Monday, July 16, 2012

Grade 6 Year End Camp Out

So I’m going to start my updates a little out of order, since I know that this is the one that Marietta really would like me to do and she has been soooo patiently waiting for it.  This is a REALLY LONG post with lots of pictures of the good time we had.

On June 22nd the girls successfully finished another school year.  Rebecca will be heading off to Grade 5 and Marietta to Grade 7 in the fall, but in the meantime they get to first enjoy their summer holidays.  Our tradition has been to go for ice cream (and usually lunch or supper) on the last day of school.  Because of evening plans we did this right after the closing assembly, with Rob meeting us for lunch and ice cream in downtown Attercliffe.

It had been a busy week but the order for the afternoon was a nap and so when we returned home we all climbed into our beds for a good nap so that we could each enjoy our evening/night … Rebecca at her friend Taylor’s, Matthew at Grandma’s and the rest of us at home, camping, in the yard with 18 other Grade 6 (or should I say Grade 7?) students.

The idea came for a class camp-out sort of last minute, but not too last minute for we still had enough time to pull it off.  I’m not really sure what triggered this idea on Marietta’s end, but it was a comment from her that sent the idea rolling.  She made a remark a couple weeks before school ended that it would be neat to have the class for a sleepover … she does not really remember this comment or what made her think of it.  I remember clearly thinking “hmmmm, that would be fun, good memories and shouldn’t be too hard to pull off”.  But I didn’t say anything for I didn’t want to spout off something that I hadn’t really thought through completely. I stored it in my head to speak to Rob later.

The idea actually got forgotten for a few days before I suddenly remembered that if we wanted to do this I would need to get going ASAP!  Rob was game, so I called up my dear friend Ange and her and Dave were game to help out on the night of, so invitations were prepared and handed out.  At first we tried to surprise Marietta and Brent as well by not telling them and just making up the invitation to be handed out at school … but due to school politics we had to change it so that the invitations came more directly from the kids and it did not look like a school function.  So Marietta and Brent got to have their own little secret for a day until they handed out the invitations the next day at lunch time at school.

June 22nd arrive and the weather was beautiful.  The kids had a half day of school that day so we requested that they all be brought at 6:30pm … tummies full from supper, but still enough time to play for a while.  The kids promptly decided to soak themselves down by empty our water barrel in whatever fashion they could – water guns, buckets, etc.  Once the water was gone and they had that out of their system we moved on to some games to help dry them off.

Our most successful game for the evening was Kick the Can(Ball), a game I grew up playing on the school playground.  Since my kids have not heard of or played the game I suspected there were plenty of other kids who also had not … suspicion confirmed.  Now they all know how to play kick the can.  I think it was a hit as they played it for quite some time and then started up their own game the next morning.

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At one point we saw a cop car slowly drive by but didn’t think too much of it, figuring they were just checking out what we were up to.  A few minutes later we saw a cop car slowly coming again … but this time he slowed down even more and signalled into our driveway.

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As you can imagine we were all quite curious what this was all about and the kids quickly abandoned their hiding spots to come see what was going on.

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Apparently we didn’t break any law, they just saw a perfect opportunity to give a little helmet lesson and hand out some coupons for free frosties at the local Macs store.  So after the kids all promised that they would wear their helmets when biking (you have that here in writing parents, I heard them :) they were given coupons.


After a few rounds of Kick the Can we decided to move on to play British Bulldog.



Jaden gives up

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In the below pictures the kids got an idea to create a chain to catch the few leftover kids trying to bypass the bulldogs.P1100830_1

In the process of looking up how this game was played (I remembered playing it when little but couldn’t recall how we played it) I came across some sites that said this game was banned at school due to the roughness and accidents from it … we learned a bit of what that was all about … maybe the cops should have expanded those helmets to include all contact sports.  Thankfully we saved ourselves a trip to the Emergency, maybe technically we should have gone but we chose to just wait it out at home … guess it helped it was our own kid, if it had been anyone elses kid it would have put an even bigger damper on the evening.  I don’t think Marietta will be playing British Bulldog again anytime soon

I was not outside when the accident happened, so I didn’t see what happened, not that it would really have made much difference as it probably didn’t like like anything too major.  Apparently Jake and Marietta were both running full speed and they ran into each other, clunking heads.  We’re not quite sure how, it seems Marietta’s mouth collided with Jake’s eyebrows/forehead.  Marietta decided to take a break after that and Rob asked her a couple times if she was okay and she just stood by the barn saying she was fine.  I was in the house and she came to me and started crying that her lip hurt and saying “There’s a party outside mom, but I don’t remember planning a party”  Not sure what she was getting at I just casually told her “That’s because you didn’t plan it, I did”  A look at her lip showed a pretty deep gash but it hadn’t gone all the way through and since the bleeding settled after a short bit we decided it didn’t need to be stitched.

