Last week the boys and I got to experience Boy Scout Camp at Camp Rockefeller for the first time together. It was enjoyable, yet hard.
But also very fun.
We started out at a camp site half a mile away from the activities which meant hauling Losh in his chair down a bumpy, slightly hilly, gravel road (basically around this lake pictured above). The gravel wasn’t packed tight and it felt like pushing him through sand. If you guys have ever pushed a stroller through rough terrain like sand then you can only imagine what it felt like.
Repeat a couple times a day and by day two my body was physically exhausted. Not only that, but they decided to do a hike on day two!
The camp director and a few other people ended up feeling sorry for us and invited us to move to a handicap accessible site. Not only was it closer to the activities and we didn’t have to hike half a mile to get there, it was also paved and even had an electrical outlet.
Hello, phone charger!
Reminder: Tell them ahead of time next year we need to be placed in this site!
While there, the boys participated in different activities to help them earn rank and merit badges. Kaia worked on the First Aid Merit Badge and also worked on Second Class and First Class rank requirements. He was supposed to do the Swimming Merit Badge, but had to work on passing the swim test first. He didn’t pass it until the final day.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get many pictures of Kaia because I stayed with Losh nearly the entire time as his helper. Kaia had a blast and is looking forward to camp next year. Since it was our first time at Boy Scout camp, we learned a lot and know how to make it more enjoyable for him next year – like bringing a bicycle to make travel across the reservation easier.
Losh worked on Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class requirements which included first aid. He tried swimming once, but didn’t enjoy it, and was really able to participate anyway. The night before we left for camp, he was in the ER and diagnosed with a UTI. Despite running fever those first couple of days and feeling miserable, he worked hard and didn’t want to sit out any other activities.
He ended up spending a lot of time going to the medic’s office because his Mickey button (feeding tube) started getting a yeast rash that spread down toward his waist band. The combination of heat, humidity, and antibiotics was not good for him.
Losh had a great camp counsellor who didn’t let on to how nervous he actually was. He had never worked with a child like Losh before and was a little panicky and doubting his own abilities to teach Losh. He was also concerned about offending Losh or myself. He did an excellent job and Losh loved having him as a teacher.
This is the third time I have accompanied one of my children to an event like this. Sometimes I feel a little awkward in these situations. I was there solely to help Losh, and didn’t want his counselor to think I was doubting his abilities to teach or anything like that. I just know that Losh requires extra help with certain things like fine motor skills and help pushing himself across rough terrain or long distances.
The other children tried to help push him a couple of times, but ended up getting the wheelchair stuck after only a few feet each time. There really is a trick to doing it right and since I’ve had lots of practice it is just easier for me to do it.
Losh also had a blast at Boy Scout camp and is already planning which activities and merit badges he wants to earn next year. As with Kaia, we learned a lot and know what to bring to camp next time to make it easier.
Overall, the scouting program does a great job of including people with disabilities and both of my boys enjoy being scouts. They are working their way to being Eagle Scouts. I highly recommend getting your boys involved in scouting, even if they have no desire to reach Eagle rank. The life skills and lessons they learn are worth it!
Do you know any Eagle Scouts?
Are your kids attending summer camp?