he had set his sights upon earlier in the week.

Could we have pushed for more?  Sure.  But camp is also about forming friendships and having fun.

For tonight’s dinner, the troop invited some of the staff to our campsite for an end-of-the-week Thank You pizza party.  I grabbed some slices and went off to the side.  Sean went through the line and made his own plate.

Then he sat down amongst the group – next to the pretty blonde girl from aquatics – and started to talk.  I can’t say he was having a truly mutual conversation but at least he was trying.

As the boys now begin to quiet down and head for their tents, I am already beginning to miss Camp Napowan.  It was hot.  It was humid.  It rained.  And I’m still recovering from the mystery bug bite.  But, when I look back at all that Sean has accomplished this week…  not only the merit badges, but getting through his own internal struggles, and then finding some kind of pathway to interact with his peers…

It’s been an incredible week and one that I won’t soon forget.

Good night from Wild Rose, Wisconsin and Napowan Adventure Base for one last time….

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