Now I will say that in former years Marietta has been known to dramatize things, stretch the truth, exaggerate, make a mountain out of a molehill, look for attention through injury, etc. so I did downplay her injury and play it cautiously to the point where I wasn’t very sympathetic at first.  I know that she no longer does this to such an extent but we continue to remain cautious.  When she kept saying “I don’t remember anything mom” I thought she was stretching it a bit, so I would ask her simple questions: what is your name, how old are you (which she answered wrong saying she’s 12 when she has not yet had her birthday), etc. She could answer these questions, but she began to cry and look lost and become frustrated and almost scared (rightfully so) and then I began to become concerned.   Rob came in the house about this time to find her crying away in the bathroom, her tears were because she couldn’t remember anything, not because of her lip injury.  We start some further questioning: what day is it? what’s going on outside? why is everyone here? what did you do today?  She did not know what day it was or why everyone was there, she began to cry when we explained to her that she had finished her last day of Grade 6 (she loved Grade 6), shaking her head and saying she couldn’t remember that.  She had no clue about the closing assembly and could only vaguely recall that we went out for lunch when we prompted her on it – she remembered doing something but couldn’t remember what.  She had no clue what they had done that evening or how she had got hurt.

P1100831 2_1After some discussion as adults we decided to just keep an eye on her.  I’ve been in Emerge for concussions before (Rebecca) and knew that there was little they did for more “minor” head injuries.  Ange had been through Brent’s injury last spring and knew that they had just woken him and questioned him from time to time but there wasn’t much else they could do … so we figured we’d just stay home instead of ruining the evening by sitting in Emerge when likely they wouldn’t do anything more then examine her and tell her to rest.  We suggested Marietta lay down but she want to remain involved, so she headed back outside to try enjoy the evening.  Unfortunately she did not feel much like participating in anything … not that it mattered as she has no memory of what happened until around 11:30pm, then things slowly began to come back.  By morning she was back to maintaining a memory of what was happened, but still confused and asking silly questioned that made us realize she didn’t remember things from the night before … e.g. she found a sparkler’s package and asked when we did sparklers.

Some online research shows us that she suffered from a moderate case of Post-traumatic Amnesia (PTA).  She was slightly over stimulated during her recovery time, since she joined in the party again and soaked up some attention as the kids kept asking her questions to see what she remembered.  She would continuously ask people what happened and had no idea that she had just asked that question minutes earlier.  Looking at pictures the next day she was able to vaguely recollect a few parts of the game of British Bulldog, but besides pictures doesn’t have any memory of the party from the time she was hit until just before bedtime when she came and joined us in a game around the fire.

After game time the kids sat around the fire and roast some hotdogs, spiders, and marshmallows while munching on some of the goodies they had brought.  Since they seemed to be entertaining themselves they would just come and go and do their thing, some sitting by the fire, some playing, some hanging out at their tents.  A game of Ghost in the Graveyard was attempted but ended up not being too successful as everyone seemed to know a different version of the game and couldn’t  figure out what way to play.

Trying to figure out how to roast a wiener when the fire is so big and hot … Syvannah’s version


Jacob’s version … you can’t quite get the full version on the picture as it involved some sort of dancing back and forth and stabbing the stick out in the process.



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Rainbow Fire (copper pipe with cheap garden hose in it … lasts anywhere from 15 min to hours)


Gathered for devotions

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We had devotions at 11pm because several kids were saying they were tired and wanted to go to bed.  Not often you hear that and we were a bit suspicious of why they would want to go to bed, but decided to have trust in their good judgement of knowing it’s time to sleep.  After devotions the kids were free to go to bed if they wanted or they could stay up until 12am.  The rule was that they had to be in their tents at 12am and after that they could not come out unless they had to go to the bathroom.  They had to respect others in their tent who were trying to sleep and not disturb them.  All the girls were in one tent and the boys were split between two tents.   About half the kids went off to their tents after devotion and half stuck around or wandered around, slowly we had a group that played a clapping game around the fire until midnight.

