3 of my boys and I doing what will forever be known as the "Single File Please" pose! When we did cabin visits, the boys were almost more excited for their teachers to see their cabins than the girls were! I wanted to put more pictures but they all have kids and I have to watch thier privacy (I will make sure it's okay with these three boys. I don't think they or their parents will mind. If they do, I will delete it...) So this week has been tiring, fun and memorable. I went to Scicon with my sixth graders and had a wonderful time. On the first day, things were pretty busy. Kids arrived at school with all their pillows, sleeping bags and luggage, slightly wound up and ready for their adventure. I was slightly scrambling around because my teaching partner Ms. Estandia was ill and would not be going. I am kind of embarrassed to say that I had left pretty much all of the pre-planning/preparations to her since this was my first trip there. She had actually worked as an intern there, so she is a Scicon expert. Mr. Redfield was highly qualified to substitute for her though. He has just retired and has years of Scicon experience too. He let me know that he would be there until about 3 or 4 each day and then head back home, which was completely fine. In taking attendance, I learned that morning that we had several absentees and would only be taking 44 kids between the two classes. Next, I found out that we were not taking any girl high school counselors. GREAT, I thought. SO we headed down the road to the camp. Bus ride was fine, we got there, and then I realized how organized these people are! They had enough counselors to cover us, and the first thing teachers always do is meet and closely review all the cabin and trail groups to see that there aren't any that are too heavily weighted with potential problems. Everything is highly structured and schedules and kid arrangements run very smoothly.
Once we did that, the week pretty much went off without a hitch. Sure, we had a few kids get strikes, and we actually made a call home on one of them, but they really did a great job behaviorally overall. We also had a couple homesickies who were sobbing and just sure that they could not make it through the week and would need to go home (funny how a few little "tactics" eventually cheered them up and they had a good time). Trails and the trail guides were great, and I think the kids walked away with scientific knowledge in one week that was much more hands on and fun than reading the textbook. I was so very proud of those who earned personal excellence recognition from every one of their trail guides thereby recieving their personal excellence bead (to add to their Scicon bracelet). Evening activities were a blast to watch and participate in. We played games together, the interns and teachers did skits (that the kids will now be parroting punchlines from for the rest of the year), we sang, danced, and went to bed exhausted but happy each night. I got a chance to spend some time with some really fun teachers from Delano, Shafter and Porterville. We were having such a great time together that on the last night, we looked at the clock and it said 2 a.m. before we finally decided to get to bed!
I really tried to have a great time and participate in everything. I went on trails at all the trail times except one, acted goofy, made up a cabin cheer for our cabin to do when all the kids did theirs, and played the part of Captain Scicon in the teacher skit. The only time that was rough for me was around 9 p.m. when I knew Kris was putting the girls to bed without me. I would walk out the back door of the cabin and keep walking until my phone got a weak signal so I could call (normally just a few steps). I got caught up on the major events of their day and said goodnight, then would spend a few minutes wishing I could be home with them. Then I would find myself gabbing away with my new friends again.
All in all it was a wonderful week that I will not ever forget. Walking out to the lodge on the last day, 9/11, was kind of surreal for a moment, as I noticed the flag at half-mast and remembered what had happened 8 years ago. Here is my "where was I?" story: I normally do not watch or listen to the news in the morning- I just mentally and physically prepare for my day at work. I had arrived at school to my bus duty, and a little 3rd grade girl was talking in a flustered voice about a plane in New York . I had no clue what she was talking about, but a couple more kids seemed to know, and were upset too. One even had mentioned the Pentagon. Then I later learned what had happened. We went about the rest of the day trying to provide normalcy for the kids. Inside though, this was the first time in my life that I had truly questioned my own safety and security. It was such a strange and unnerving feeling, and with a little baby Becca at the time, my mama bear instincts kicked in and I really worried for my baby. I remember getting a horrible rush of fear any time I heard an airplane overhead for quite some time after that, and I still do at times. Now flashing forward again to to 9/11/09, I feel it was a fitting end to my Scicon week to come home and enjoy pizza with my hubby and girls, and watch some television feeling very safe and comfy in my home. No matter how things get in the world, we should always stand for right, even fight to defend it if we have to, but we always need to look forward with a "perfect brightness of hope"...