A couple of years ago, I wrote about just how much my son loved Camp Yawpaw (there will be a link to that article attached below). The summer before that, he had gotten kicked out of one summer camp after he was accused of having done something to another kid. Not even entirely sure what it was he was accused of doing, but he was kicked out. No calls or meetings with the parents, which would have seemed appropriate, given the circumstances. I certainly would have at least liked to know exactly what he was being accused of.
At the time, my son was also struggling in school - and I mean seriously struggling! You see, he tends to be hyper, and at the time, his behavior was getting in the way in every facet of school. His academic work was seriously suffering, and it was having a detrimental impact on his social life, to boot. In fact, the faculty there were more concerned with his inability to effectively interact with the other students than they were with his academic performance!
What the school wanted, and what his mom wanted, was for him to receive meds that would calm him down. And I will admit to being opposed to that. In fact, when I have him (usually every other weekend), I usually make a point of making sure that he is still not on meds.
In any case, this is a situation where I will have to admit that what I was scared of and opposed to actually worked well for him. Everything improved! He was doing much better in school academically and socially! And the next summer after getting kicked out of his old camp (Camp Vacamas - a name that my son still cannot say without a look of disgust crossing his face), he went to Camp Yawpaw, which he has just absolutely loved!
As a result, of course, we loved it right along with him! And indeed, the camp seemed very welcoming! Every Thursday when the camp is in session, parents are invited to the camp's barbecue, where the counselors really let their hair down, and everyone just has some fun. They cook some wonderful, summer food, with hamburgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill, as well as macaroni salad and lemonade and iced tea. Parents can obtain photographs of the den that their child is in. And, of course, they put on skits to entertain everyone, often times showing their crazy side!
The kids are involved, of course.
I did not go to all of them, although I did manage to go to a few of them each year, including the first one this summer, and the one that they held just a couple of day ago. On that evening, for the first time for me, it rained, and so the festivities were all under the permanent canopy.
Each summer and each barbecue has it;s own theme. Last year, the theme was Pokemon (it probably would have been more timely this year!). Now this summer, it is DC superheroes. You will notice in the pictures and the video of the skits, that all of the counselors are dressed up like prominent DC comics characters.
If I did not mention this before, let me say now that this is a boy's scout camp, and so the activities that the boys participate in are very cool, and typically outdoor kind of activities. That includes archery, shooting BB guns, nature hikes, boating and, of course, swimming! At the center of the camp is a picturesque little lake where the water activities, including water games, are held. It is also normally where the Thursday evening skits are held, as well, with not one, but two campfires going on at the same time. Very cool.
This keeps boys - even my rather hyper boy - quite busy during the course of the day, and it exposes them to some awesome activities and nature skills that, hopefully, they can keep for a lifetime!
Now, I would be remiss if I did not mention the progress that my son has continued to make in the last few years. From that dismal and discouraging scenario a few years back, when his mom and I were called in for meetings and where options were discussed as to what to do about his erratic behavior and poor academic showing, things have completely turned around! He has been enjoying Camp Yawpaw for three summers straight, and has been very happy to be a part of a camp that he feels truly a part of. Frankly, he seemed sad to see it go. And in school, he received the Presidential Academic Achievement award! He has friends and gets along so much better with the rest of the class, although he tends to keep relatively quiet. The way that the staff described him, he is very serious and student, and a several staff members to us now suggest that he is the ideal student, and that they wish every student was like him!
Suffice to say, I could not be any more proud of him! Also, this is one of the things for which I truly have to count my blessings! It makes me so happy and proud to see him being as successful as he has been, and a smile comes on my face whenever he shows how much he loves Camp Yawpaw!
Here is my original article about Camp Yawpaw from a couple of years ago:
This was the picture of my son that accompanied the blog entry about Camp Yawpaw two years ago.
Here are some pictures of the counselors preparing the permanent den for the evening's festivities and, below that, a few brief videos of some of the evening's fun:
Here is a promo video of Camp Yawpaw that I found on Youtube, and which seemed appropriate to share here: