Monday, August 8, 2016

Back in Time

by Sandy Kellogg

Aquatic Operations Supervisor, Mount Vernon RECenter
Fairfax County Park Authority
VRPS Aquatics Resource Group 2016 Chair
VRPS 2016 Awards Co-Chair

Last week I got to go back in time!  No, not in a fancy sports car hitting 88 miles an hour, although I may have come close on 81 south on a couple of downhill stretches, I went to camp!  Every year I take a group of Boy Scouts to summer camp.  I have done some really cool things.  I've canoed a week on the New River, covering 50 miles in a canoe.  Rafted through the New River Gorge, listening to stories about Mary Draper Ingles walking back down banks of the river that we went screaming past.  This camp, however, has a special place in my heart.  For a week we go back to the time of the Mountain Men.  They were a tough lot!  Open fire cooking, no showers, shooting black powder, blacksmithing, and my personal favorite, long evenings by the campfire with my guitar and no cell service. 

My troop has gone to the same summer camp ten years in a row - Camp Ottari, just south of Blacksburg, near Claytor Lake.  I met a lot of other adult leaders, ready to give up a week of their summer and their vacation days just to come up and run a camp for their scouts.  It reminded me of what we all do, and why we do it.  Our parks and recreation programs get kids in motion, teach them physical skills or art or music, and get them out there! 

Interestingly, it was as a new trend appeared that I was headed for an old school camp - I actually caught a Pidgey sitting on my scoutmaster's arm on the way to camp!  Yes, I play Pokemon Go.  It is not to level up or get the rare ones, although I'm proud of my Pikachu, it is to understand a completely new paradigm.  Suddenly people are outside and wandering around, finding parks and facilities they did not know existed, and actually walking just to hatch those eggs.  Mythical creatures are appearing in real life backgrounds, making me wonder who caught them before the game?  It's exciting, imagining what the next adventure will bring, whether living in the past or imagining the future.

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