While I know this is not going to be a rare non-Disney related post, stick with me for a moment, because I hope you will see something from a different perspective.
As we all know, hurricane Matthew cause a lot of issues for Floridians and guests of the theme parks alike. There was a lot of major damage resulting from the storm, but from a guest perspective, it seemed to be less intense than expected. But make no mistake – this storm was serious business and it disrupted vacations and caused a lot of people to even miss their vacations. I mean, if you were flying in to MCO, and you had to cancel, it was going to be a mess trying to get down there. Vacations that took months to plan and maybe even years to save for, now unsure about when, or even if, they will happen.
This is a real concern for many. I can relate. It’s not an easy thing to work through, especially when thousands of others were in the same situation.
This past weekend, when people were reeling in from the storm and trying to get things worked out, I had the honor of helping out my son’s Boy Scout troop at a Camporee. This is where they go camping and participate in some friendly competition between troops. We were in Michigan at a camp that I attended back in my youth as well. It brought back some great memories. But more so, it was an escape for me. I was still busy helping where I could (which may not seem much like a vacation to most) but to see these young Scouts learn a few things at a camp out was a real treat. Some might not have seen it as a place to relax, but there was plenty of time for that as well. I can see why the Scoutmasters enjoy camping. I will admit – I’m getting hooked and I really appreciate them allowing me to join them.
I will tell you a blessing in disguise… that is my cell phone had such spotty service, I could not do much with it. It spent more time looking for a signal than receiving one. This caused me to disconnect from social media for 48 hours. To some, this might be a reason to panic. I think cutting myself off from the outside world really helped me think about things and talk to people face to face – focusing on those conversations.
I got to eat some awesome camp food. The Scouts did most of their own cooking and on Saturday, the Scoutmaster made a wonderful jambalaya for the adults that was outstanding! For dessert, how about homemade cobbler made by the scouts in a Dutch oven? Oh yea, that’s some good eatin’ if I do say so myself. I certainly did not loose any weight this weekend, but man, it was worth it.
I had my own tent and I will admit, I had a small air mattress. (I know – not very scout-like.) Even though it got rather chilly at night, I was warm and comfortable.
I had my camera with me and on Saturday night, I got to share some of my passion for photography with some of the scouts. We were next to a large grassy meeting place where you could see the stars real clearly. I showed them some trick photography by doing some long exposure shots and they were able to see stars that they could not see with the naked eye. Simply amazing and a lot of fun.
Sunday, I woke up and I heard the Scoutmasters building the morning fire and making some coffee. (These guys can make some awesome coffee!!) I looked at my phone and saw that it was 10 minutes to six. I thought, ok, time to get up and I will join them. I got dressed and joined them and then looked at my watch. It was really 10 minutes to five since the camp went by Chicago time for the sake of the campers. Oh well. I made a cup of coffee and walked over to the field again.
And that is when it hit me…. Something I have not seen in a long, long time.
As I stood in this clearing that was a maybe a bit over two acres big, I looked up. The sky was pitch black. The stars, however… they were there in all their glory. They were bright, clear, and out showing themselves off. I was tempted to get my camera again, but didn’t. I just stood there for several minutes looking at the scenery, absorbing it. It was something that no special effect could produce. I wanted to ingrain this into my memory. It was something I could not do at home. It was something I did as a youth and have not done in decades.
The whole weekend could have gone wrong, and that would have made it worth it for me.
We packed up camp and The troop headed to the closing ceremonies. Our troop ended up winning first place this weekend they were so excited! Me, as I took a few picture of the excitement going on, I could not help to think that while this weekend was all about those young Scouts, I got to benefit from their hard work.
Once we got home, my son and I set out tarps and my tent for cleaning. As we took care of things, he looked at me to tell me that he was glad that I was there and that he had a great time.
So, I take back my other statement – THAT is what made the weekend worth it to me.
What I’m getting at is this. I am a huge Disney fan and it is a destination location where I love to go with my family. I make memories, see new things, and do things that make great stories. I also did those same things while being away from my phone, sitting around a fire, and hearing the crickets chirp.
What would I like for you to take away from this? Well, if you were impacted by Matthew’s wrath and are stuck at home instead of going to Disney – please try to do something else. If you are reading this and are missing being there at Disney, try to work on ways where you can take that Disney spirit and apply it to everyday outings with your family. Try new things and experience different events. Do something you would not normally do. Take advantage of the opportunity to make those memories. Oh, and take lots of pictures!