Sunday, March 11, 2012

GRASP to honor Karen Krejcha with Distinguished Spectrumite Medal.


Congratulations to Karen of Autism Empowerment 

Hello All,

I know many of you were expecting to see the last two parts in the series of blogs on Separation vs. Inclusion vs. Integration. Instead, I have a special announcement I would like to make.

We received confirmation late last week that Karen was chosen to receive an award called the Distinguished Spectrumite Medal (DSM) from a national Asperger’s & Autism Spectrum non-profit advocacy organization called GRASP (The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership). GRASP has 26 Chapters both in the US and in Canada from California to New Hampshire, has thousands of members and is a powerful voice within the Autism and Asperger communities.

This year, the DSM Award has a special parenting component that recognizes inspirational and accomplished parents who are on the autism spectrum.  Karen was chosen to receive this special award for the success she has had in a variety of areas as a woman with Asperger’s.  This includes being an inspirational mother to two sons who are also on the autism spectrum. She loves them dearly and advocates for them daily. The Distinguished Spectrumite Medal award also takes into consideration the success she has had throughout her life as an entrepreneur in business as well as her risk-taking and sensory-filled adventures as a touring athlete on the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour.

Karen is also a huge advocate for individuals of all ages and stages on the autism spectrum and co-founded Autism Empowerment, a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2011. She also regularly blogs in a compassionate, humorous and thought-provoking way about important and personal issues that impact the autism & Asperger’s communities. She is not afraid to be real and raw about her life’s experiences in order to reach out and touch her fellow autism spectrum travelers.

Karen founded Autism Empowerment in the middle of June of 2011 based on the four foundational pillars of Accept, Enrich, Inspire and Empower. These foundational pillars are listed on the Autism Empowerment website but I wanted to include them below as well.

Accept - We strongly promote the unconditional acceptance of those on the autism spectrum and with related disorders. This includes self-acceptance and social acceptance. By accepting each spectrum traveler for who they are, where they are in the present moment, we are promoting both autism acceptance and autism awareness.

Enrich - Our goal is to provide educational resources, programs and tools to improve and enhance life skills for those on the autism spectrum as well as their families, caregivers, therapists and teachers. We aspire to make life more meaningful and rewarding.  

Inspire - We dedicate ourselves to be a positive and uplifting organization that encourages. promotes and celebrates success in all individuals. We believe each person on the autism spectrum has the opportunity to make a positive difference in this world.

Empower - We strive to empower those on the autism spectrum to achieve their highest quality of life academically, emotionally, financially, socially and spiritually.
aeiepuzzle.jpgAll of the programs of Autism Empowerment have roots in these four foundational pillars.  Autism and Scouting, Autism Empowerment’s Access to the Arts, Autism Empowerment Let Your Light Shine and the Autism Empowerment Support Network are just a few of the programs of Autism Empowerment.

I know that Karen is humbled by the honor and filled with Grace to be in the same company as author, professor and speaker, Dr. Stephen Shore (award winner from 2009) who is famously known throughout the autism community for coining the saying, “If you’ve met one person with Autism, you have met one person with Autism”, Scientist John Elder Robinson (2010) for his work in Science and Author, inventor and speaker Temple Grandin (2011).  Karen will be traveling to New York City in May to receive the medal at the May 15th awards ceremony.

****Congratulations to Karen and Autism Empowerment***

John Krejcha
Vice President of Operations
Autism Empowerment


Accept, Enrich, Inspire, Empower!

To learn more about Autism Empowerment, a 501(c)(3) public charity and to help support our Autism and Scouting Program, please visit:

Autism Empowerment Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismempowerment
Autism and Scouting Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismandscouting

email
john@autismempowerment.org or autismandscouting@gmail.com

Monday, January 2, 2012

Three weeks in December! The formation of a Sensory Friendly Pack


Hello All and welcome to Welcome to the New Year.


I wanted to share a Blog I did yesterday about a New Cub Scout Pack that is coming to Vancouver, WA. I will be blogging personally in the coming days.


I know I have gotten away from blogging and I really want go get back into blogging more.


Thanks and always remember

Hug A Hippo


Blog re-posted from Autism and Scouting. Jan. 1 2012

I hope all are having a very Happy New Years Day. I wanted to share a very special story about a very special New Cub Scout Pack.  


The following blog is dedicated to all of the hard work that has gone into forming a new sensory friendly pack here in Vancouver, Washington. If you belong to a sensory friendly pack or troop or unit, please let us know and we would love to share your story as well.

