Monday, July 02, 2012

Civil Air Patrol Camp

Sorry, y'all, but you'll have to indulge grandma today!  I wanted to post some photos of Matt's Civil Air Patrol Camp so she could see what it was like.  He is not in a lot of them, but it gives a sense of what it was like. I know most of you have no interest at all, so this is one of those posts you can just click the upper "X" on and close the window! Haha!  I do have a couple of photos included here of what the fire was like for cadets, which might give you a sense of why they evacuated...and gives me a deeper sense of gratitude that Matthew and thousands of others escaped to safety.

Here he is, checking out radio controlled aircraft!

And again, he is the second from the left.  They attended worship in the beautiful Air Force Academy Chapel which is the large building behind them.  He really seemed to enjoy it, and even kept the bulletin from the two hour service to share with me.

You can see him here, leaning forward toward the end of the line. They are looking at equipment at either Peterson AFB or Fort Carson, as they got the chance to visit both.

These aer views from where they were on the Academy grounds.As you can see, it was a pretty serious situation and while ultimately I believe the grounds were safe, it is clear there was definitely a need to evacuate.

Matthew is on the left, big grin and flag in hand!

While the experience was cut short for him, Matt was not at all disappointed and handled it all with his usual attitude.  "Mom, we got to do most of the cool stuff, and I will go back as a leader next time so I can have the full camp...but not get yelled at all the time!  It was awesome, and I learned a lot."

What I shared on Facebook but didn't share yet here on the blog was that less than 24 hours later, we had to drive the 5 hours back to Colorado Springs to pick up his gear.  While I was less than enthusiastic about that and was completely dreading it, all 3 boys jumped up to say "We'll go with you, Mom!" and so we had a Mom and Son overnight mini-road trip.  My heart melted just a little when I said "You guys don't have to do that, you just got back too and are exhausted, and surely don't want to sit in the car another 10 hours1  I'll be OK."  Their response was "We want to keep you company, and besides, it is fun to go places with you!  We'll all suffer together." , Kenny added "You need some men with you for this, Mom."  So, my mad quickly turned to glad, and off we went while the girls remained behind and kept Dominick company.

I didn't realize I was in for a small surprise.  When we arrived at the parking lot where all the gear was being sorted and collected, Matt's roommate's mom was there.  She said she was so glad to have the chance to meet Matthew, and she thanked him for being so kind to her son.  She said "Christian told me that you were so helpful to him, even though you were the same age, and that you were a very nice boy. He said that you kept encouraging him to work as a team with the other cadets in your group, and that is something he is not very good at. I wanted to thank you for making this a really important learning experience for him."

No award equals those kind of words for a parent.

When we got back in the car, I asked Matthew about his roommate and what had prompted that sort of response from his mom.  He said that Christian had kept on wanting to make it a competition with the other cadets, trying to prove that they were better than the rest of them in keeping their room tidy, etc.  Matt told me "Mom, he kept getting mad at me because I was helping the other cadets once we were done so that our entire area was in good shape.  Christian kept saying that we should only worry about our area so we looked better than anyone else, and he was pretty self-centered and wanting to be best and first.  All I did was sit him down and explain that our entire Flight was a team, and it was our responsibility to help everyone, not be worried only about ourselves."

I asked him "So why didn't you have the same attitude?  Was there supposed to be some sort of reward or something for the roommates who did the best job?"

He grinned and looked over at me as he said "Mom, it's always that way at our house.  Remember, I used to be like Christian when I was little?  But then I finally got it that work gets done ten times faster if we all work together and no one is lazy.  No one at our house is lazy, and we get big jobs done way faster than doing them by yourself...and we don't try and compete against each other and leave the other kid stuck with something, we all go help them get if Joshie can't keep up with us.  Kenny and I have gotten really good at working together to get things done!  Truthfully, he probably works a little harder than I do, but I work a little smarter because he can't organize himself, but together we get things done quickly.  Christian just needs to learn that, and in a bigger family with parents like you and Dad, we've already learned it."

All in all, I'd say Encampment was a memorable experience for Matthew, regardless of whether it was cut short or not.  I keep hoping each of the other kids will find something to explore that they are as passionate about, for it will add so much to their lives!  We'll keep on trying things out, and eventually they'll all find their "thing".

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