After a year of virtual learning with a parent who is working remotely from home, some kids couldn’t wait to escape the house and go to Day Camp. There were others, like Eliso, a Cub just entering the Wolves den, who had a difficult time imagining what a whole day without his parents might look like. To help soothe Elisio’s anxiety, mom took a personal day off of work and attended the first day of Day Camp with her young son.
He had so much fun, and like many of the kids in his group, looked forward to pool time, which happened to be the final class of the day. A couple of the kids mentioned that they brought their water shoes to protect their toes, so Elisio’s mom decided to go buy him a pair before lunch.
Though she explained to her son that she’d be back shortly, Eliso’s anxiety got the better of him, and he begged her not to go. “I’ll be back before you know it,” she said before leaving for her car.
It was the first time he’d been separated from his parents in 18-months, and for him, the hour seemed like an eternity.
Willie, a dad from Elisio’s Pack had come to Day Camp as a parent partner for his Tiger Scout. When he saw how distraught Elisio was, Willie sat under the shade tree with him a few yards from the other campers and helped him with his craft. They talked and talked and talked. They talked so much, he didn’t complete his craft.
As planned, mom returned with the shoes, and all was well with the world.
I didn’t expect to see Elisio the next day, because his mom couldn’t take off another day to be there with us. You can imagine my surprise when the two of them walked up together on Tuesday. “Good morning, Ms. Jenn,” she said. “Elisio said he’d like to come today if that’s alright, but I can’t stay-” she started to say, but Elisio quickly interrupted her. “Yesterday was fun,” he confessed in a small voice. “Momma packed my lunch.”
Willie’s son saw Elisio and ran to him, giving him a big hug, and a moment later the two were off, starting the day with repeat-after-me songs with the other Day Campers at opening ceremonies. “I can come and pick him up if he changes his mind,” his mom assured me. “It’s really no trouble.”
But I never had to make that call. Instead, I texted her this picture of Elisio and his Day Camp mentor, Mr. Willie. Just look at that smile! The best part is that the Scouts supported each other, and helped make a safe space for Elisio to try new things on his own…and he enjoyed it so much, he wished to come back for a second day.
Day Camp inspires kids to do their best – to be brave and embrace adventure. That’s what Elisio did this summer, and what could possibly be better than that?