“Three weeks in December! The formation of a Sensory Friendly Pack.”

As many of you may know, my wife Karen and I are owners of Count Your Beans. Our business has sold collectible dolls and bears online in various venues including our website, eBay and Amazon for the past 13 years.  We also founded a non-profit 501(c)(3) public charity, Autism Empowerment this past June. At some point one of our goals is to work on projects for Autism Empowerment on a full time basis in 2012 but in the meantime, bills still need to be paid and being in online retail, the Christmas season in the busiest time for us. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the craziest time and it is not uncommon to spend 12 - 14 hours per day on the business and still feel like we’re in catch-up mode.

Scouting takes kind of a backseat during this time of year. Since Justin doesn’t really like the cold, we tend to skip the November and December camping. There were only two troop meetings including the December Court of Honor and there was also a service project, Scouting for Food (an event that both Ryan and Justin took part in this year). The main thing scouting related that I was working on was the support I was giving via the Autism and Scouting website page on Autism Empowerment and support from e-mail and Autism and Scouting on Facebook.

Here is what happened the last three weeks of December and the birth of a Sensory Friendly Cub Scout Unit.

Wednesday, December 7th - I received an e-mail from Brian Blachly, our District Executive asking if I was going to be at the Roundtable (not the pizza place) the following evening. Round table is a monthly gathering of leaders within the district (including Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts) to further training and is a place to network with other leaders and exchange ideas.

Brian knows about my passion for the scouting program and knows my passion to bring the scouting program to scouts who are on the Autism Spectrum as well as with other special needs. Brian also came out to support me when I gave a presentation the the Autism Society of Southwest Washington early in 2011. So I figured he wanted to talk to me about doing some further training or something like that. I checked in with Karen to see if we had anything going on that night and she said she would watch the boys.

Thursday, December 8th - I was able to meet up with him and he explained that he was meeting the next day with a parent who was looking for a Cub Scout Pack for her son that had a greater understanding of sensory processing issues and how to work with children on the Autism Spectrum. He had conversations with her and put forth the idea of starting the first Sensory Friendly Cub Scout Pack in Vancouver, WA with her as the Cubmaster.  He asked me to come on board as a Unit Commissioner to support the new unit and to come to the meeting the next day with the Cubmaster to be. He also said that he had already set up a Join Night for the group for the following Thursday. Not really knowing what a Unit Commissioner was I asked him what a Unit Commissioner does along with some other questions.

He told me that a Unit Commissioner typically helps three or four units but in this case I would be a Unit Commissioner with only one focus and that would be this new Pack.  My role would be as counselor, teacher (about the program), advisor, liaison between unit and district, liaison between unit and Boy Scout units and unit QA (quality assurance). I have to say that I was very honored but I was already very involved with Justin’s Boy Scout Troop (Troop 462) and I told him so but I would need to talk this over with Karen before I added anymore scouting related commitments, especially at our very busy time with Count Your Beans. When I got home, I told Karen about the offer and the new unit and she thought that it was an interesting concept. A lunch meeting the next day was in order just to talk about the concepts.

Friday, December 9th - I arrived a few minutes early and talked with Brian and then Deanna Pehrson arrived. I came to find out this was the same person I had e-mail correspondence with trying to find a Pack for her son and she also attended my class on Autism and Sensory Processing needs in Scouting a month and a half earlier at the Cascade Pacific Counsel’s Excellence and Training Conference.

We talked about the idea of starting a new unit that had at its core, the concept of being a place where scouts could experience the full scouting program in a sensory friendly setting. It would be a place where parents did not feel they needed to explain themselves or say “I’m sorry” for untraditional actions of their scouts and where other parents would be more accepting and understanding of those who had special needs. Extra care would be given to training of the adult leaders in order to provide an extra level of training for the leadership. In addition, the use of more visual aids such as timers, schedules and access to a sensory break room would be just some of the differences.

Brian explained that he had already set up a join night that would be in seven days, showed us a stack of join night fliers that he had done and explained what was needed to start a new unit:

A Charter Organization
A Committee Chair
A Cubmaster
Two more adult leaders
Three Committee Members  
Have at least 10 scouts
Have a place to meet
Secure seed funds to pay for pack expenses
Unit Commissioner to be assigned by the District Executive

Coming out of this first meeting, the Cubmaster was the only person in place. Later that day I joined and accepted the position as Unit Commissioner.

