Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cousin Camp 2013

A group photo of the cousins at Kayak Point

     We just completed our 4th biannual cousin camp.  We had a great time and made a lot of fun memories. As the number of grandkids eligible to attend has grown, it has become a much bigger deal to put these on. We had seven attendees at our first cousin camp, eight years ago. This year we had 22. One of our older grand daughters asked me what we were going to do when she had children. I discussed that with Linda and we are agreed that it will then be time to pass the baton to our children and let them put on their own cousin camps. At that point we will just have settle for a family reunion every other year.  We held cousin camp at Kayak Point Regional Park, the location of our first cousin camp eight years ago. At the first cousin camp we all fit into one yurt. This year we rented the cottage and two yurts and we still had a dozen campers sleeping in two large tents.
Lilly Kang working on her Aloha state of mind

Lucy Tunnell and Lilly Kang enjoying time at the beach

     We did an Hawaiian theme this year which turned out to be a lot of fun. We had eight grand daughters taking hula lessons from Ann Tom (a good friend from church). The hula dances they learned were Kananaka, Pupu Hinu Hinu, and the Hukilau Song.  The Kang girls also learned a sitting hula to Pearly Shells. A number of grand kids were working on learning to play the ukulele before cousin camp and we added a few more ukulele players at camp.  We had a total of 5 ukuleles at camp and usually there were several kids playing on them at any given time. I learned about 8 or 10 chords on the ukulele and developed a repretoire of a half a dozen Hawaiian songs. That allowed me to be the musical accompaniment for Kananaka and Pupu. I couldn't manage the Hukilau Song as it had too many hard chords.  I also learned Pearly Shells and Princess Papule. I consider that my biggest accomplishment with the ukulele was learning to sing and play the Hawaiian War Chant. Linda even arranged for some professional entertainment on Tuesday evening that included hula lessons.

Group hula lessons behind the cottage. Note the little ukulele player in the middle.

      My daughters, Lia, Sarah. and Rachel, and daughter-in-law, Beth, did most of the cooking. We tried to have a fairly authentic Hawaiian menu which included lots of pineapple and coconut along with a spam day. Hawaii consumes more spam than the rest of the United States combined. They even sell spam at movie theaters in Hawaii.  The spam was pretty well received. However, some of the campers objected to the pervasive presence of pineapple and coconut in many dishes. It actually never occurred to me that anyone wouldn't like either pineapple or coconut, let alone both.

     The activities during the week included games, trips to the beach, lots of crafts, fishing on the pier,  canoeing, crabbing, campfires, and lots of silly songs and skits.  I was surprised that fishing was so popular.  I think many of my grand children must have a serious fishing deficit in their lives. We only managed to catch a few piling perch and all of the crabs in our pot were females (only male crabs can be kept).  Yet they were all pretty enthused about both fishing and crabbing. I only brought a few poles and we had kids standing in line waiting for their turn to catch a fish. Our crafts included weaving lauhala bracelets, lots of things to paint, and lots of things to make with shells.

Chloe Kang fishing on the pier

Jonathan Romero and Hanna Kang on the fishing pier

I thought the kids would find the water too cold for swimming. Not hardly.

      The highlight of the week was the big luau on Thursday evening. All of the parents were invited to attend. Paulette Nielsen (another good friend from church), her sister Daphne, and niece Cindy, cooked our luau feast. It was authentic Hawaiian luau fare to include lau lau (pork and fish cooked in Ti leaves), poi, coconut pudding, chicken long rice (a chicken soup with long rice noodles), sweet and sour pork, and a wonderful fruit salad with mango and pineapple.  I liked everything I ate except the poi. The poi wasn't very tasty on its own. In fact I'd say that library paste and wood glue both have a better flavor.  It wasn't so much that it tasted bad as it didn't have much flavor at all.  Most of the kids tried the poi but very few gave it a second taste.  We had the girls perform their hula dances for the entertainment.  We also sang lots of songs and the kids did some skits. It was a pretty good time.

      It was a little sad Friday morning as everybody was preparing to go home. On the other hand, Linda and I were both pretty beat at the end of the week. I am so grateful for the support of our children in helping us to do this,  Its wonderful that they are willing to make some serious sacrifices to facilitate cousin camp and we especially appreciated our cooks.  The girls fixing the meals took a major burden off our shoulders. It was so nice to be able to focus on spending time with the kids and less on logistical issues like food. I can't think of anything that gives me greater joy than simply being with my children and grand children. I am thankful for the Gospel in my life for many reasons, but I am particularly grateful for our understanding of the importance of family. We had a T-shirt made for cousin camp with the motto "Ohana Kau a Kau" which is "Families are Forever" in Hawaiian.

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