I chaperoned my son and seven other 4th graders at a three-day, two-night camping trip. I knew this would be a test of mental strength for me because two fathers from last year told me their stories which included: 2:30 a.m. bed time, an asthma attack and (begin Indiana Jones voice) snakes (end Indiana Jones voice)!
My wife (god bless her) gave me the some great advice: “Your only job is to:
1) keep the boys from hurting themselves.
2) keep the boys from hurting someone else.
You job is not to keep the boys clean, teeth brushed or well rested.”
For some reason, this made sense to me and I took her advice. The only thing I changed was I came up with a plan to get the boys to sleep at a reasonable hour. I mean, I do need my beauty sleep.
Once we all got to the cabin and unpacked, I gathered “The Great Eight” together and told them the following: “Be nice to each other, the girls and the smaller kids. Listen to the chaperons and camp counselors. AND BE SAFE!” Wonder of wonders, it looked like they were listening.
For getting them to sleep, I had a great book and a headlamp with a red night-vision light. I let them go crazy from about 9-10 p.m. (They played hide and seek in the dark with flashlights inside the cabin) and then I made them settle in. I turned off the lights and read to them with my red light on while walking around the cabin. This allowed me to cut one of them off when they tried to sneak out of bed and to ‘shush’ someone if he was talking. Once about half of them got into the book, they others kept telling the noisy kids to be quiet. After about 15 minutes, most of the other dads were sleeping and the boys knocked off about 30/45 minutes later. Two boys were still up after about 45 minutes. They were both scared. So, I told them that I would stay awake and patrol the cabin till they went to sleep. I took out the latest Clive Cussler and read to myself while on patrol.
I was told I set a camp record by having the boys in our cabin to sleep by 11.
I think that most of the boys brushed their teeth once. Maybe. And one even took a shower. My son even changed his underwear,,, once.
Dude! camp was great. I am glad I listened to my wife and learned from the other dads who came before me.
Oh!, almost forgot. One of the boys choked on some food at lunch. I had to Heimlich him. If you don’t know how to do it, you got to learn.
Share on Facebook