Sara got wind of a joint service project that our old chapter of ΑΦΩ was putting on with another chapter in Valparaiso, which is much closer to us. We decided to attend, figuring that it would be nice to get out and do something and also to let Evie run around outside for a while and get a chance to get outside of the city. Also, we invited Nathan and he caught the bus down and then hitched a ride to the project with us. He sort of bridged the gap since he still knew some people there and also helped take a turn wrangling Evie.
It has been a long time since we have participated in a service project and it really felt good to be out there using the old muscles to help out. We mostly hauled logs and moved brush piles, though some other people helped build a shed type thing and others split logs. Scouting projects were always my favorite projects because they always involved some sort of manly manual labor as opposed to say, visiting at a nursing home, which is also very important but an entirely different sort of service. I also enjoy the longer projects.
Our trip started off very badly since there was an accident blocking like 100 feet of road directly in front of the highway on-ramp. We somehow missed the entrance that was supposed to be in 5 miles and had to continue on to the next one. So, for the next 40 minutes, we were picking a meandering course through the towns along the highway, crossing periodically under the highway saying, “Hey, there it is!” It certainly wasn’t the best start to the morning (although, despite our lateness, we still beat every Purdue person there by like an hour!)
Anyway, Evie had a blast on our “adventure” running around through the woods, finding paths, pinecones and a feather and looking at the geese. She didn’t seem to get tired at all, she always wanted to go, go, go until we left around nap time and she crashed with her head on Sara’s shoulder standing in line at Culver’s.
Now, here is where it gets interesting. It turns out that this wasn’t your average scouting project. The area we were clearing and the “shed” we were building was in an area used by Kanarak, a Live Action Role Playing (LARP) group.
I don’t know that I’ve seen all that many areas that are used exclusively by LARPers, but I would think this place would put most of them all to shame. Lots of woods and paths, a large wooden palisade, a nice looking building with what looked like gas lights on the front and which which I believe was being made into blacksmith’s shop and another building going up along side of it. This was some serious backdrop. Two of the LARPers were there helping and they were very nice.
Now, I am not one to make fun of such a thing. Lord knows that if certain events in my life had gone one way or the other, I could very easily have found myself running around in the woods with a cape. Furthermore, if you laugh in the face of a man with a sword, we shall see who laughs last. And, lastly and quite honestly, my brother and I did spent a bit of time on Sunday trying to figure out a way in which we could find ourselves sometime in the future beating on people with duct-tape wrapped padded broomsticks. It would be far from the first time for either of us, although we mostly just used to beat on each other.
But my problem is this: how was this related to the boy scouts? When I came out to volunteer my time, I sort of imagined I’d be helping set up the camp so some little kids could have a fun time out in the woods, the way I did when I was a youngster in boy scouts. Now instead I found myself moving firewood for 40 year old accountants with a lot of free time. If you can spend that kind of time and money on a costume, then you aught to be the one out there clearing trees. It’s your hobby after all.
I dug around a little on their website and I found out they are indeed affiliated with the BSA as a venture crew. So I guess in a way we were helping scouting, however, in order to be eligible for the venture crew you have to be 14 – 21 years of age. That means we might be talking about boy scouts who were older than some of the volunteers! And looking at some of the pictures and videos, I’m not sure there are all that many people involved who are actually scouts. Most people looked older (though I freely admit I am a poor judge of age). On top of that, their forum boasts 104 members, which means that their organization is roughly 5 times larger than the chapter that set the project up. Perhaps they should be volunteering for ΑΦΩ instead of the other way around!
So that sort of didn’t sit right with me. It just seems like time would be better spent helping people who need help. But, nonetheless, I had a good time doing some work and being out doors and so did Evie, so I guess you can’t ask for much more than that.
I also had fun dominating Nathan in Marvel Scene-it, though most nights we went to bed too early to play many games. We were supposed to work on the garden on Sunday, but after working outside all day Saturday I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to anymore. My arms were a little sore. Well, guess what? I got my wish because we got a big snow storm on Sunday morning. It’s almost April!
In other news, one of my favorite quotes over the weekend from Evie was actually this morning when we were reading a book and she said, “The epilogue is hiding!” Clever girl.