The group I delivered to the counselors and Rangers Monday became Junior Rangers today. Their very difficult week of training included shelter building, camouflage, stream exploration, making a compass, forest and meadow exploration, countless miles of hiking and catered luncheons of varying degrees of palatability to Francis.
Back from his hike each afternoon the first report I had from France was the lunch report. They ranked from low (grilled cheese) through acceptable (pizza) to awesome (hotdogs).
Home base for Junior Ranger Camp is the Happy Days Lodge in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. There are miles of trails around Happy Days that are easy, and for those who picked hiking as the afternoon activity, the visits were more strenuous, to the Ledges and to Ice Box Cave. But for the two girls the mile hike to The Octagon for lunch was adequate.
Today was graduation day. When a lot of parents had assembled, the unruly knot of children in the lodge, at one word from a Ranger, stopped milling around in front of the stage and assembled on the stage. I’m sorry to say I missed the word.
With the counselors leading, the little band sang the Tarzan song and then the Funky Chicken song. I’m quite confident both were to the same tune, and I can’t recall any of the words. I did ask Laura at supper, but all I came away with were the titles.
Then they raised their right hands and swore to protect nature and wildlife, and preserve and protect their national parks forever. A ranger called each out by name, shook the child’s hand and presented a junior ranger badge.
France and Caroline’s dad slipped in during the ceremony. When they were dismissed his two jumped on him with their badges in hand. “Was this the best camp this summer?” he asked. He got a resounding YES from all three cousins.