Tuesday, March 31, 2009

National Youth Leader Training

Ben was selected to go to National Youth Leader Training with the Boy Scouts here. I felt like it was a great opportunity for him and made, er...I mean, "let" him go.

He was not allowed to take a phone so we had no contact with him for a week. This concerned me as this was not a camp out with his usual troop. These were boys from different troops all over the island. One of the first things they do is separate boys into patrols with people they don't know so they learn to work with strangers rather than teaming up with their buddies.

Friday night they held a feast and invited the families to join them for dinner and watch skits the boys had worked on during the week.

They definitely had the "feast" part down pat. I think there were five different kinds of meat. Potatoes and rice too. Definitely food scouts were happy about.

After the meal, they led us down to their campfire area. It was waaaaay back in the woods. We had to trek there in the dark. They had a scout posted every so often holding a tiki torch which did nothing whatsoever to help us see our way along. And they actually had us go down a lot of stairs. Not nice evenly spaced stairs either. Stairs built by boy scouts. You couldn't tell if you were about to step on a stair that was two inches wide on one end and twelve inches wide on the other end. Or if it was going to be three inches down to the next step or eight. Quite a navigational experience getting to the campfire.

The campfire very quickly burned out and we sat in the dark and listened to the speech about what the boys had learned during the week.

We watched the skits. If you watch carefully, someone used a flash and you can see Ben's group performing a song. It's just a split second mind you. You may have to watch it several times to actually catch it. Yes, there! That's Ben!

Then the boys were presented with their certificates. I think this was Ben getting his. When they called out his name, the staff and other scouts exploded in cheers and yells which makes me wonder what the heck he does to get everyone to adore him so much in only a week when he can not be pleasant to his sisters for five minutes at home.

Then it was time to leave. We had to hike back up the stairs and trail in the pitch black darkness. I held on to the back of Ben's shirt with one hand and held on to the girls with the other hand while Ben trotted up the path like a mountain goat. "I've been up and down this path five hundred times this week, I don't need to be able to see it," he told me.

He told me all about his week on the drive home - I'll post his account of it tomorrow.

"Did you make any friends?" I asked. He looked at me and grinned. "Did you hear everyone scream my name?"

I guess that means yes.

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