Monday, May 30, 2011

You kids today do NOT know how nice you have it...

...compared to back in my day. Let me tell you!
Dear daughter comes to me to tell me of her boredom, and I just cannot care. She took out her DIDJ (electronic handheld learning game) and played it a while. She didn't even consider that she hadn't used it in months and the rechargeable batteries in it STILL WORKED. Thank you Sony Eneloops - wish I had you when I was young. And for that matter, thank you Leap Learning systems, with your addition and spelling drills in a fun, Fairy environment. All I had was this really dumb baseball handheld that blew up like Jiffy pop in the hot car window where I accidentally left it one afternoon, no thanks to the car manufacturers who didn't invent darkened glass in back seats until after I was old enough to know better. That game sucked anyway, but it also really sucked that my mom didn't warn me to put it down in the footwell, either. No my kind of growing up was the school of hard knocks and "too bads". Oh sure, we had our schoolhouse rock, thank goodness, or I never could have memorized the Preamble to the Constitution.
But beyond the fact of Disney East AND West channel, NICK east and west, and a whole fuckin' channel for cartoons, lies the lack of appreciation for having as many toys as she has, the quality of the toys she has, the quality of toys I have that I let her play with, and it makes me want to have a temper tantrum and kick my heels on the ground. Why couldn't I have had a scooter, a boogie board, an iPod? Oh yeah, they pretty much weren't invented yet. If our childhood was so much more fun than our parents, with their limited toys and space, and our children's childhood is so much more fun than ours, what will our grandchildren's childhood be like? Portable on-demand cheap tv shows anywhere and everywhere? Videogame style learning in school? Wireless messaging for play dates? And then what? I cannot even imagine. I know I should appreciate my old bike, the hours of Gilligan's Island, my neighbor's Atari, and all the books, records, and tapes. But will she appreciate what she had when faced with the new toys in the future?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

One more camping adventure

A week ago we came back from one more girl scout camping adventure. This time, I did not organize it, nor add to any activities, nor do anything more than try to stick to the schedule I was given. And that was just fine and dandy!
We tagged-along with a different service unit's annual themed camp-out at Kateri. The theme was Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Lightning Theif, etc. Our preparations were limited to signing up those who were coming, making sure they all had a ride to camp, and making about 300 SWAPS (GS trading pins, handmade, highly prized). This particular service unit put on very fun activities last year, and we knew we would have a good time again.
We were cabinned (not housed, but you know what I mean), a good half mile hike from the lodge and meals, but we just walked, and got in a lot of miles that Saturday. By well run, I also mean that this service unit did not cotton to anyone being late for anything, and we seemed to continually run afoul of this rule. So I became the time guard, for lack of a better term. Maybe time sergeant. I would count down the minutes until we absolutely had to leave, and then everyone else would ignore me until the last possible minute, then scramble with shoes, flashlights, etc and we would finally all tromp down to the next location for an activity. It worked well.
We had several fun activities, including an easter egg hunt/puzzle solving, a swim in the lake, a game of medusa-freeze-tag, poster-board-sword and plastic-spoon-catapult making, toga and flag making, and a game of hide the flag and capture the flag.
Last their was a tractor ride, a toga fashion show, an ice cream social (which we almost missed) and Saturn watching - as in the planet!
By the end of Saturday, our girls were wiped out tired. Most of the girls did very well in doing their chores (kapers), unpacking and packing, and keeping it together emotionally. There were exceptions, mostly in the younger girls. Which made me realize more than ever the differences between Brownie scouts and the younger Daisy Scouts. I also realized something important about myself, in that I appreciate, and communicate better with, older, more capable girls.
The cots we slept on were fairly comfortable, and I had the best night's sleep while camping that I perhaps ever have had as an adult. Or maybe I am just getting used to it. This gives me hope that I can continue these outdoor activities well beyond my daughter's childhood and pursue dreams that were shrivelling up. I really want to do more hiking and backpacking. Sadly I am not sure that my daughter will want to be a partner to this, so some of what I have been thinking about it is, can I do some of this by myself, or can I find other interested people to do this activity with? And I think the answer to either is a resounding YES!
Lastly, I really began to think about being a girl scout leader and my comfort level, and I decided I can fill a gap. Namely, I am going to be a leader next year for a Junior level troop of scouts. And my daughter will not be in it, but I am still going to lead. I figured if one of our leaders could lead a troop her daughter had outgrown, I could lead a troop my daughter will grow into. Plus, Girl Scouts invariably have trouble finding willing leaders for the higher age groups. But that is exactly where I will do better as a leader, enjoy it more, and hopefully pass on my love of the outdoors to the next generation.
So you can expect to hear about more of my adventures as this year continues. I hope you will still want to tune in!