Sunday, December 11th - Deanna, Gary (Deanna’s husband), Karen and myself met to discuss and put together the ideas that came from the first meeting two days prior and how this new unit was going to be different and how to get the unit up and running in a timely manner.

The desire was to create a place where the scouts could have fun, grow and be themselves where in a fully accepting atmosphere with an effort to accommodate each sensory need or special need. As parents and caregivers need support too, the idea also came up to include a support group for parents. We came out of this meeting with a plan for the marketing of the new group throughout the next week in order to try to reach the requirements to charter the new unit. This was going to be a huge feat because this was only two weeks before Christmas, it was right before kids went on Winter Break from school and it was a time of year that I suspect most people have a focus on other things. It is a slow time in Scouting for those who are active. What would it be like recruiting during a period when it might not be ideal to make a sudden decision about a new activity for one’s son and family?

Monday, December 12th - Plans for the new pack were starting to take shape and things were starting to happen. I had secured scouts to help out at the first join night and started the process to get Den Chiefs for the new pack. Marketing was starting to kick into full gear with the many marketing efforts by Karen through Autism Empowerment, Deanna meeting with some contacts at the local ARC and myself contacting many autism and special needs groups in the Vancouver area. The pack number was also assigned, it was going to be Pack 2.

 
Tuesday, December 13th - Social media for the formation of our new pack began to take shape with the addition of the Pack 2 Facebook Page and Twitter account. By Tuesday night, we were already receiving e-mails about the new pack and in addition, three possible charter groups were identified. 

If you would like to follow us on Facebook, Click Here.
Wednesday, December 14th - The unit goals were developed as well as a mission statement. Welcome packets were put together and the first Committee Meeting was being set up. The first tentative Den Meetings were set for Thursday, January 5th.. The final details for the join night were being put into place.

Thursday, December 15th - Only seven days after the first meeting, Pack 2 had its first  join night. With this short notice we had 6 families show up with a few others not being able to make the meeting. A potential number of scouts and leaders were identified. Pack 2 also received notice that they had a charter organization willing to commit.

Friday, December 16th - Things were starting to kick into high gear, Karen of Autism Empowerment joined the team as the Committee Chair and the website was created and was live. In addition to this, a location for the meetings was secured and generously donated but we needed to have a final walk through.

The week of Christmas, many of the details were being worked out and the families took a small breather in order to enjoy time with our families.

Monday, December 26th - The tour was taken of the River Rock Church and it was determined that the space would work great and the fact that the Church was donating the space fell right in line with the start-up budget. After the tour, the first official Committee Meeting took place and after three and half hours, many issues were determined on to better serve the in coming cubs.

Thursday, December 29th - Three weeks after that first conversation with our District Executive, the unit was close to being ready to be chartered.

There was a Parent Planning meeting where we met new potential scouts and their parents and received some completed applications.  Another join night is planned for January 12th.

Cub Scout Pack 2 is so very close to be the first Sensory Friendly Cub Scout pack within the Cascade Pacific Council.

A Charter Organization Done
A Committee Chair Done
A Cubmaster Done
Two more adult leaders (Still in need)
Three Committee Members  (have 5) Done
Treasurer Done
Advancement Chair Done
Marketing Chair Done
Committee Member Done
Committee Member Done
Have at least 10 scouts Just a few short
Have a place to meet Done
Seed Funding Done (thanks to Dr. Wolcott & Autism Empowerment)
Unit Commissioner Done

Friday, December 30th - We have our EIN Number, our meeting minutes and Deanna and Karen open up the Cub Scout Pack 2 bank account.  We are on our way.

The Cubmaster has really done an incredible job putting together the program and we believe will be an outstanding leader. She has a service project already set and a field trip to deliver the completed service project by the middle of January. The plans are to offer a year round and full Cub Scouting Program (including hiking and camping) in a sensory friendly setting where Scouts Can Do Their Best



I will be providing a update via this blog on the Pack’s progress. I will tell you want is working well and what areas that can be improved. The Cub Scout Pack 2 and Autism Empowerment’s Autism and Scouting project would like to network with other sensory friendly groups.

One of the goals for Autism and Scouting it to build a database of sensory friendly scouting groups throughout the country so that caregivers can go to a single place to find out if a unit is sensory friendly. We will be working on putting together a matrix that would be used to get your unit put on the list. Please look for that in the near future. In the meantime, if your unit would like to network, please e-mail me at autismandscouting@gmail.com or john@autismempowerment.org with your unit’s information, we would love to get into contact with you.

