Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cousin Camp 2011

       Another cousin camp has come and gone.  I think the kids all had a great time, but I know I sure did.  We had seventeen attendees this year, 15 of them our grandchildren and two of them soon to be related by marriage.  The logistics of cousin camp have grown more complex with the growing number of grandkids reaching the magic age of 5.  We couldn't have managed it this year without  a substantial supporting cast.  When we do our next cousin camp (two years from now) we'll have an additional four campers so it won't get any easier. This is probably the last time we'll be able to do it at our house.

      One of the things I enjoy most about cousin camp is the chance to spend a little one on one time with my grandchildren.  It just seems to happen naturally too.  One moment I'm helping someone with a craft project and a short time later I have an eager little assistant helping me cook something in the dutch oven.  It was one magic moment after another.

    The indian theme was a big hit.  Linda made an indian dress for each of the girls and an indian shirt for each boy.  I was supposed to make a pair of moccasins for each child but I only managed to get halfway through by the end of cousin camp.  I think I still owe moccasins to Anthony, Brandon, Rachel, Cassie, Madelynn, Britton, Elise, Lance, and Abby.  We started out with some fun craft projects.  Each of the kids got to decorate a leather name tag with an indian name of their choice. they also got to decorate their own special staff.  Linda had procured a goodly supply of beads, feathers, and various other doodads to fancy up their staffs.  since we had a fair amount of rain on the first day, it was a good thing we had the craft projects to keep them busy.

    The bows and arrows were also pretty popular.  A number of campers spent a lot of quality time at the little archery range we had put together with some straw bales.  We had several bows that were suitable for the older kids and two smaller ones that were just the right size for the smaller kids.  Lance in particular was very taken with the bows and arrows.  He was less enthused about my efforts to teach him the proper way to shoot the bow.  By the end of cousin camp I think I had finally persuaded him to try shooting the bow my way, but he may have just been humoring me.

    One of my contributions to cousin camp was a wigwam we constructed in our little woodlot.  I used a lot of long sticks I had pruned out of my hazel nuts and fruit trees to build the basic structure.  Then we covered the structure with burlap coffee sacks.  I didn't have an abundance of birch trees from which to strip the bark for an authentic covering.  It was only part way finished at the start of cousin camp  but that turned out to be a good thing.  A few of the kids, Madelynn in particular, had a lot of fun helping me finish up the wigwam.  The last night of cousin camp Madelynn, Cassie, Hannah, and Luna got to spend the night in the wigwam. We'll keep the wigwam through the summer as a playhouse.

    The campfires were great.  I do love a good silly campfire song and it was such great fun watching all the little indians dance around the campfire. We had a couple of drums providing the beat.  The girls contributed a lot in the silly song department, thanks in large part to the girl scout camp experience of the Kangs.  My favorite new silly song was about a moose, who liked to drink a lot of juice.  I think the overall favorite was "Ghost chickens in the Sky". We also enjoyed singing about the country sunday school, a blue jay who died of a whooping cough, Bill Grogan's goat, a man who was dressed in a very strange way, "Tie me Kangaroo Down, and numerous other great silly songs.
     The best day overall for me was the Saturday we spent canoeing at Blackman's Lake.  Linda hiked with the kids from our house to Hill Park while I helped ferry canoes to the lake.  After four hours of canoeing, picking water lilies, swimming, and picnicing I marched the tired but happy little campers back home.  We sang silly songs all the way home which minimized the "I'm tired" complaints. Everyone sure went to bed a lot easier on Saturday night than they had the night before.

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