Sunday, July 13, 2008

My week with the preschoolers: day 1

So when we signed up for the Cub Scout camp, I had to fill out a volunteer registration and check off the areas I would be interested in helping with. Hmm... I was looking for "cook" or something similar because I was under the impression lunch was provided. As reported earlier, that wasn't happening. So, no lunch duty, what could I do? I can't teach archery, slingshots, or other sports skills, and I didn't know what it meant to be a den leader. I checked crafts and childcare. The childcare would be for the 6-and-under set of volunteers' kids. I figured I could help out there. Note the word "help."

So we arrive and sign in; my daughter, who was registered as a "scout sibling," is supposed to be assigned to a den so she could do all the cool scout stuff. I should have known something was going terribly wrong when I signed in my Scout and asked where to sign in the sibling and where to sign myself in for work. "Oh, just go down there by the preschool area. Your stuff is all there - some crafts, and t-shirts for the kids."

What does she mean "your stuff?"

So we go to that area - just 2 picnic tables - and stand around a bit. Then someone comes by and says "here's your tent, need any help putting it up?" Uh, yeah, I guess so...

Then the organizer comes by and says "I bought some craft things for your kids but let me know if you need anything more, OK?"

The awful reality dawns: I am not helping out in the preschool area: I am running it.

Soon my little darlings start to arrive. I sort through the bag of t-shirts and start handing them out. It seems like a good idea to have them all in the same color, and one different from the horde of Cubs. But one boy won't wear the shirt. "He doesn't like big t-shirts" his mother says. OK.... fine. Don't wear the shirt.

There is no registration list, nothing to tell me who is coming and more importantly: how many of them there are. But there is a pad of drawing paper and a pack of markers, so I make up my own list.

The tent goes up and we hand out papers and markers for art time. Another scout sibling, a girl my daughter's age, arrives looking for her den. 3 Girl Scouts show up and ask if they can help. Yes! Yes you can! Entertain these kids!

All in all there are just 8 of them. Except for one, they are all sweet and mostly obedient, though they have minds of their own. One is just a terror. She was easy to pick out right away when she pushed her way to a place at the table and yelled "where are MY markers?"

I start making a list of needs. Why didn't they give me any hand wipes and sanitizer? There are 4 year olds here. Where am I supposed to put their lunches? And where is my scout sibling supposed to go to do these scout activities she was promised?

I collar the woman who registered us. She agrees to find a den for the 2 sibs and takes them with her to find some fun. The 3 Girl Scouts find a volleyball and start playing with the little kids. Terror girl announces that she wants a snack. Snacks? Why didn't they leave me snacks? Soon they are all around me like baby birds. I realized that at preschool they must get a morning snack. They end up eating their lunches. Yes, at 10 am.

A little while later the 2 siblings come running back. They are disgusted. "We'd rather stay here with you and the little kids. They put us in a den with 7 year old boys and the leader couldn't control them and they were wild and wouldn't listen and we hated it and it'll be more fun here! We're hungry, too. Got any snacks?"

We start pawing through the bin of craft stuff. Hmm, everything looks pretty good, except the Bratz coloring book; that'll have to disappear. We add paper bags for puppets to our list (I knew there was a reason I bought the pack of 100 a few weeks ago), and go off on a hike. We have a flag like the other dens, but - no flagpole! Rather than carry it like a banner and have someone drop it in the dirt (over and over), we leave it behind.

After lunchtime (or what would have been if the kids hadn't eaten at 10), we saw the Scouts gathering at one corner of the park. There's a fire truck. One of the volunteers suggests we head over to see them peel the roof off a car with the jaws of life. Cool! Off we go.

Terror girl falls on the way and we have to find the nurse. We learn that the nurse knows her well and knows how to tend to her. "It's not always about you" is one of her comments. We enjoy the car-wrecking demo and then we find that the firefighters are turning the hoses on the kids. Scouts are running everywhere. Water is flying everywhere! I am scrambling to keep my little ones together so they don't get lost or knocked over. Terror girl gets away and runs right toward a spewing hose. I have to run after her. Of course she turns so I get most of the water. She thinks it's hilarious. At least she's laughing and not crying or yelling or sitting with her arms crossed angrily.

After that excitement, the Girl Scouts lead us to the creek where fishing is happening. I realize these 3 Scouts really want to fish. And maybe find some Boy Scouts who are also helping. But the preschoolers keep walking in front of people and getting tangled in their lines so off we go.

We run way across the field, far from our tent. Then one of the Girl Scouts looks at the sky and says "uh, we'd better get back to our tent!" Here comes the rain.

We dash not for the tent but to the covered picnic pavilion. There were find a table separate from the Cubs who are making an incredible noise that can't get out from under the roof. The kids are upset and want their mommies. I want their mommies too. One mommy produces a story book and tries to read it to them while I run out in the downpour - I'm still wet from the fire hoses so what difference does it make? - and get their lunchboxes and other things.

The rain does not stop. The Cubs start singing goofy Scout songs. The little ones want more snacks. Then it's 3:30 and the mommies arrive.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Ha! Your camp sounds as organized as ours. I think it rained every day of our camp as well. Ah, memories.