Saturday, July 4, 2009

Out to Camp

It was NOT an auspicious lake day. The sky was the same moody, cloudy expanse that we've been confronted with for a month now. The lake, instead of a sparkling, inviting blue, had the dull gray gleam of pewter. The trees and hills on the opposite shore were green and blue smudges in the mist. But! It was NOT raining. And at this point, we're taking what we can get.

One of Bear's friends hosts a grand sleepover at her family's camp every summer. (In Maine, a lake cottage is called a camp. It took me my whole first summer to figure that out. I just thought I was meeting a lot of weird people who went to summer camp with their kids). Her friend's brave, brave mother not only has a passel of girls spend the night but also invites their families to come spend the next day at the lake. She is what you might call a saint.

Hey, how many preteen girls does it take to paddle a canoe? Three. Two to paddle, and one to beat off the pesky boys with a swim noodle. Naturally.

The first summer Bear went, she was seven. She was so timid that, even wearing a life jacket, she was barely willing to dog-paddle out to the float. Once there, she sat terrified on the float while her friends leapt willy-nilly into the lake. Now she's an old hand, and I watched her swimming to and fro, leaping not only off the float, but the dock, and, at one particularly random point, out of a canoe. Which didn't seem to serve any purpose that I could see. But, hey. Not judging.I helped Bug into her life jacket, but she stayed uncertainly in the shallows.. Despite swimming confidently in pools, she wasn't too sure about swimming out to the float with the other kids. (I'm thinking we've been watching a few too many "Monsters of the Deep" documentaries on the Discovery Channel).When her sister sailed happily by doing THIS,
I saw pure envy in Bug's eyes and asked her if she wanted to try a kayak.
five seconds...

"Maybe...well, no."

two seconds...

"OK, I guess I'll try it. Except I don't know how to paddle,"

one second...


I dragged a kayak into the shallows and helped her climb on it. Positioning the paddle in front of her, I showed her how to move it and what to do to turn. She easily demonstrated both skills, then said, "I don't know..." and started to waver. At which point I grabbed the back of the kayak and shoved. I mean, yes, there's a point where you need to hold your kid's hand and let them take their time, but there's also a point where you teach them what they need to know and then push them out onto the lake.

She LOVED it. At first I would only let her paddle halfway to the float and back until she was comfortable maneuvering the kayak. Soon she was able to go out and around the float. By the time we left that afternoon, she was confidently paddling three camps down the lake and back and begging to go farther.
We also went tubing that afternoon, but since I a few photos that day, I haven't had time to photo-edit them all. Tubing will be another day's post. (Fine, 1011. I took 1011 photos. And that's my brother's fault because he bought me the super-big capacity memory card. I don't have a problem or anything. Really).


smalltownmom said...

Looks like fun!

Country Girl said...

That's a lot of pictures Jenn. I am in desperate need of a new camera....sugguestions? Cottage vs. camp, I always wondered what the difference was....just us Mainers. Luke just asked for a kayak for Christmas or his birthday. John put the canoe in our pond a couple days ago and the kids have spent endless hours in it. Happy 4th. I'd say the fireworks are probably going to be postponed.

Linda said...

1011 pictures of JUST the lake and camp? Can you say "ADDICTED TO" my camera?

Glad you all had fun at M's family camp in spite of the weather.

jenn said...

My camera is the Canon Eos Rebel xti, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. Or could you already tell that?

parnola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
parnola said...

Jenn, it's worth noting that the Rebel XTi's shutter is only rated at 50,000 actuations. I fear you are rapidly approaching that number!!

Country Girl, our family is a big fan of the Canon EOS Rebel line. I have an EOS 30D (several years old; the 40D and 50D are now out) and lust after the EOS 5D Mark II. You can't go wrong with a Rebel because it gives you access to their enormous line up of lenses which are phenomenal.

alison said...

There's an invisible line that runs across Ontario, around Parry Sound, below which people own cottages, and above which people own camps. Looks like you had fun regardless of the weather.