Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Boy Scout Camp and Old Forge, NY

Safety Guy has another big first in his life this week.  He's away at Boy Scout Camp - all week.  It's his first long sojourn away from home, and he was a bit anxious leading up to Sunday, when we drove him up into the Adirondacks to Camp Russell near Old Forge, and dropped him off.

Getting him ready the day before was a bit of a struggle - he wanted to pack his own stuff, but when I went up to check on what he had put in his duffle, he had enough clothes for two days (instead of 5), a fleece vest (but no hoodie or coat), and his sun screen.  Um, not quite enough for five nights away.  Yeah, I know that part of the experience of Boy Scout Camp is a bunch of guys getting stinky and grubby together in the wilderness - but five days on two sets of clothes, no soap, no towel, no deodorant?  Thanks, but I wanted to be able to breathe in the car with him on the way home.

He was a bit annoyed with me for getting involved, but I told him we'd need to add to his clothes or he'd run out of clean stuff by Tuesday.  He grumped a bit, but let me add enough essentials to keep him going.  Plus I reminded him to take deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, and bug spray.  Between the two of us we got most of his stuff ready the night before.  Even so, we forgot a couple things.  (If he complains to his Scout Master, Tim will just ask Safety Guy why he wasn't packing his own stuff all along and using the checklist they've talked about for the past month.)

Safety Guy had told me he was nervous about going earlier in the week, but he didn't once suggest not going to camp at all.  He was excited about spending a week with his friends (a week away from his sister and her friends, too!).  He was anxious about the unknowns, the change in routine, the different foods, the heat and weather, and sleeping in a tent.  He had sporadic nervous issues the whole week before we took him to camp, and was a bit touchier every day - no major meltdowns, but we could tell his upcoming adventure was on his mind a lot.  We let him take his tracphone (with his Scout Master's permission) so he could call in the evenings.

His touchiness reached a crescendo the day we dropped him off.  It didn't help that we were running late due to something out of our control.  Still, we made it.  At first he was eager for us to get out of his space and let him be with his friends.  ("What the heck are you still doing here?!" he snapped at me at one point.)  We had to stay long enough for the camp store to open so we could buy his Class B Scout T-shirt, but we stood with other parents at a short distance while the boys chatted and fooled around while waiting to register and go swimming.  By the time we had to leave, Safety Guy had loosened up enough to smile and wave goodbye to me.

Since we were close to Old Forge, my husband and I and Princess Yakyak went into town for lunch and window shopping.  Old Forge has lots of kitschy-touristy stuff, but also some really neat places with local/Adirondack arts and crafts and foods.  We had lunch at a pub called Slickers, and it was really good food.  We ended the meal sharing a couple desserts between the three of us, including the most amazing peanut butter pie we've ever had (like fudge in a chocolate crust).  We'll go there again when we're in Old Forge.  We also went to a local candy store and got some goodies for the ride home - maple cream candy, and locally made dark chocolate sea salt caramels.  It was nice to have a day trip vacation, even though I was rather headachy for most of the day (a combination of stress and weather - bleh).

When we finally got home much later that day, there was a plaintive message from Safety Guy on the answering machine.  "I'm exhausted, and I'm homesick," he said, which made me sad - it didn't seem like his week was starting off on a good note.  When he called later that evening, though, he sounded a bit better.  The following morning he called again between activities, and said, "This place is AWESOME!  Well, except for the complete lack of electronics."  And each time he's called since then (he's been calling several times a day) he's sounded happy, and says he's having fun. 

I'm so glad.

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