Monday, February 25, 2008

Windwalkers in action!

The above picture was taken Saturday night during the 3rd Annual Deep Run High School Winter Guard Competition. The performance shown is that of the Windwalkers, the Indoor ColorGuard at William and Mary that CollegeGirl is a member of. It's hard to see but that's her all the way to the right. You can see lots more pictures in the Flickr album by clicking on the link.

polMom and the boys drove down to Williamsburg to pick her up and drive her back to Richmond so she would have time to interview to again be on the Cub Scout sumer camp staff. I think she's hoping to be director of the Nature Center this year. After the interview they treated her to a Taco Bell lunch (her favorite) before dropping her off at Deep Run HS.

Not too long after that polMom got a call that CollegeGirl didn't bring her flag and her team had also left Billsburg without it. With the memory of the primary day fiasco still fresh in her memory, polMom graciously volunteered to once again make the 100+ mile roundtrip to Williamsburg to retrieve it. When we totaled up polMom's total mileage for the day we figured she could have driven down to Sunset Beach instead.

Their performance wasn't scheduled until 8:19pm so we arrived a little bit before 8pm and CollegeGirl greeted us with complimentary passes. We also got to meet her instructor/mentor/coach Samantha who recruited me to record a video if their performance. This enabled me to view their performance from the ultra-exclusive video platform ... also known as the top corner of the stands. At least it was easy to see.

polMom had been to guard competitions before when CollegeGirl was still HighSchoolGirl but this was my first time at one and I was really impressed. The Windwalkers' routine was inspired by Hairspray and was upbeat and fun. The girls looked like they were really enjoying themselves. The video was posted to YouTube that same night so you can view it below (CollegeGirl starts third from the left if you want to try and follow her):

Afterwards we got a chance to chat with her a bit while they were packing up. It was great to see her and we're looking forward to seeing her a bit more over Spring Break in a couple of weeks.

Preparing for the gathering storm

If you check my Facebook profile right now you'll see that my status says that I "need to stop volunteering for things." It's actually been my status since last Thursday and refers mainly to the upcoming Cardinal District Merit Badge Weekend (MBW) that I (foolishly) volunteered to be Program Director for.

The three distinguished gentlemen in the picture are (from left to right) our district's Program Director, the Camp Director for MBW (my cohort), and the MBW business manager. We all got together on Saturday to walk around the council's Scout reservation and check all the facilities and hammer out the what we hope are the last of the details so we'll ready for the 700 people who will be coming to the event this coming weekend.

Yes ... 700 people. About 550 Scouts, 100 adult leaders and 50 staff members. For heavens sake, the Persian army only had to deal with a lousy 300. Even Spartans would be worried about 550 Boy Scouts.

When I ran the Cub Scout Day Camp I'd get this panicky feeling that would start about two weeks before the event and would culminate in a massive bout of worry and absolutely no sleep on the night before the event. For this event, I've tried to be pretty mellow but just tonight at our last staff meeting I started to feel that familiar twinge in the lower part of my back that will slowly creep up and spread during the week as my mind starts to realize that the event will really happen. All these kids are really going to show up. And I'm responsible for the program.

Why did I sign up for this? What on earth was I thinking?

Actually, I'm sure everything will be fine and if it isn't I can always hold on to the same thought that got me through day camp: At some point, the event will be over and I'll live to see another day.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

CollegeGirl returns to the immersion life

CollegeGirl is terribly excited because she found out this week that she was accepted to live in William and Mary's French House for next year! The French House (which really isn't a house but the third floor of Giles Hall) provides both a language and a cultural immersion environment for French students. The house also sponsors activities such as conversation hours, cooking classes, movie nights, and cultural celebrations.

Apparently the competition for the spots is pretty serious. CollegeGirl had said she wasn't at all sure of her chances so it was a big announcement that she made it in. We look forward to hearing more about it in the coming months.

provides a
language and cultural immersion environment

It's OlderSon's FIRST arm!

Flickr album: Highland Springs FIRST Robotics

Guess I should explain the post's title. Both OlderSon and YoungerSon are members of FIRST robotics teams that are participating in this year's competition. OlderSon is a member of Highland Springs HS team 617, also known as LOCOmotion whose robot is shown at the left. YoungerSon is a member of JR Tucker HS team 384, also known as Sparky whose robot is shown to the right. The schools, of course, are on opposite sides of the county but both relatively close to Interstate 64 so driving back and forth between them several times a day isn't too bad.

Here's OlderSon in the HSHS's Center for Engineering workshop with his design for the robot's "Scorpion" arm used to knock the giant ball off it's perch 6.5 feet in the air. Normally freshmen on the team are seen rather than heard but OlderSon got his design selected by the team to include on the production robot. He was really excited and it was great to see him so enthusiastic about the event.

Both boys spent Saturday and all day on Monday (which was a school holiday) with their teams putting the final touches on their robots to get them ready before they had to be boxed up and shipped out on Tuesday. They'll both be competing in the Richmond Regionals at VCU on March 6th, 7th, and 8th.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shed cleaning

Flickr album: Troop Shed Cleanup

A couple of times a year the boys' Scout troop hauls everything out of our shed, inventories the equipment, throws away the stuff we don't need anymore, organizes everything that's left, and neatly places it back in the shed. Our troop's two quartermasters organized such an effort this past Saturday and OlderSon and I went to help.

One of the quartermaster's dads is an assistant Scoutmaster and brought his laptop with him so we now have a great computerized record of everything we have as well as an accurate list of equipment we still need.

I was amazed at the amount of work that got accomplished by the six Scouts and four adults in attendance. As one of the dads said, "we could hold a square dance in there now." We also found quite a bit of equipment that we thought was lost for all time so, all in all, it was a good way to spend four hours on a Saturday morning.

Yes ... I'm a lazy blogger

Did I really say back in December that I was going to blog everyday? Haven't done a very good job of that. Let see if we can pick up the pace a bit with a couple of new articles.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Scenes From a Scout Restaurant

A short video about our troop's annual Scout Mass Dinner that we held on Saturday night.