Wishing you all a very Happy Scouting Year filled with success after success. I will be blogging more in 2012 and have some ideas already in the pipeline.

Autism Empowerment Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismempowerment
Autism and Scouting Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/autismandscouting

email
john@autismempowerment.org or autismandscouting@gmail.com

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Starts in 2011


This was a week of new starts

This was a big week in the Krejcha household as far as new starts.

On Monday, Justin had his very first troop meeting as a Star Scout. He has come so very far in such a short period of time and has overcome many challenges. He really want to slow down a bit and really enjoy scouts and what he has learned.

Tuesday it was about Ryan. He had an open house at his school. He was able to meet his homeroom teacher and his SCIP (Social Communication Integration Program) as well as walk around the school and see the gym, music room, library and all as well as the fount office. He was so excited to meet his teacher and see where he will be going to Kindergarten.

Wednesday, it was about Justin again. It was his first day of 7th grade.  He asked a head of time if he could be driven to school and I was more than happy to do so in order for him to get there early and get his schedule.  After a fresh bagel with cream cheese, we took off and like last year it was a rainy day.


Once he came home, he said it was a good day and that he liked his new teachers. It was good to hear that he was off to a great start.

Friday it was a back to Ryan again. It was his first day of Kindergarten.  We remember so well bring Justin to his first day of school back in California. Now it was Ryan’s turn.

Ryan was so excited to go to school and so were we. After a nice breakfast of salami and bologna (he loves this) mom and dad walked him to school.  We could not find the aid that was supposed to meet him outside so we were allowed to take him to his class. It was so neat to see him off to his new school and class.
During the day we wondered how his day was going then about 1:30 Karen got a call from the school nurse. Ryan had taken a fall and was in the nurse’s office with an icepack on his for head.  They thought that he would be ok to go back to class. Yikes, talk about the worst fears of a parent.








Here is a little something Ryan did before we left home
Mom, dad and Justin went to pick him up.  He looked none the worse for wear and said that he had a great day and could not wait to go back the next week.

Sunday was a transition for both boys at our church (Lifepoint).  Ryan was starting the K-5 program and Justin went back in to show his brother the ropes. He had been in there off and on over the past year but this was his last time he could take part in this program. He will be in the REVJV program starting at the same time that we are in our service and Ryan is in his.
This was a huge week of Transition for our family and everybody did a great job. It was a good week. 

Thanks for stopping by this week, we hope you all have a great one.

Hug a Kindergartner 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Summer Camp at Camp Parsons 2011

Boy Scout Camp week!
This year our Boy Scout Troop was out of counsel for summer camp and we went to Camp Parsons which is on the Hood Canal which is part of the Puget Sound.  Like last year, I was going to go up with the troop on Sunday, leave after breakfast on Tuesday and then be back on Thursday after lunch in time for troop time. I would then send the rest of the time with the troop and take Justin with me so he could avoid the long bus ride back and we would get back about two hours before the rest of the troop.

So here is the story and some of the wonderful details of a really wonderful camp.

The troop was to assemble in our normal meeting place at 7:30 am in hopes of leaving by 8:30 am. The boys lined up in the patrol lines and of the eighty scouts in our troop, forty were going off to camp. Some of the troop had already gone to Philmont the high adventure in New Mexico and others had done various hikes the troop had offered. It was a nice mix of first year scouts, second and third year scouts and some older scouts. 

The gear was stowed in the trailer and the bus pulled up right at 8:30. The boys entered the bus along with most of the other adults (I was driving up behind the bus and the Scoutmaster for the week was also driving).  

The bus finally pulled out at about 8:45 am.

About an hour and forty-five minutes into the three and half hour trip the bus pulled off to a rest stop to give the boys a break, stretch their legs and use the bathroom if needed.  After 15 minutes the boys are back in the bus and we are on the way.

Once we pass Olympia, we leave I-5 and move on to 101 north and then we reach the bottom of the Hood Canal which is part of the Puget Sound. It was a really pretty drive up the canal.

