Some weekend Overnight Camps are better than others. Many factors determine whether we label a camp great, good, so so, bad, and "Its every man for himself!". One of those factors is the amount of mental effort and patience it takes to put the younglings to bed. Tonight's bed time saga has been a test of my strength to manage a smile when all I want to do is verbally strike back with lightening sarcasm meant to disable anyone with a question the moment his arm goes up.
So far tonight....
"Mr. Williamson. That kid over there was using a bad word during the mission."
"Mr. Williamson. That kid over there was making fun of us in the bathroom."
"Mr. Williamson, I didn't bring a sleeping bag and pillow. I thought the Space Center had beds."
(2nd boy chimes in) "Mr. Williamson, me too."
"Mr. Williamson, we need to go to the bathroom."
Those words were spoken by one of the three boys I assigned to sleep on the Voyager's Bridge closest to the two chaperons. They were the ones mouthing off in the boy's bathroom earlier this evening. I specifically told all the boys just thirty minutes earlier that one of my biggest pet peeves were kids coming to tell me they needed to get a drink or use the restroom MOMENTS after putting them down for the night. Remember, the boys all get a bathroom break right before we put them to bed. I tell them three or four times during that break that "This is your LAST bathroom break."
Of course, our campers are allowed to use the bathroom and get a drink during the night. My point is this, they shouldn't have to use it right after they got a bathroom break. One goes, then another, then another.... It is there way of staying up later and roaming the school's halls. Yes, I'm on to their game.
Let's leave that one and move along.....
Coming from the staff and volunteers:
"Mr. Williamson, there aren't anymore pads."
Ah, the age old lack of pads. The Space Center staff sleeps on these flimsy, disintegrating pads purchased from the U.S. Government's Auction of Civil War Surplus. You could tell the pads once had padding. Now they provide a semi porous fabric shield against the industrial carpet the District uses to carpet its schools. Someone weighing 25 pounds might feel something akin to comfort when sleeping on one of them. Anyone weighing more might as well just sleep on the floor. Anyway, we ran out of the pads tonight. This weekend a larger percentage of staff chose to stay here at the Center. Perhaps its because its LDS Conference Weekend, and if they go home, their parents may insist they return right after the Overnight Camp for the Saturday afternoon session.
The boys are in bed and its strangely quiet - odd for 12:31 A.M. They are either in the advanced stage of mischief making or they really are taking pity on an old guy who seriously needs a bit of sleep to recharge his patience.
P.S. Post Update. It's almost time to get the kids up. They actually went to bed very well. The staff got the sleep they needed and my patience batteries are fully charged. It appears to be the start of a good Saturday (yikes, did I just curse myself?).