As chaperones we had not expected to get any sleep that night, so we were pleasantly surprised when all was quiet by 1am.  While they had to stay in their tents we could not force them to sleep and we figured we’d here chatting and such well into the night … but I guess we wore them out good enough and they were all asleep pretty quickly and we hesitantly went off to our tents to get some sleep.  While they did go to sleep sooner then we expected they also woke up sooner then we expected.  We’re not quite sure what time the firsts woke up, Rob thought he heard some talking at 3am … but for sure by 5am kids were awake and shortly after 5:30am they were rolling out of their tents.  We arrived at the fire around 6am to find they had managed to get the fire going again and were warming themselves around it.

While it was earlier then expected, once we were up and at it we were glad that it was nice and early as it allowed us more time in the morning to relax as well as do some more things.

The kids were quite impressed with how fast we were able to fry up breakfast on the hot plate over the fire.  It was a job that required cooperation.  Tejada cracked eggs, Rob put them on the hot plate, Ange flipped them about as fast as they went on, Marietta held the pan ready to have them scooped into when done. 

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The same with the pancakes, you had to be on the ball to prevent them from burning … good job Rob and Ange!!!


Breakfast was ready in no time and after devotions everyone gobbled up their share and off they went to play a game of Kick the Can,while the adults sat around the fire sipping tea.

We were impressed with how well Dash did.  We were worried he would be annoying and need to be put in his pen … which would mean he would bark half the time.  But he did great at watching and mostly staying out the way.  It worked better then previous get togethers because there were no younger kids that were afraid of him.  The kids gave him adequate attention but when told to go lay down he would listen.  I think he suffered from withdraw symptoms after they left … he definitely loves all the extra petting and playing he got.

Jethro has a talent with animals and he and Dash hit it off pretty good.  Here Jethro is getting Dash to roll over.  While Dash will do this for us, he did it very well for Jethro if asked and when the other kids would ask he would sort of look at them and pretend he didn’t know what they were asking

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The kids were eying Rob’s trilliptical bike and so any who wanted to try were give a chance to see if they could ride/drive it. 


They quickly discovered that it’s a lot harder then it looks … but a couple of them were persistent enough that they were able to get make it work

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Seven kids on the tire swing … I took the picture but then I quickly looked the other way … it’s one of those things were you don’t want to be over paranoid but it just seemed like a lot of weight on the swing … Rob would probably say it was fine, so I’ll have to trust him on that one


The morning started off cool but quickly warmed up and we organized the kids into teams to get a game a baseball going

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This last game was a success also.  Waterballon Volleyball.   The girls had played a similar version of this game during their Play Day Timothy years but instead of one big sheet they had towels between two of them

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It took a bit for them to get the hang of throwing the balloon and understanding how to launch it without getting their towel all wrapped around the balloon

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But as the game went on they got the hang of it and the balloon would go back and forth quite a bit before it would break

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Since they didn’t all really get wet during the volleyball game we filled up the water barrel again and away they all went with their water guns … couldn’t believe how far the water in the barrel went, but it kept them busy for a bit as they were still working on emptying it when their parents arrived to pick them up.


You were home-free when filling up at the water barrel, but once you stepped away from the barrel it was fair game to be sprayed or dumped on by buckets for those who did not have a water gun (I think we were 3 or 4 guns shy of having enough, so that worked pretty good)P1100927_1


By time the water was empty and everyone was wet it was past 11:30 and parents were there to pick up their kids.  From the feedback we have gotten it sounds like the kids had a great time.  As hosts we were happy with the kids behaviour and had a good time with a good bunch of kids.  We haven’t made any promises as we know how much things can change from day to day, let alone year to year, but based on how things went this year I think we may be doing this again next year.  While Rebecca was quite upset at first about the fact that she could not be there (we felt it best to keep it strictly Marietta’s class) we did tell her that it is our hope that we could do the same for her when she completes Grade 6 … she did point out a little hitch in that plan … I will probably be in Ottawa with Marietta on her Grade 8 trip … but we’ll worry about that if the time actually comes.  In the meantime we are thankful for the good time we had this year.  We love our country property and what it allows us to do!! We had lots of fun! We are especially thankful that Marietta’s injuries were not any more serious and although it’s sad that she doesn’t remember most of the party, we can be thankful that her memory came back after a few hours and she did not suffer any further adverse affects fort he incident.


Marietta said...


I think we should do it again next year. That was so much fun. (Too bad I don't remember it all)


Melissa Kottelenberg said...

That sounds like a great idea! We might have to consider that for Braden next year as he completes Grade Six. Looks like you all had fun and glad to hear Marietta is ok!

Michelle VanderVelde said...

Not sure if that would have been something I would've been able to pull off so good on you Steph. I enjoy reading your blog so keep up the good work.