We went to Babler State Park on Friday afternoon, into evening, to get a sample of an outdoor trip. It was more for me than the girls: could I remember everything we needed to pack?
At Babler, you can't light a wood fire at the picnic sites. Charcoal is fine--we use it a lot at GS camp, actually--but the grill was up high and hard for girls to work with. At camp, they learn to light fires. But here I did that. My co-leader did assembly line meal making. The girls went on a walk, played at the playground, shared flashlights, and came back to the shelter, pretty much. It rained a bit and they saw that, yes, you can still do things in the rain. The shelter had its own bathrooms but no electricity and nobody complained about the bathroom in the dark. They cooperated with each other remarkably well and there was little, if any whining (I have two whiners, and one of them was quite subdued and the other I've learned to answer plainly and move along).
We had a rededication/investiture ceremony that I think went well--it could have been made better with bigger candles on the table, but it was nice. I would have liked to have sung some more songs but the time worked out just right that the one parent who dropped girls off and went away just got back as the ceremony ended. So that was good. I feel like we're finally at a point with this troop that we can do meaningful things and start really progressing quickly. I have some ideas for our December trip. Lots, actually. But I digress.
So (names are changed) Paula's dad left with his four; Ginger pulled away with her daughter only (as was the plan). My four were in my van and Jenny had three in her car. And Thousand Boxes of Cookies Mom was gathering up the last things for her car...and I wasn't going to leave until she did as the registered leader. She saw that I hadn't pulled away and came up to me. I got out of the van to talk--girls are nosy and I didn't know what she had to say. She had tears in her eyes.
"I saw that you changed the camping date to the next weekend," she started. "And I can't go." She sounded heartbroken. "I can come Friday night and stay but we have plans for that Saturday."
"It's ok," I told her, trying to reassure her. "I have five volunteers already and we're staying at Wohl and I don't think there's much room, frankly. Not if all or most of the girls go. There's a leaders' room but it only sleeps 4 to begin with. We've got it covered."
"But I can go Friday," she protested. "I just, I'd have to leave mid-afternoon on Saturday. And I can come back on Sunday morning! I can! But I can't stay Saturday night. I hate to leave you in a lurch like that."
"You're not," I try again. "Really. I have Jenny and Sarah definitely, myself; Ginger volunteered, Kara--she's not a mom but a girl scout volunteer I know and trust and she's a great camper--"
"But it's so much fun! Do you know how much fun it is? And I'm going to miss it!"
"It's ok. We'll talk about all this as it gets closer."
She got in her car and I got in mine and shut my mouth tight. Tighter than tight. My girls and I sang along to a Girl Scout CD of campfire songs I'm trying to inundate them with so we can sing more than the Brownie Smile song and Make New Friends. And the whole way home, and most of the night, I tried to think of how the heck I was going to let these moms on my right hand go, but this one mom on my left not go. Sigh.
Wohl Lodge is small, and there really is a leaders room that only sleeps 4. I have to go, as the registered camper. My cookie manager is going because I have a feeling her daughter won't go without her, but also because we're good friends and I trust her and she knows how to camp and she's a teacher and knows how to handle girls. My co-leader is going because she also knows how to handle girls. The girl scout volunteer I mentioned to TBOCM (thousand boxes of cookies mom) is actually Maeve's preschool teacher, who would be great to add because she's highly energetic, knows half the girls on a teacher-student kind of level, is eternally happy and good-natured and fun. As for the fifth, I have several choices--or I don't have to bring anyone if nobody else sticks their hand up and says pickmepickmepickme I want to camp in December in a lodge outside of Pevely, Missouri. You know? She'd have to be a registered scout, which gives us four choices, and I have a feeling one or more will want to go--but we're also going in March and in the later spring, so we can spread the wealth. Mary Beth could go this time, maybe, and Rodnee in March and Kate in May. Or not! It's up to them--I don't want to force this on anyone.
And I know I will probably eventually have to face the music and either tell TBOCM that I can't take her (for what diplomatic reason I cannot fathom right now), or suck it up and take her along. But not this first time. I really want this first time to go well. Maybe I'll take her in May when we'll not be in a lodge, such close quarters and her fussing all over the place trying to overhelp.
At least I have written rules about the hayride in November--our district is putting it on and they're actually limiting the number of adults we should bring. Whew.
In the end, it's good to have these problems. Heck. Everybody's relatively happy and healthy, my troop is big and I have so many parents and other folks who want to help out. It's kind of exciting. We'll see.... :^)