Thursday, April 23, 2009

Boy Scouts Cross-Over Event - Here come the boys. . .

My husband and I went with our older son Ryan and two very excited fifth grade twin sons, on a weekend adventure called crossover weekend with West Linn Boy Scout Troop 149 to the Crooked River.

The twins were just so thrilled about this weekend as they start their years in scouts. They were so excited to be here and it may be one of Ryan’s last campouts with the Scouts. This was my first, though I wish I had gone before. Life in a larger family with younger children.

When we arrived that Friday night, it was pitch black and as we stepped out of our Astro Van, the twins immediately gazed up and noticed the stars.

“Oh, look at the stars,” Wesley said.

“I see the big dipper,” Mickaeljosef added.

Back to nature. And simple joys and the beauty of the outdoors. It felt so good to be there with them.

They were setting up tents by flashlights at about midnight and waiting in line to use the one portapotty for 65 people – this was no holiday inn vacation, trust me.

The fire light was glowing and the boys still full of energy.
I finally crawled in my tent about 1 am to the symphony of a snore fest. Okay, where were those earplugs.

After waking up [or did I ever sleep] on Saturday morning, it was amazing to see the beauty of the Crooked River along the high banks and the surroundings. Adult Scout leaders were flipping pancakes and simmering sausage. Boys were whittling by the fire and throwing stones into the river.

The weekend would be about nature. Flowing river. Dust. Great food. Enthusiastic boys. And no neon lights or computers or electronics. I loved that about it.
The crossover weekend is a tradition to initiate boys into true Scout hood. Up until now it has been Cubscouts and webelos.

I’m the mom here but the boys are on their own. At the beginning of the weekend, Wesley thought I was going to give him a hug and he quickly said, “no hugs mom.” And he is my hugging kid.

Another time during that first day, Mickaeljosef was stretching his hand back and forth after he and some boys had been wrestling on the banks of the river. I asked him if he was okay and he said, “I’m fine mom.”

The camping trip planners kept everyone busy on this weekend. New scout parents had to set up a tent that was missing parts we found out later. New scouts were going through various stations learning skills like whittling and building a fire. Earning badges. And learning life skills.

Seasoned scouts went away for a special project – to build a symbolic bridge for new scouts to cross over. I joined them to watch. Again, amazing what these boys can do, designing from scratch a bridge using only sticks and ropes. I finally figured out what lashing was.

As I watched these boys, I thought how glad I was that I came and that my boys love this, the outdoors. Nature. I wish every boy could come on an outdoor trip like this. No electricity, no I-pod, no high tech life.

After lunch, the new scouts and parents went on a five mile hike- two and a half up hill to the reach Chimney Rock. We all waited for one another along the way. No scout got left behind.

In the evening, all the groups were commissioned to write a skit of some sort, including the new parents, which we later performed in front of everyone at the evening campfire. The seasoned scouts used ketchup and mustard and other food items to simulate an operation. In true scout fashion. Our skit was a spoof on the tent we had to build. I was Diane Sawyer investigating the Scout master’s plot to forget parts to tents on purpose. You had to be there to get it.

Then the desserts, cooked over fire filled our tummies – peach cobbler, berry cobbler, chocolate cake never tasted so good.

The evening was capped off with the ceremony of walking along the candle lit path to the river where the crossover bridge was located.

Each parent there with their sons crossed together and it was total silence. The only time during the weekend that it was quiet.

Sunday was pretty much a packing day before chapel along the river and caravanning home, with a stop at a DQ along the way.

I thought I would have tired boys in the car. Instead, the twins, with a friend sandwiched between them, played their Nintendo DS’s.

Back to high tech city life and neon lights.

But the weekend was not forgotten. When the twins got home in the early evening on Sunday after we picked up their 6 year old brother Augustin, they got their Scout books out and began planning for next month’s campout and what badges they were going to earn between now and then.

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