Lars has been interested in 4H activities this year. Our local chapter advertises by distributing fliers in the schools and Lars asked to go for events about science and puppets. The last 4H flier that came home was a week-long day camp that would run right after school let out for summer. Lars was predictably excited when he found out we'd signed him up. Ross was not. Ross went into a pouty funk that lasted - in bursts - for weeks, right up to and including the ride to drop them off for the first time. He did not want to go to a camp where there would be LEARNING. It would be SUMMER VACATION. Only NERDS would go to a camp with LEARNING. Ross is NOT an NERD. He did not want to go to NERD CAMP.
Nevertheless, Ross was deposited at Nerd Camp as scheduled. At dinner that night, we got an earful from him! There were snakes! A lizard you could touch! He demonstrated how lizards smell with their tongues. He said there was a goat! And snack! They made knapsacks to carry their camp things! And got water bottles! He really liked one of the counselors and a friend from school and hockey was in his group. Chris and I listened with smiles and during a break toward the end of his enthusiastic diatribe, I couldn't resist sticking in, "So Nerd Camp was ok?" Ross tried to glower at me but he couldn't pull it off.
Lars added that his group had done Educal outside. Educal? We looked at him quizzically. "You know," he said, "Educal Physication. It's like gym at school only outside and with games. E-P?" Ahhhh, we sighed with comprehension. EP.
The boys spilled out of the car after Day 2, each sporting a large, decorated cardboard box. They ran into playroom, dropped the boxes, and then ran outside shouting they were going to get everyone on the street for the Magic Show! Sure enough, the neighborhood attended in force and the kids each demonstrated five or six magic tricks they'd learned that day. "Nerd Camp has a magician who shows you how to do tricks? Cool!" I exclaimed (I have no restraint).
"Mama!" Admonished Ross, "Stop calling it NERD CAMP. It is FOUR-H."
On Day 3, Ross began his dinnertime recap with an impish grin and, "It was Water Festival Day at Nerd Camp!"
Day 4 was all about plants. They made flowered pens that sit in little pots of beans. They planted herbs that they brought home for me. They went on a Nature Walk. Lars learned that the four H's stand for Head, Heart, Health and - he thinks, Fingers.
Day 5 was full of games and making ice cream and getting ready for the Farewell Ceremony, which featured a video montage made by the oldest campers (5th-6th graders) during the week. Lars was proud of his starring role jumping rope and his several cameo appearances.
The Camp Director (also head of 4H here) and I were chatting when I picked Ross up on the last day. I told her about "Nerd Camp" and she burst out laughing - her own son calls it Nerd Camp too! There's no question that the boys want to go back next year and I think they will be sad on Monday when it is not time to get in the car and go down to 4H.