A few weeks ago my son Joseph and I went camping for the first time. We were there for the Cub Scout Pack graduation camp where the boys would receive their new ranks. We spent two days and nights out in the San Bernardino National Forest having the time of our lives.
One of the rules that the scout leaders imposed on the camp was that there would be no tech (phones, tablets, PSP, etc.). Adults today seem to forget what it was like when we grew up. All these things that our boys take for granted were the stuff of fantasy when we were growing up. Nothing like it existed for us. There were no portable video games, we had board games that we played together with friends and family. Tablets in our time were called clipboards. If we wanted something to read we grabbed a book or a magazine. My favorite magazine growing up, and now Josephs favorite, was Boys Life. When we went out to play we jumped on our bikes and went down to the park, or over to the school to spend time with friends on the playground.
It was nice to see that Joseph and the other boys could forget all the electronic wonders of this day and age and use their imagination to have some fun. Joseph and the younger boys started exploring the campsite, running around and having fun. So much fun that they forgot all about being hungry, we struggled to get the boys to sit down for a few minutes to eat their dinner. By the time is was dark, they were all exhausted and read for bed. The last time he fell asleep that quickly was when he was a baby.
Saturday was spent doing scout activities, each of the four dens having organized something to do. Our den put together an orienteering course for the boys. They learned how to use a compass and went on a short hike to find hidden treasure (today some call this Geo-caching and use a GPS device). Another den did an obstacle course, having the boys run around before ending with a tug-of-war. The boys also went on a mile hike into the woods, singing songs and having a good time seeing all the wonders that exist around us.
At the evening campfire the boys enjoyed telling jokes and doing short skits before lighting the fire. Campfires give the night a magical feel. The firelight keeps the darkness away and keeps everyone warm. The boys huddled together, listening to stories, singing songs and having a fun time. That evening the boys made memories that they will carry with them always. The fun, friendship and brotherhood that were built that day can't be found in today's electronic wonders.
The next morning we had our breakfast and began the process of breaking down our camp. The boys were out running around again, but this time to put everything back the way we had found it. Leaving camp was bittersweet. We were tired and wanted to go home, yet longed to create more memories together without the interruption of modern life. Joseph and I still talk about that weekend. About the memories that we made together as father and son. There will be other trips and more fun to be had, but this will always be the first one, the first great adventure we had together.