Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Camp

Dawn reflecting off the frozen surface of Lake Winnipeg
I went camping with my Girl Guides of Canada - Pathfinder Unit last weekend. We went to a district camping event with about 70 girls and women at a beautiful camp about an hour and a half north of our city. It has terrific grounds and indoor facilities including a pool, meeting spaces, and dining hall. The food was wonderful and we really appreciated having the staff prepare it for us instead of us cooking over a camp-stove! Camp was not exactly roughing it. 

Our small cabin for the weekend
This was supposed to be a winter camp but the unusual warm weather we had this past week made a lot of the cold weather activities we  planned  impossible.   

Snow shoeing and spraying colored food dye on snow won’t work without a reasonable amount of snow. The ground was "crusty-icy" and "slushy-muck" with several areas deeper than our rubber boots.  It was by far the worst walking conditions I have experienced in many years, and of course my little cabin was the furthest from the parking lot and the mess hall.  I stayed in a small cabin with my daughter who is also a leader, another leader, a parent volunteer and 6 teenage girls.

Solar S'mores and yucky wet slippery ground
The theme for the camp was environmental awareness.  We did activities about water filtration and keeping our waterways clean and we planted little seedlings into containers.  Our girls helped run a couple of sessions such as making s’mores (graham crackers with melted marshmallows and chocolate) in the snow using a solar oven and wide games and a scavenger hunt about recycling.  Some of my girls are still very young 12 year olds and these were huge task for them but the pride in their accomplishments was undeniable. The younger girls, ages 5 up, looked up to the BIG girls and that encouraged the big girls to try all that much harder. The 12 to 17 year old participants ran an amazing campfire for the whole group on Saturday night. They led an hour of songs by memory and the 12 to 13 year olds even made up the cutest little skit about what the animals want us to do to take care of the environment.

The main activity hall in the early morning light
I had a really hard time moving around in that miserable snow. Sleeping on a strange, squeaky bottom bunk - with a wiggly young lady on top was pretty tough too. I did have fun though. I visited with the other adults, I played in the pool and I sang my little heart out even when I had trouble remembering the lyrics. My unit made adorable no-sew, green fleece hats. I walked back and forth to see all the girls who were dispersed all over the campgrounds doing their volunteer jobs. I spent a lot of time helping the girls prep for the activities they were leading, debriefing them afterward and I even helped work on some extra program materials that were appropriate learning for the older girls. 

I got around wonderfully this year in comparison to last spring at camp. Last year I needed a walker and could barely move, but this year I was in the thick of things despite the tricky conditions!

 I must admit that Sunday morning did not go well. It was enough strain over the weekend that my affected side started to spasm and I was in a tremendous amount of pain for the last few hours at camp. The muscles in the left side of my back contracted from shoulder blade to hip and I was pulled right over to the left side and unable to straighten. Every time I moved it triggered a whole new wave but I was too uncomfortable to sit or lay down and eventually my hip and left leg started to spasm as well. The car ride home was pretty long and miserable too.  It was a bit scary for the girls to see me in that much pain and I feel pretty bad about that.  I am feeling better today, but the episode was long and severe enough to leave me feeling pretty beat up.

I was feeling pretty happy with how I am moving lately and I have become pretty lax about doing my exercises. This incident was just proof that I still need to do a LOT of work on strengthening my whole body.

Our next camp will be tenting in May. I am not sure if I should go or not. I don’t want to miss anything, but I also don’t want to risk a repeat of last Sunday. 


Humpty Dumpty said...

Glad you had fun, but I'm sorry it was so much of a physical strain on you. Let me know if you want a swimming partner, or someone to do exercises with. (Sorry about Tai Ji, this morning. It completely slipped my mind!) I need the physical workout, too. Maybe it will help my memory! Have a great weekend! :)

Grace Carpenter said...

The car ride sounds awful.

Even though my strength and balance is getting better, I couldn't have dealt with the conditions underfoot. It sounds your stamina, in general, is so much better. Yay!

Alyxandra said...

Hey Linda, I KNOW how difficult it is at winter camp! You must be doing well to last that long! Way to go!!! Hugs!

Humpty Dumpty said...

Linda, I nominated you for the Sunshine Award. Thought it might brighten your day! :)

Drop by my Wordpress blog to find out how to share the Sunshine.

Diane said...

Bravo Linda! It sounds like you did so well and had such fun! --up until the end--ouch.

I suspect the snow and slush made things even more difficult. Perhaps camp in May will be easier with drier ground underfoot?

Take care and hope you are feeling better soon!

Glynis said...

I admire your courage to even go camping at all, especially with the conditions for mobility.

My whole right side doesn't spasm like your left side. It just spasm from the thigh down to the toes. Painful but I'm sure not as painful as what you go through. Be good to yourself.

Charlene and David said...

Sounds like fun! I love this blog! Hello friends, We finally have our blog up and running. We would love for you to check it out and/or subscribe. We enjoyed writing articles for Stroke Connection Magazine, (Nov. Dec. '06, "The Grief Process," and Jan. Feb. '12, "Surviving With A Positive Attitude.") We are excited about the release of our new book! Hope to see you soon! Dave Nassaney & Charlene Nassaney

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