So for those not in the know… my oldest son Aiden is in cub scouts, and after this year will be moving on up into the Boy Scouts. Also, Finn joined cub scouts this year and is a Tiger cub.
Anyway!! So, for the past 3 years I have been volunteering with the cub scouts day camp. Unlike most parents who volunteer, I actually ran a station, Scout Skills. My first year, I had NO idea what I was doing, but I took a deep breath, and jumped in with both feet and started teaching the boys. As I taught them their scout skills, I learned along with them. Together we learned all kinds of things, like flag skills (how to fold the flag, do an opening and closing ceremony, ways to treat our flag, etc.), we also learned how to tied knots (and to this day I STILL can’t tie a bowline knot… that damn bunny who goes around the tree or in it or whatever the hell it’s doing needs to hold still so I can tie it!!) and it was my favorite week out of the summer. The boys were eager to learn and absolutely adorable. In fact one of my favorite memories is from my first year, when we were doing flag skills. One of the dens and I were talking about what the colors of the flag meant, and this adorable little Wolf cub looked at me and in the cutest little voice said: “Red is for the blood of Jeeesus, and white is for the lamb of Gaaawwwd.” I laughed in my head and said “Well, if we were talking about the Christian flag, that would be correct, but we’re not, so no.”
Last year I volunteered again, with the Webelos camp (Cubs and Webelos are at the same camp on the same days and times) and did scout skills. We had another awesome year, and at one point some crazy old man cussed me out and said I was “brainwashing the children” when we were discussing Citizenship. All because I told the boys that being the President wasn’t easy, lol. He even went so far as to try and get me “fired” to which the director laughed in his face and told him he was being stupid. Fabulous!! In the end though, it was STILL my favorite week of the summer.
So this year, I was prepping myself for another fun year in scout skills when our District Executive came to me and said: “Hey! We know how passionate you are about working with these boys and volunteering these past couple of years with the camp. We’d like you to be camp director this year… are you interested?” And I thought about it, and told him “Sure! Why not? I’ll be there all week anyway!! It will be fun!”
Oh boy. Was I in for some craziness!! So the district sent me off to 3-day National Camping School to learn how to be a camp director, spent a bucket load of money getting me trained and certified and ready to work this summer. Then I went to the planning meetings, met the other directors and started working to get everything ready and my staff trained.
Finally, this week camp started. And I found out just how hard it is to be a camp director. My first day was utter CHAOS! There were staff trying to figure out how to check in, walking parents trying to figure out where their dens were, kids converging on headquarters and Boy Scouts asking me where I wanted them for the day. OMG!! I was INSANE!! But I figured out how to manage and rolled with the punches. And I survived my first day.
The second and third days were much better, a little less chaos, people starting to get into the flow and all was well. Except for the fact that my program director had NO idea what was going on, even though HE designed the program for the boys, most of the time we didn’t have the supplies necessary for the stations and he spent most of the days hiding up in cooking so he wouldn’t have to do anything. WHATEVER!! I STILL managed to handle things, and at one point, the Cub Scouts director saved me and told my program guy that I needed a potty break and he needed to manage HQ for a minute. Then she and I walked around the camp checking the stations and handing out treats to our staff. I was gone for a good half hour, lol. When I made it back to HQ, my program guy looked at me and said in a completely frazzled voice: “Where were you? I thought you needed a bathroom break.” I shrugged: “I did, and then Heather needed me to walk around with her, so I did.”
“I have no idea how you manage this all day,” he said.
“Handle what? This? HQ? It’s not that bad.”
“No, you don’t understand, you left and like 20 boys came up trying to earn their doodads for the scout oath and the riddle and question of the day! It was crazy! There were so many of them!!”
“It’s what I do. They need me, and I’m here for them.”
He left and hid some more at cooking and I shrugged and took care of HQ like I had been doing previously.
Finally, it was the last day today. I swear it was worse than the first day!! It was absolute chaos and I was definitely frazzled. My program director freaked out on me, I wound up yelling at one of my station volunteers by accident and at one point had to literally DRAG a boy kicking and screaming to HQ after he after he attempted to stab another boy with the marshmallow roasting stick. Definitely not my idea of fun. I apologized to my station leader, we talked, she understood and forgave me (bless her, she was so amazing!!) My program guy was an ass most of the morning, and then decided to leave right before lunch. Before he left, he told me that Heather (cub camp director) told him to apologize to me for yelling earlier. I just looked at him and told him to just leave, I didn’t want him in my camp anymore, it’s not like he was doing anything useful anyway.
Anyway, so finally the end of the day came and after we did our final closing flag ceremony, I gave my closing speech.
“I want to thank you boys. I’ve been volunteering with you guys for the past three years, and many of you might remember me from scout skills, which is my usual hang out. This year, John Padgett came to me though and asked me to be your director and I told him yes. You have been an AMAZING group. We’ve had our ups and downs and we made it through and had a great time at camp together. I see your faces and it makes me feel glad to be here. I also realize that I’ve seen most of you since you were Wolves and Bears, and that for my second year Webelos this is your last year here, next year you’ll be at Boy Scout camp.” I started crying here, “I’m going to miss you guys next year, but I hope you’ll remember me and remember our time together here at Lion’s Cub Scouts/Webelos camp. For the rest of you, I’m coming back next year to be your director again, and I can hardly wait to see you all again! So, on that note! It’s time for me to say goodbye and have a GREAT rest of the summer!!”
The boys were like “Aww! Don’t cry!!” And one of the dad’s stood up and turned to all the boys and said in a booming voice, “Let’s all thank our fantastic Director for the great time we’ve had this year!!” And they started cheering and clapping for me!! And now it’s done.
My feet hurt, my body aches, and I’ve lost my voice. I’ve had more than enough stress and frustration. I’ve also had a LOT of fun, and laughter.
It’s STILL the best week of my summer.
And I can harldy wait to come back next year and do it all over again!
So this was my awesome week, in my first year as a camp director. My boys (my camp boys as well as my own) are wonderful, sweet and amazing and they are ALL growing up to become amazing and wonderful young men. I’m glad that I have been a part of their lives and I sincerely hope that in the coming years, they will remember me and think back fondly on their experience at camp with me.
One of my boys scout helpers!
Nurse Karleen and my Boy Scout being a goof!!
Thomas, my Boy Scout runner… he’s a speeecial boy, but for the most part pretty awesome!
Karleen and me running HQ during one of the mad rushes for doodads, lol
Michelle, program director for the Cubs giving Karleen and me a hand at HQ, she’s AWESOME!
Heather, Cub Camp Director (and my boss offically, lol) talking to some of the boys, she really works hard, and does an amazing job every year!!
John Padgett, our District Executive and Ken (the one in the chair) my program director. Taking a break from all the insanity!