As we were preparing for a day (or at least six hours of it) outside for a scout activity, I was skeptical. How much time would I be spending telling the boys to stop complaining about being wet or cold? But we paid money for it and we do live in Michigan, so we decided to go for it.
We got up Saturday morning and immediately put on our cold weather gear, ready for the elements. Thank goodness we have started a "heat wave" of sorts. The air temp was forecast to reach a whopping 31 degrees rather than the 12 that we'd had all week.
As we got there for registration, I got my first glance at the activity schedule for the day. Huge question marks flew through my brain as I read the list of activities for the day...dog sled team, egg drop, winter rescue, human Foosball, snowball launch, and HUMAN CURLING. Some of them were self explanatory but others sparked major curiosity.
Our first stop for the day was the egg drop. After a trek through the 12 inches of snow to a clearing, the kids found a big tractor and picnic tables full of packing. They were to wrap an egg as tightly as they could and put it in a plastic bag. Then all bags were placed in the trailer and dropped from various heights to see which eggs would survive the highest drop. Aaron and Noah's eggs made through a couple of drops, and then it was just fun to watch the truck go higher and higher.
Next stop...winter rescue. It started with a small educational session about how to handle it if a friend falls through the ice, followed by a "game" of sorts to practice. I was pretty impressed with the creativity here. The kids took turns being the "victim" sitting in a sled while the "rescuer" had to go through all the steps of rescue including reassuring the victim, calling for help, and then tossing a rope or other item to the victim and pulling them to safety. It was during this session that a local television station was filming for the evening news.
One more stop before lunch was the first one that I wondered about...human Foosball. The kids were lined up on big poles and were supposed to move back a forth and kick a soccer ball into goals at either end. The kids enjoyed it but we adults had to laugh because it was clear that not too many of today's kids know much about Foosball because they didn't move sideways back and forth at all. They stayed where they were and kicked the ball if it came to them :) This was also a nice stop because there were some boy scouts manning a camp fire at this station and the kids (and parents) could sit near it and try to thaw out our toes.
Lunch time followed with a nice half hour break to warm up before the afternoon activities.
The first stop after lunch was a visiting dog sled team. Those Siberian huskies were absolutely beautiful and were of course accompanied by many comments from Noah about "that's the kind of dog I wanted". They reminded me of my parent's old wonderful Alaskan that was the first and only dog that I adored until our own little Lilly came along. The driver was very nice and I learned quite a bit about the Iditarod from talking to him.
Next was a given. The kids had been itching to throw snow all day and they finally got their chance in three stations of snowball launches. We adults were cracking up at this one because by the end of this station, the scouts were pretty much all laying around in the snow, worn out from hours and hours of outside activity. It was the first time that there were mass comments from boys of various ages about being ready to go home :)
But little did they know that their favorite activity was yet to come...
I spent the whole day wondering what this was going to be about. Cracked me up! The kids were first given a tiny lesson about the sport of curling and then came the fun. The boys were split into two groups and sent down the hill on sleds into four HUGE air filled bags and were supposed to land the bags into a big circle in the snow behind them. It was clear that no one could care less about where the bags went, it was just fun to plow into them!
After this final activity it was back for a quick closing ceremony and the day was done.
We came home thinking the boys were going to be dead to the world. Daddy and Mommy certainly were! But after a movie to relax, Aaron was ball of energy and wanted to go find bags to plow through at a local park. Maybe next weekend:)
It was a very fun day. I was surprised at how well it was organized and how they managed to keep 200+ scouts organized into five different groups and the entire day running like clockwork.
No matter what happens with the boys and scouts in the future, we had a fun day and family time together outside with great memories. Sometimes I think about the reasons that people are down on scouting, usually political or religious. I see all of their points and at times have agreed with them. But for right now, scouting means fun activities for the boys with other kids and family outings in which we would not otherwise be participating. So for now, it's all good.
And we're all looking forward to next year's Winterfest 2012.