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Parental Premonition

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Probably the most difficult part of being a Scoutmaster is dealing with parents. While we all run into "situations" from time to time, one happened last night that has me shaking my head.


The troop went to a Council camp about 2 hours from home this weekend (Saturday morning to mid-day Sunday) to do Wilderness Survival stuff (sleeping in shelters that they built, cooking sans stoves, etc.). This is a camp that grants permission to cut living stuff to make shelters (so you can have leaves, branches, etc.) It's basically unimproved woods, and anything that gets cut down grows back quickly! It's an ideal place for this kind of activity. I was not along on this outing due to work requirements.


Weather was forecast to be ideal: 70's during the day, 50's at night. No rain. Mostly sunny. The weatherman was right for a change...The scouts did take along a couple of tents in case some of the younger guys got too scared to sleep in their shelters.


Cell phones are carried by adults - the boys' phones are supposed to be off or stowed in a vehicle. Besides, coverage in the area is dicey, so why run down the battery searching for a signal?


About 3:15 a.m. Saturday night (Sunday morning, actually), my cell phone rang. Stumbling to the dresser, I picked it up and saw that it was the father of two of the scouts who were camping. He asked if I could call one of the adults and confirm that everything there was OK. It seems his wife had a premonition that her older son (16 years old, SPL, and experienced camper) was cold sleeping under just a space blanket. She'd been distraught for about 3 hours, and nothing her husband said helped, so he finally agreed to call me. (Mom and Dad are both Committee members, big troop supporters, so having their guys away on this camping trip was routine.)


I tried contacting the adults, but no one answered - phones went to voicemail. There's something about sleeping in the woods that keeps you from hearing the ringer... I called Dad back and told him so. I did not offer to drive out to the camp to check... He apologized for calling "so early". I tried to go back to sleep.


The report from camp is that everything went extremely well. No one was cold, no visits from black bears, no rain. All happy campers. The campmaster, who came around to check them out couldn't even locate where they'd built their shelters. (They'd built several different styles, based on ideas in the October issue of Backpacker magazine, including one that involved digging a good-size hole.)


Mom called me this afternoon after her scouts returned home, apologizing profusely. She doesn't know why she felt the say she did, but promised that she won't do it again. I was gracious and accepted her apology, telling her not to worry about it, that we all experience things from time to time that we can't rationalize. (I'm trying to rationalize why she wasn't rational.) I'm sure someday we'll laugh about it. Right now, I just want my interrupted sleep back.



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This vaguely reminds me of a story -- our pack, along with many others, spent a night aboard the Battleship Massachusetts (Fall River, MA). Below decks, ventilation is not so great, and I swear we were all feeling just a little hypoxic. Sleep came late, because of noisy Cubs (there were maybe 40 Cubs and adults in our bunkroom), and just after everyone quieted down, a woman screamed. Loudly.


She then apologized, loudly, because she thought she saw a kid falling off a top rack. It wasn't so funny at the time.


It wasn't a very restful night after that. The only mildly amusing part I remember is that the next morning, I was talking with a group of adults, and one mom mentioned that there was one extremely loud snorer in the bunkroom. I answered, "Really? I didn't hear a thing." But she didn't catch on.



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As I was reading this, as soon as you said the phones went over to voice mail, I was expecting to hear that Mom wanted you to drive up and check on them. So I guess this was not nearly as bad as it could have been.


I think Mom learned more than her son did this weekend. Thanks for sharing that.

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I must be more insensitive than most.


I kept wondering what's wrong with sleeping cold under a space blanket...


How else does a lad learn to use boughs as cover, buddies as bun warmers (NOT like that!), or to pack adequate sleeping gear in the future?


50 degree lows? I keep my bedroom at 62 when I can afford it.

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it's NOT just women...


our son was on a campout this past weekend and while the weather forcast said it would be cool, it said that it would rain only over night. well, it started raining over night and didn't stop until well past noon the next day during all the activities.


it was hubby that was worried... my response was that he's camped enough to know to check the weather and pack for the worst possible weather, he's been in rain before to know that if you only have 1 change of clothes to wait until bedtime to change so you can sleep nice and dry.


yep, when son got home he did take his poncho, he did pack plenty of warm clothes, and just looked at his father and shook his head in disappointment that his father would even worry.

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I would have called back the next night at 3:15 to ask how their son was doing and if he enjoyed he campout.


I'm glad you got a chuckle out of the whole thing. I don't think I would have responded as well. And I sure as heck would not have turned around and made the call to the leaders on the campout.

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