I took Friday off from work (again), and we loaded up the car and headed to the coast. We carpooled with my buddy Will and ended up carrying another girl in the tribe with us too! Such a fun road trip.
|What's in the cooler? anybody's guess......|
Our first stop was at the Neuse Sports Shop to get the cabin assignments. This is a really cool store with a great aquarium. And they have this old manequin thing that tells jokes to the kids, they really love it.
|Talk to the Doll|
After that, EG had to conquer her first fear. She thinks that she has never been on a boat before, but I'm pretty sure that she has been, either with me or one of her grandfathers. This time it was a 3 mile ferry ride across the river to where the camp was. She had a dream Thursday night that the ferry sank in the middle of the river, and she was looking up at me, standing on top of the water with nothing else to hold onto. An adorable and scary dream, and holy crap she really thinks that I walk on water.
|In the flowers at the ferry landing grounds|
|Evil Genius is on a boat!|
|Some love for Daddy. She loved the ride, and had no fear once the boat left the dock.|
After we drove off of the ferry, we met one of the other dads that has a house very close to the camp. We planned to visit his house for dinner to grill some hamburgers and hot dogs. It turns out that his place was beautiful, and had this great "beach" (quotes because it's on a river) where they have found gallons of sharks teeth. We're trying to plan a weekend to go back and just hang out at his house. Really a spectacular place.
|The kids playing on the beach|
Then about 7:45 we went on into Camp Seagull. This and Camp Seafarer are both owned by the YMCA here in Raleigh and are exactly the same. Bigun went to Seafarer both years, so I think EG was a bit miffed about getting Seagull instead. You want to get there in time to unpack before it gets dark, and they have an ice cream social to kick off the weekend at 8:30 pm on Friday night where they introduce the theme. I was really wishing that we had brought some fake mustaches.
EG's next fear was about sleeping in the bunk beds. The cabins were cut in half like duplexes, with 6 bunk beds on each side to share a bathroom and showers etc. Dads sleep on the bottom bunk and girls on the top bunk, but she's scared of heights and didn't want the top bunk.
|She is in the top bunk|
So of course once she actually got up into the top bunk, she wouldn't get back down. Then when she figured out how to get up and down from the top bunk by herself, there was no stopping her. it was total bunk bed chaos!
|Selfie with the queen of the top bunk|
She even insisted on getting dressed only up in her bed so nobody else could see her. The ice cream social was great Friday night. Had plenty of time to get unpacked and locate the mess hall. The theme this year was How How Howdy, so there was going to be lots of cowboy style activities.
|My girl's got sass!|
The first thing I wanted to tackle was the zipline. You start from a platform 45 feet in the air and end up in a pond. After the nap, we ended up at the back of a very long line, and it took over an hour to get to the top of the platform. (frustration) Then the fear of heights kicked in and we had to go back down from the platform after some crying. I was pretty proud of her for even agreeing to get in the line! Being up 45 feet in the air is pretty intimidating. It was also well over 90* so we were frying in that line and if Daddy didn't get into some water pretty soon heads were going to roll. Fortunately we hit the waterslide next, no fear of heights, and I got to go down first to catch her at the bottom.
|What an Evil Genius eats for lunch - actually she gave me the cookies after one bite. fml.|
|We found a shady tree|
|great cover shot!|
After another brief nap post-lunch (daddy slept for about an hour) it was time to get back to the activities. The sun really drains the energy sometimes. It was hot, sweaty, and sticky out there. Perfect for horseshoes! Remember the cowboy theme?
|On the canoe! She's on a boat!|
|I got some of these shots with Bigun as well|
But the canoe. It started with lots of "oooooooo daddyyyyyyyy I don't know about thiiiiiiiiiiis" until we pulled away from the dock. Once I got to show her how to paddle and we moved around to a few parts of the pond, she fell in love. Bigun is quite the accomplished paddler, she loves it. But I didn't expect EG to take to the boat quite as fondly as she did. Now she has a better reason to learn how to swim without floaties, which she plans to stop using after finishing these swim lessons. When we got out of the canoe, instead of telling me how scared she was before we started, she went straight to telling me how much she loved it. Kids make their own patterns, and she broke this one with the canoe. I think we may have found our next fun hobby.
|Why give an Evil Genius a gun?|
|She was a natural with the BB gun.|
Kelley was a sharpshooter in another life. I've seen her shoot a given blade of grass. My whole family loves to hunt big game to birds, so I grew up knowing how to shoot. But this was the first time I got to teach this one how guns work. EG got a bit frustrated with the BB gun being unable to hit the targets. The volunteers put up plastic animal toys and soda cans for us to shoot at. I've never actually hit anything in 5 tries at those little guys, but I finally landed a gun where I could actually hit the broad side of a barn, so I knocked off about 5 of the toys. She was impressed. I know her hands are in the wrong positions in these shots, I took the pictures first then got to correct her positioning.
|This is my favorite action shot. She nailed that cow head!|
We finished Saturday's activities with the Lasso event. They teach you how to throw a rope. She was a natural at this one too.
|Playing in the river|
This looks like a beach, but it's actually the Neuse River in Pamlico County NC. Don't let the sand and waves fool you. Our cabin faced this giant field, and the river was on the left. There was a sandy path to walk down to the beach. Apparently, tons of shark's teeth wash up there. The water is brackish, part saltwater mixed with freshwater. At the end of a hot humid should-have-been-sunburned day, that cool water was amazing. It felt soooo good.
|Somebody was too tired to get her picture taken with me|
|I'll just move you into a better position......|
|And the guy taking the picture made a good joke! it worked, I got my shot. That's a desktop wallpaper if I've ever seen one|
The vests & nametags come out for the only more formal dinner at the camp. They have an awards ceremony for all of the people that earned all of the feathers (we did!) and got a special arrowhead for it. I really wanted to get a tribe photo of all of us in the vests but we were a bit scattered.
|Tom actually got EG to ride a bike!|
After dark, they do a big bonfire on Saturday night. There's lots of music, and the camp directors do a big song & story routine. It's a lot of fun. Then this old guy (same guy for the last 41 years, every weekend they do this camp) comes out and tells a ghost story. It's actually quite a scary story, and he makes a bunch of jokes and tells it really well. But he asks the kids if they think they are old enough for a real ghost story, and of course they all scream "yes". Then he proceeds to scare the shit out of them and leaves them in a state where they are too exhausted to stay awake and too scared to fall asleep. I loved it. They finish with a huge fireworks show that runs about 30 minutes with music. And EG actually was screaming about how this was the best day of her life. Those are the good moments.
Saturday night was quite uneventful after the bonfire. The kids were all pretty trashed after such a big day, and after some basic calming down about the headless fisherman who was going to claim them went to sleep much easier than I expected. Sunday morning came early.
|Playing in a nightgown outside the cabin|
|She made a sharks tooth necklace and a mothers day card|
We started getting the last of the activities knocked down after breakfast. First was sifting for sharks teeth in this big pile of sand that had been long picked over. it was pretty dry, but she found one and made a necklace (one of my goals - Bigun has a necklace too). Up next was the archery.
|Not quite as natural|
|Happy she gave it a shot|
|Some of the girls in front of our cabin|
Overall it was a wonderful weekend. I've been looking forward to getting her out there for a long time, and dreading the picky eating ramifications at the same time. It really could have been a complete disaster or a wonderful time, and this was certainly more on the Wonderful Time side. I've been blessed with a daughter who finally saw the value of overcoming fears and trying new things. We had a wonderful time together at Camp Seagull, and I hope we created some memories that she can carry with her for the rest of her life.