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Brynn Paulin: Live from Summer Camp

This is not my normal blog and not what I'd usually write. This week, I'm at camp with 290 adolescent boys. They have no idea who I am or what I do - as a writer that is. To them, I am their friends' mom and the one who teaches them knots, badges and life skills.

It's real life and sometimes I need to take a break for it. So direct from camp: (thanks Bronwyn Green for posting this for me)

Day 1

Hot. Humid. Bugs. Lots of bugs. Covered in dirt. Me, not the bugs. A million miles of hiking. I think I might die.

Day 2 - AM

Woke up at 4 AM to a thunderstorm. Couldn't go back to sleep due to the extreme paranoia that my tent will flood again. Six mosquitoes dead. Ten million to go. I think I might die.

Day 2 - Noon

Thunderstorm. Drenched to the skin. No end of rain in sight. I think I might die.

Day 2 - PM

Almost carried off by a mosquito the size of a B52 Bomber. Still, I think I might die.

Day 3

Thunderstorms at 3:30 this morning. So far the tent hasn't leaked. Yeah! Unfortunately, we're all overtired. This morning I counted 35 bites - on just my upper legs. The mosquitoes are attacking through the clothes. They're possibly coming from the latrine which I can smell all the way across camp at times. I have chosen to walk the 1/2 mile to the real restrooms. I think I might die.

Day 4

No rain - yay! Have killer bug spray - yay! It's a gorgeous day, sunny with a slight breeze. My troop is small and because of that we are sharing a campsite. I discovered today that the male leaders in the other troop are It seems to bother them that the only full scoutmaster in camp is a female. One of the three is downright snide. One day he will look around and be shocked at how many female leaders there really are in this organization.

It's still a perfect day and tonight I have the huge privilege of calling out three of my scouts for an honor in front of camp. All three have been elected by their peers to be called for Order of the Arrow. I'm very proud of them. One is my oldest son. It's really cool.

And truthfully, things like this, experiences like this are the reason I come to camp. Places like this are where the heroes of the world are bred. Rain and bugs aside, I wouldn't trade this - and I know if not for me, these boys wouldn't be able to be here this week - but it is just as enriching to me.

Watching their happiness, their goofiness and their pride in accomplishment - that is the reason I'm not at home in my cushy office hooked to my computer writing about fictional heroes.

They're learning about swimming, archeology, fire starting, service, fire safety, weather, citizenship, cooking, arts and crafts, ecology, adventure, rifles, bow and arrow, shotgun and coping with life's challenges. They're learning the things that will make them not just heroes, but the well-rounded men of the future, and as a romance writer, I truly cannot think of a better thing to do for the world.


Bronwyn's Blog said...

The guys in the other camp are idiots. I'm grateful that you're providing such an awesome example of leadership to my son, your sons and the rest of the boys. You rock, Brynn!!!

Molly Daniels said...

Yay for your oldest son! Mine also went through the Order of the Arrow and will soon be an Eagle. As soon as we locate his packet...and he picks his project...and collects a few more badges!

As for being a female leader, heck there are 5 female leaders between his two troops. You rock!

The first time I went to Cub Scout Day camp as a walker, I stepped in a hole and tried to break my ankle; fell down a hill and tried to break my neck; finished the day by crashing my van headfirst into a tree, sending myself and 3 out of 5 scouts to the ER. The only one who didn't survive that day was the bee which caused the wreck!

Lyn Cash said...

aaw - I love this post! brings back happy memories - and I agree, what a way to contribute to grooming true heroes. we need 'em. (and they need us/you)


Marie Haynes said...

Another Scout mom - fabulous. One of my sons is an Eagle, the other close to it and working/living 6 weeks on camp staff (staph as he spells it). Scouts are smelly little things, but adorable in their own right. Good for you - I'm proud of you for sticking it out and truly making a difference in children's lives.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Great and hilarious post, Brynn! Brings back my own camp memories. When the mosquito bites fade away it will all be a warm, fuzzy blur...

Kelly Kirch said...

And look!!! You're not dead! LOL

Anny Cook said...

Heh. Did the girl scouts. Did the boy scouts. Great experience and they all have wonderful memories of their time in scouts.

So glad you took time out to do it!

wiseprez said...

"I might die" reminds me of "Still not king." and "Still the prettiest."
Kudos to you for being a great mom. My oldest didn't want me anywhere around her camp.
Tell #1 son congratulations from me.