We picked up Nicklas from Camp Tecumseh on Saturday. I was so anxious to hear about his week. The photos posted by Camp that featured Nick were sparse and didn't give a hint as to what clinics he chose. I tried to get some clinic choices commited by him before we dropped him off but he was tight lipped. He told me he would sign up for the two he didn't get to do last year - archery and drama. But he wouldn't decide on the other three he would list when asked by his counselors. He ended up picking basketball, water polo, and swimming. In the end, his clinics were basketball, archery, and water polo. No drama again, even when he put it as his number one choice. Water polo ended up being his favorite, especially because several cabin mates chose it too so they got to hang out together. (I think archery was his least favorite. He only hit the target once the entire week.)
We dropped him off at camp as soon as allowed because he wanted to be one of the first in the cabin. Last year, he was one of the last and was stuck with a bed right next to the bathroom. He said it smelled disgusting! Parents aren't supposed to drop off the campers until 2pm on Sunday, but when we got there right at 2, there were already a few dozen cars parked. Oh well! We went through the check-in process and 45 minutes later, we were at his cabin. Four other boys were already there and Nicklas found a top bunk - away from the bathroom. Here he is on his bed. The bottom bunk was never used so I guess he ended up moving his stuff down.
Seeger wanted to check out the top bunk too...
Seeger is also going to Camp Tecumseh this year. He's not old enough for resident camp so he's going to spend the week with Uncle Matt, Aunt Melissa, and go to day camp each day with cousins Ben and Anna. When we were dropping off Nicklas, Seeger asked when he would be allowed to do sleep away camp. I told him that campers have to be 8 so he will be old enough next year. He's excited about this idea and really wants to do it. But he also really wants to spend a week with his cousins at day camp. Decisions, decision! Luckily he doesn't have to decide which option to do until next year.
Here is Nick's cabin. Ten boys and two counselors - it's so small! It was pretty chaotic when we left. The boys were very excited to be at camp. As I walked out of the cabin, one of the counselors was telling two boys that they couldn't lock themselves in the bathroom and that they better come out.
The next several photos were posted on the Camp's website. I love that they post pictures throughout the week! Here is the Ottawa Week 1 cabin picture. Nicklas is standing, in the center of the group. He's got some crazy hair!
Here he is with a group of campers, in the Ga-Ga pit. He loves to play Ga-Ga!
Nicklas is in the background of this photo.
Another Ga-Ga shot, this one with his cabin mates.
Here he is at Morning Flagpole. You can see Nick's back, as he's facing the flag. He still has crazy hair.
Okay, now we're back to my pictures. This was taken on the day we went to pick him up. We arrived at the cabin just before campers returned from chapel. He was in Ottawa R-14. The R stands for River Village. It's the area for the younger campers. The older campers stay up the hill at Lake Village.
Here is Nick's "after" picture, taken as we're packing him up.
I love this next picture! Nicklas isn't the most outgoing kid. He can be a bit closed sometimes - even when other kids (and adults) say hi to him, he often doesn't look them in eye or talk loud enough for them to hear. It takes a few back and forth interactions to really engage him. (Then he doesn't STOP talking!) As we were leaving, I made him take a picture with his counselors and I asked if he wanted to say goodbye to his cabin friends. He shook his head no, which didn't surprise me. But as we headed to the car, one of the boys came up and said, "Nicklas! Goodbye! Give him a hug." Some other boys gathered around for hugs too and then I asked if I could take their picture. I'm sad that I won't get to know these boys.
And here we are, just after check out from camp. We bought Nicklas the DVD of the week and he watched it on our way home. I loved hearing him sing the camp songs that played in the background music and hearing him laugh at some of the skits that made it on to the video.
Camp is such a wonderful and very special experience for Nicklas. It's an opportunity for him to socialize with other kids, while showing some independance. A week of Camp is very expensive - more than what the Polack and I can pay. Fortunately, my mom provides this experience for Nicklas. She loves Camp Tecumseh as much as I do and she wants Nicklas to have these incredible experiences and wonderful memories. I'd like to give a big, special thank you to her for making this opportunity a reality for Nicklas.
Thanks, Mom. We love you!