Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dad and Me Camp Year 2

C left for the camping grounds uncertain about why he had agreed to go camping - again. As he kissed me good-bye, he muttered under his breath, “why did I say yes to this again?” The dreadful memory of last year’s camping trip at the Rizal Recreation Center giving him reservations.

This year’s camp was at Camp Explore in Antipolo, inside the Mount Purro Nature Reserve, at the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges.

The camp facilitators prepared a jungle and survival training course for the participants patterned after the TV show, Survival. The whole group was divided into ten teams, each composed of eight fathers and their kids. Each team was required to complete the ten stations, with each station having one physical and one mental challenge. Challenges consisted of tasks requiring endurance, agility, teamwork and problem solving skills.
Some of the outdoor recreation the camp offers:
As with the TV show, the teams competed against each other for luxuries; in this case, sleeping
accommodations. Housing was dependent on how the ten teams fared in the challenges. Accommodations were a choice of either a cottage (with single beds and an ensuite bathroom) or a cabin (where sleeping is tatami style). Fortuitously, their team completed the challenges competently as to score their own room – with a mattress and their own private bathroom.

Come dinner time, their team got lucky again as one of their teammates turned out to have his own catering company and did a superb job of steaming the rice inside the bamboo chamber and grilling the chicken and pork to perfection.

The cool mountain wind is sufficiently breezy; the temperature at night is chilly that, even with the ceiling fan turned off, most of the campers are wrapped in jackets, and come sleeping time, bundled up in blankets.

C came home humbly admitting that his misgivings about the camp at the start of the trip was unwarranted. The activities were well-planned, the motivational speakers were very engaging, and coffee was served in the main hall 24/7. There was a good balance between the daytime rigors of a camp-out and the convenience and comfort of sleeping inside a cottage, on a mattress for a night time respite. He is now looking forward to next year's camp. He said that this gave him and J a chance to grow closer while strengthening their relationship with God.

His FB wall says it all: "Spend some time and get to know your child, it is an investment that has a recurring payout for life."

image credits:  John Ong Photography and Gemma Cheng