The Third Grade Campout was last weekend.  You may recall from some previous rant or other that the teachers decided not to have the annual campout to celebrate the third graders moving up to Upper Elementary.  In our school, the kids have the same teacher for 3 years, so it’s kind of a big deal to leave 3rd grade.  The campout had been a great way to let the kids mingle with the others who will be moving up, get to know each other a bit before the big shuffle.  For a variety of vague reasons, the teachers decided not to do it this year. I was disappointed, but more was dreading having to tell Ben–who’d been looking forward to it since Julianna did it 3 years ago–that it was off.  So I took it on myself.  Sometimes I don’t think things through.

Really, it wasn’t that horrible, particularly in hindsight.  The hard part was finding a spot to camp. It was fairly short notice and I didn’t want us to be too far away–close enough to go home if there was lightning.  Luckily, I got tipped off about the Poplar Grove youth camp site at Catoctin Mountain National Park and snagged all three sites.  when it was too late, I realized I’d booked the same weekend as my college reunion.  But it was done.  The things we do for our children.  More on the reunion later.

After that, it was just light organizing and emailing and stress about whether anyone would come.  In the end, most of the 3rd graders were able to make it and they had a BLAST.  The site was perfect, with woods and open space and a stream.  Behold:

My favorite shot, even though Bens eyes are closed.  Is this not the perfect childhood look?

My favorite shot, even though Ben's eyes are closed. Is this not the perfect childhood look?

there was a good deal of tying one another to posts.  We figured that if they then started piling kindling at their feet, we should step in.

there was a good deal of tying one another to posts. We figured that if they then started piling kindling at their feet, we should step in.

Yes, they are roasting Cheetos.

Yes, they are roasting Cheetos.

Waiting, as patiently as they can, for the fire to go down enough to make smores.  Eventually, they just went the flaming shmallow route.

Waiting, as patiently as they can, for the fire to go down enough to make s'mores. Eventually, they just went the flaming 'shmallow route.

For breakfast, Little Chocolate Donuts, as endorsed by John Belushi, and roasted over a campfire.

For breakfast, Little Chocolate Donuts, as endorsed by John Belushi, and roasted over a campfire.

Chocolate donuts, you say?  Tell me more...

"Chocolate donuts, you say? Tell me more..."

A stream, of course, means a massive civil engineering project.  All kids make dams.  It’s what they do when confronted with running water.  And me?  I struggle not to make hilarious yet inappropriate dam-based puns.  Like when Ben shouted to Nick “Dam the waterfall!” and I yelled “Hey kid, watch your mouth!”  I did say that out loud, but I managed to keep my tongue when Nick asked “Is this dam good?”  I wanted soooo badly to respond “Damn good?  It’s fucking awesome!”  It causes pain, it does.  Probably not good to hold to hold those in.

The dam was needed to catch crawdads

The dam was needed to catch crawdads

Dam the waterfall!  Full speed ahead!

Dam the waterfall! Full speed ahead!

In all, a success.  They had a blast.  And that was what it was about.

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