The last day of camp, or a vacation, is always somewhat sad and happy, all at the same time. We are sad because we are leaving and our time went quickly and we are glad to go home to see our families and friends who did not come with us and we have missed. Our time at Tesomas has been special and we all have enjoyed our time at camp and the time with each other.
Saturday morning we got up at six and started to break down camp. We wanted to get personal gear and troop gear packed before flags, breakfast, and the final video showing after breakfast. The scouts worked together packing their gear, cleaning, and rolling their tents. By the time we left for breakfast, all but one or two tents were down, packed, and staged to be loaded into the troop trailer. Breakfast was quieter than usual, perhaps because so many scouts felt like us – excited to go home but sad to leave. Traditionally, when breakfast ends we watch a video of the camp experience and it is fun to watch. The camp staff compiled pictures and video setting them to music to create the show; a few of our scouts made appearances and the scouts watched and cheered to show approval. Advancements in technology have made creating videos and slide shows much easier and I cannot imagine what would have been shown ten, twenty, or seventy-five years ago at the end of camp. Whatever it may have been, I am sure it left the scouts with a feeling of completion, a feeling of no regret; making the transition from camp life back to real life easier.William and his fellow scouts are leaving camp with completed merit badges, rank advancements checked off for tenderfoot, second class, and first class accomplishments, and memories of many adventures: shooting a shotgun our rifle for the first time, climbing a rock wall, zip lining, swimming, or just having fun with fellow scouts. Though a few scouts had, unfinished business with merit badges, including William, they leave with no regrets about what they did not do or complete. They are leaving Tesomas satisfied of a week well spent and taking only memories (and a few souvenirs) and leaving footprints behind.
When the video is finished and we have sung the Tesomas Hymn; we are dismissed. A few ventured to the trading post for last minute purchases and then returned to camp to load the trailer and go home. I took pictures and video the scouts while they loaded. I asked for their favorite camp Tesomas 2010 memory, scouts responded with a list, and I generalize – shootin’ sports, climbing, waterfront, and the trading post. The trailers are loaded, the campsite is clean, riders assigned to drivers, and we drive back to the main camp for check out and a final troop picture.
Scoutmaster John checked out with the camp staff and we are ready to go. He gives each camper a camp patch and the scouts form up underneath the camp banner. We took a few pictures, loaded cars for the final time, and pointed our cars home. The cars and trailers passed under the camp sign – it says Welcome to Camp Tesomas on the way in and it says “Take your scouting spirit with you” on the way out.
The troop drove home to Wheaton, but William and I had a different destination. We drove to Grayling, Michigan and Beth’s parent’s cottage. The drive to Grayling took us though northeastern Wisconsin, across the UP along Lake Michigan, the Mackinac Bridge, and down into Grayling and the cottage on Lake Margrethe. The drive was almost 360 miles about the same distance as the troop. At first, William helped with navigation and provided help with directions but was soon asleep. He woke in time for a lunch stop and stayed awake the rest of the way. We talked about camp and scout and summer dreams. He took pictures of the drive along the Lake Michigan shore and we made plans for the coming week at the cottage.
We arrived at the cottage in time for dinner and were greeted in style – hugs from momma, Olivia, and an excited, Ivy. After dinner, I went out to unload the bikes and unpack the truck. William had beaten me to it: unloading the bikes, and removed the bike carrier. He always surprises me when I least expect it. We unloaded the truck cleaned up and made plans for Fourth of July fireworks in town. It was a great day with more to come. Day 36 is over and gone, forty-six days of summer remain.