The Fitzgerald Cup is my first experience of competition camping. I found the weekend dirty, dusty and hard work but also a very interesting experience. The camp is designed for the kids to take responsibility for everything with little help from leaders or parents. I’m the no-muck-around, get-the-job-done type of person, so it was a challenge to stand back and let things happen.
Now a few days on, I have had time to process things and want to share with you some the things I will be taking away as a parent.
These kids are capable and they are learning to build their confidence. Each time the patrols did something their confidence grew. Even when the cooking looked more like disaster kitchens instead of Masterchef they did a great job.
It’s always amusing at the wonderful flare for the dramatic that kids have. The weekend was hard work and tiring for our two patrols and emotions and un-operative, oppositional and defiant behavior was in full swing. What I saw was that the kids were unsure, uncomfortable and under pressure. When the time was spent working through some issues, things calmed down and progress happened. Learning patience takes time and I’m grateful to the all the leaders who offer their patience and help.
An important one for my scout is that he thinks making mistakes is not OK which at times means he doesn’t give things a try. The weekend confirmed to me loud and clear to not give up on telling him mistakes and failing is OK. It’s how we learn to do it better next time. ‘Practice makes progress, not perfect!’ We need to keep reinforcing this with our kids because it builds resilience.
Communication, Communication, Communication! As capable as our patrols were, communication was the hardest task. Being open to what was being said, not interrupting, not making judgment and talking nicely to others was difficult for everyone. In time our kids will learn these skills and in the mean time we can also help them practice attitudes of friendliness, support, goodwill and acceptance of others as a way to help them learn how to interact and communicate with others in positive ways.
I got dirty, slept on a deflating lilo, worked hard and was exhausted but what a great opportunity to be with a team of young scouts and two dedicated and patient leaders. Thanks Karen and Enid.
Written by Danielle Marum