Saturday, February 8, 2014

outdoor ed at cedarwood

This past Wednesday through Friday, all of the 7th graders at Mia's school went to camp Cedarwood for outdoor education.  After much begging from Mia (grovelling, I should say), I agreed to go.  Actually, she really didn't beg or grovel, but it makes me feel better about myself to think that perhaps she not tolerated having me there but actually really, really desired my presence.... so in my mind she grovelled.  I was asked to come along at the official photographer of the event - perfect for me!  Got to do something I love and got to take it all in, without a lot of extra responsibility! 
By the way, I asked Mia if she would write this blog post but she refused.  Perhaps I should have grovelled.....
The time was mostly about the outdoor activities.  There were seven of them and 6 slots in which the students, broken up into groups, would go to each (minus one event/activity, obviously) over the course of the three days.  They had cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, fire and bannock, ice fishing, outdoor games and indoor games.
The whole thing was rather fabulous.  Well, okay, the weather stunk, but the kids were amazingly good-natured in spite of the absolutely frigid conditions.  Wednesday was stinking cold and I thought for sure Thursday would be better.  Thursday came and it was worse.  The wind was strong and blowing across that (frozen) lake?  Oh my.  I was bundled from head to toe with only my eyes exposed and I was dying.  I walked out to ice fishing - directly into the wind - with my eyes closed most of the way.  It hurt so bad.  Crazy.  I don't know how some of those ridiculous middle schoolers whom are too-cool-for-scarves-toques-boots-and-mittens did it.  "Mighty thankful" is an understatement at how I felt for Eric encouraging (read: forcing) me to invest in really good winter gear for myself and not be my usual overly-frugal self.
Most of these photos are of Mia because I can't really post photos of other kids, unless they are unrecognizable.  But she is super cute, so you'll probably be more happy with her lovely mug anyway.

Mia was least thrilled about ice fishing, and don't tell her but I can't really blame her.  Sitting still outside on ice with the wind whipping around you for almost two hours is few people's idea of a good time.  I can see if you had a little warm shack around you how it might be fun, but these kids were out in the open.  They did have a little shack with a fire to go into every once in a while.  Some kids even did catch real live fish (as opposed to dead ones...).  This here is a Northern Pike.

It was great to meet more of Mia's friends and her teachers.  She loves her teacher, Mr. Carter, with good reason.  He is a great guy.  He obviously loves the kids but he also holds them to high standards.  And he pushes them.  Sometimes we aren't sure how much they are learning in his class as Mia talks about how they go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at school as well.  Or the latest, in honour of the winter olympics: watching the movie Cool Runnings!  Mr. Carter (aktma.... that is also-known-to-me-as, Mr Kotter or MC Hammer  - his initials are MC) is an avid skiing and participates in biathlons, no less.  Apparently he is training his whole class.
You can see in this picture how miserable it was at some points.  The wind was blowing so hard it was one big hazy mass of snow at the ice fishing area.

Hopefully no one will mind that I am putting this picture in.  This guy was the only one of many willing to go down the tube slide backwards so that I could take a picture.  And I can't really blame them.  It was the craziest, steepest tube slide I've ever seen - and iced-up really, really well!
Mia had hurt her knee cross country skiing and was a little done with going up and down the stairs on the slide, and done with the cold at this point.  Couldn't really blame her.

Part of my excitement in going was also that I had worked at Cedarwood for four summers.  I had only been back once, the summer Eric and I got married, to see the place after the main lodge had burned down.  Those were some very significant summers in my life in many ways.  Very few memories where stirred up, however.  The place is so different.  I guess 20 years will do that.  Only one building remains that was there when I was there.  It was were I lived and hung out with many other staff, but it has now been renovated to house full time staff.  The fact that it was winter, and how that changes the look of a place, made a big difference as well.  Really, it is just as well.
Now the place holds memories of my daughter, her friends, and her a part of her life.  So Cedarwood is even more rich than before!

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