Thursday, September 5, 2013

Outdoor Lab Participant #3

When your kids all go to the same school you get to mark the same milestones kid-by-kid.  My kids attend (or have attended) a small parochial school down in Olde Town.  A large portion of the teachers that were there when my daughter (now a Junior in High School) started there are still there.  Things are done pretty much the same year in and year out.  This year our Kindergartner will take part in the same Christmas pageant his older siblings took part in.  We'll create another tea-dyed shirt for his Thanksgiving feast and then laugh over how accurate his Indian name will be.  

The same is true of our oldest child currently attending the school; the 12 y.o. - the 7th grader.  He too has shared all the milestones of his siblings before him.  This week we sent him off on the first big one of his Junior High career - Outdoor Lab.  A few days bonding as a class, which sort of cracks me up as most of these kids have gone to school together since Kindergarten, but whatever.  

The trip is three days just up in the foothills at a local camp.  Days filled with outdoor hikes, orienteering, survival skills, archery, general exploring and evenings filled with campfires, Mountain Man tales and star gazing.  It'll be interesting to hear his take on this trip.  He seemed annoyed when he was informed that there were "classes" and "work."  My thought was, "Dude, it's not a family camping trip."  I also think part of his stance is that he'd been hearing about his older sister's and brother's experience and he wanted to head up on an I'm-not-gonna-be-excited-by-this note.  I'm hoping he is enjoying the time with his classmates and making his own memories apart from his siblings' experiences.  But also putting his own footprint in traditions established long before his class went up there.  Footprints his siblings also made and encouraged him to look for and add to.

Each time the kids have gone I remember my own Outdoor Lab experience; hubby went as well.  For us, we went to public schools, and it was a week-long odyssey at either Windy Peak or Mount Evans.  Some of the same things our son is doing, we did as well.  Except he'll not have the pleasure of sizing up a pine tree and calculating the board-feet you can get from it.  

He'll also be allowed to shower every day of his three day trip, as opposed to one day of a five day trip.  As a 7th grade girl, this was a heinous policy, especially if your scheduled shower was the first day you were up there.  There was feathered hair to get just right.

For a lot of us, this was our first foray away from our parents for an extended experience.  There were night of skits, telescopes to search out planets and stars, a classmate who ate his Aspen Tree disc of a name tag over the course of the week, the hike up the hill to your cabin lugging your duffle bag in brand new, not broken in, clutter boots.  The boys trying to spook the girls after lights out.  The Mountain Man stories of back country trapping and Indian encounters.'ll be fun to hear his experience.

Did I take photos yesterday of the pages I worked on over the weekend?  No.  I got sucked into a vortex of emails from the kids' school demanding my attention.  By the time I extricated myself it was time to head to hell's kitchen and start dinner. :/

Here's to tomorrow.

Happy Thursday,

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