Texas Brigades (Pt 1) : Waterfowl

Last week my youngest boy and I were able to attend the Texas Brigade Waterfowl camp.   I was a huge fan of Brigades before, but even more now!

IMG_4092These camps (there are 8) are all over the state of Texas.  First, they are leadership camps, second they are conservation camps.  I have loved these camps for 3 years, since my oldest attended his first : Rolling Plains Bob White Brigade.

Each camp is 5 days, and yes you drop off and normally go home.  Your son or daughter are there with a committee of leaders who are fully investing in training and mentoring them.  The leaders are amazing and some of the best in their fields.

IMG_4051

The structure for the camp is that there are small groups of 5-6 cadets (first time camp attenders), led by a Assistant Leader (a returning cadet) and an adult.  For Waterfowl, the groups are flocks, Bob White the groups are coveys, Buckskin the groups are herds, and so on.  I was honored to be a flock leader for 5 cadets this past week.

IMG_4162

There were so many amazing parts of my week (despite the lack of sleep, too much food, and hormonal teenagers).  I thoroughly loved getting to know my flock members and watching them transform throughout the week.  They bonded together, encouraged each other and each were pushed well outside their comfort zones.

IMG_4120

My very favorite part was watching my most challenging child become a young man.  I tried not to be too close or in his space.  I wanted him to find himself with his own group.   He did.  He was not under the shadow of his older brothers here, since no one really knew them, they were meeting him.  He figured out what he was good at (Plant ID for one) and he did an amazing job.  He was one of the first youth to try to give his silver bullet, and kept at it until he earned the coveted trophy : his paracord necklace with a waterfowl band on it.

IMG_4219

He did not shy away from anything (that I saw) the whole week.  Over everything, I delighted in seeing him come into his own.

Since we have been home he has written a thank you note that far surpassed anything he has ever written!  I asked him once to write it, and he did without another request.  The note was to the person who taught the majority of the plants, since he won a book for scoring the best on the plant ID test.

Next, I asked him if he wanted to make a video to talk about his experiences and what he brought him – the next thing I knew he had his stuff out and was practicing.
Did this camp change him?  So far yes.  So far I see a young man in the place my boy was before last week.

IMG_4225

The boys will be sharing their experiences in upcoming posts, this summer someone attended Bob White, Bass, Waterfowl and Buckskin, so there will be lots of insight in the weeks to come!!

waterfowl-logo

Bucket Lists

I have seen the bucket lists on Pinterest for years and they scared me.  Maybe it was having little(r) ones and being intimidated – like if I make a list I have to be able to check everything off.  It is a type-A thing, I think.

However, a friend told me that she lets her kids make a small list (5 things) they want to go this summer.  And most have to be free.  SO I handed out 3×5 cards to my kids, asked for 5 things and 3 have to be free.  In no way was I committing to doing them all, but just wanted their input.

I was pretty surprised at their responses.  Geocaching (a favorite we kind of forgot about), state park visit (another goal I was failing with), and hiking (free) – anyway it was the start of a fun bucket list.  Then I saw a few other lists on Pinterests and came up with our own.  I am pretty tickled to have a sort of To Do list to steer our summer, but not bind us to it.

2017 summer bucketlist_0001

We’ve already done a bunch : fireworks, roller skating, geocache through 8 counties, and a few others.  So far this has been a fun list and not a “must do” list.  There are a few things I should have added (but it is done) – tye dye (happening tomorrow), Steel City Pops (we really need to try these), but oh well – it is done, saved and printed.  So off to do more fun things this summer……

Getting Outside

The past couple years I have wanted to get a State Park Pass – but every year it does not happen.  This year, I decided to make it happen!

So, today we headed out to Purtis Creek State Park to get a park pass, collect some seeds, and get outside!

The boys collected seeds from the native plants on the trail there, so they could put together a seed collection for a Texas Brigade project.img_0988

Peter’s pic of a native plant that quail eat and live in – cool close-up.img_0989

Jacob taking some pics too while the others are exploring.

img_0991img_0998

Anna even found a friend.

I am looking forward to a year of seeing as many state parks as we can!!

Family

Every Christmas Eve (or just about every) we get to spend the day as a family with Robert’s brothers family, my in laws and us.  So fun to have so many years of memories of that day. Our kids at Candlelight service, eating somewhere, and lots of smiles.

 

img_0949

This year, there was no Jacob, as he was not feeling great.  It was a last minute decision to stay home, he was dressed and ready to go.  Before we headed out, he did open one present early.  This boy was DYING to get his hands on a CD of the Hamilton play.  I made sure his Grammie got to see the delight on his face when he opened it!

 

img_0951Brothers on Christmas Eve.

img_0957

Even got a picture of us. With an adorable photo bomber.img_0959

Sweet girl cousins.

img_0960

Boy cousins.

img_0967

The birthday boy – with a sweet Bloody Mary made by sister in law, Lisa.

img_0969

Betsy getting a pic of the treat!

It was a fun day, and another year of family memories!