The plan was that the bus was going to stop outside of camp to allow the boys to eat lunch at a day use area which is part of the Olympia National Forest. The problem was that the bus was not allowed to stop, so the bus pushed on to the camp and the boys ate in the camps overflow parking.
I think it was only about fifteen minutes or so until the Scoutmaster in charge came back with the SPL (Senior Patrol Leader) as well as the troop guild and then the boys quickly cleaned up, got the packs on and we were on the way to our camp site.  The overflow parking and the camp were on different sides of a two way highway but camp policy is that NOBODY crosses the highway for safety and it smart scouting.  The boys were lead off down a path that came to a tunnel that ran under the highway, very smart and very safe but kind of weird when walking through it.
A couple of quick turns, pass the trading post, down a hill, past the pier up another hill and we were at our campsite. The boys quickly paired off or tripled off into their tents while the scoutmasters got their gear stored.  The boys were told right away to get the swimming suits on for the swim test and the troop was off.  The boys had to go though the medical check station and then it was off to the end of the pier for the swim test.
This was much different than the past year for Justin and I was not sure how he would adapt. While at Camp Meriwether last year, the swim test was in fresh water (a small lake) and it was four laps between the docks where the boys would make their turns.  This year it was going to be in the Ocean (salt water) and they boys needed to follow a row boat out stop by themselves, turn around and then swim back.  I knew Justin could do it physically; I was not sure how he was going to do mentally since it was a strange and unexpected method without any transition.

So Justin and his partner get down to the end of the pier (they have to use the buddy system) and his partner bails out on him and refused to go.  I could see that he was mentally stuck and didn’t know what to do, my voice was near gone but I was still trying to call down to him to ask the lifeguard what to do. Nobody was helping him and I felt powerless to help. I finally went over to one of our other scoutmasters to see if they could help out. One other scout who did not pass his test, spoke up and said that he would like to try again and he would be Justin’s partner.  This was yet another proud moment where young boys step up to help other scouts in time of need.  I look down and Justin is getting rattled because he just doesn’t know what to do because nobody is helping him. I let him know that somebody is coming to be his partner and swim with him.





His new partner makes it down to the pier and they start. I was really amazed and proud of Justin on how he overcame this sensory and processing nightmare just hours into this camp experience.  Both boys did the swim and completed it with flying colors.  This was the first situation that if I was not at camp and was not paying attention that things could have started off so terrible wrong and set a negative atmosphere for the whole camp. Instead, Justin realized a huge success, passed a very difficult task and started off on a very positive success!

It was turning a near tragedy into a positive start.
After the swimming, the boys went back and got dressed for a tour of the camp. We were taken past the Trading Post (the most important point of the entire camp for the scouts), then to the different points throughout the camp where the scouts would have their merit badges would take place.

After a very short free time it was time for Dinner. I was at camp the first two nights and the last two nights and I have to say it is one of the most beautiful camps I have ever attended, the food was very poor.  I know they tried their best but the food really was really lacking.  We knew going in that Justin was going to have issues with the food and I don’t think he ate one full meal, in retrospect he was the lucky one (I will talk about this more on my other blog about Autism and Scouting).

After that it was mandatory Vespers (prayer service) and Swimming Safety rules (since the camp is all about water activities).  We were all then dismissed to another field where the camp had set up tables to sign up for Merit Badges.  Justin going in had already decided that he wanted to focus on Eagle required merit badges. I had the choices a few months before camp so he could choose and he was the one that wanted to do the ones he did. He took Citizenship of the World, First Aid and Emergency Prep. and completed all three. 

The final part of the first day was the opening campfire. It was a good program and I like it when they do the history of the camp. Camp Parsons has a long history and was even visited by Braden-Powell himself.
That night it was hard for me to get to sleep, the weather was cool which was nice but I was in a quasi-cabin with three other scoutmasters.  Two of them were snoring up a storm and I could not sleep and had a light right in my eye from the KYBO on the other side of the camp. The light was perfectly aligned that it would not hit any other spot or camper except me. I had my boots and socks off and being on the top rack, I was going to suffer through it and hope to fall asleep which at some point I did. 

The funny thing is the other two guys who were snoring to start with complained that I was too loud and the guy under neither me had ever banged on my rack which caused me to temporarily stop snoring.  This was one of the stories that made Karen laugh once I got home.

I hate getting up early and having to be up by 6:30 when you already had a late night, I was tired. We did morning flag in camp and then off to the chow hall for the camp morning flag and some nasty food.  After breakfast it was back to our campsite (did I mention that our campsite while outstanding in beauty was the very farthest away from the chow hall and we had to make this trek many times a day and the path was very hilly).

What I did last year, I did this year as well. I stayed with Justin for his first class (Cit. of the World) which had an instructor that if I had to guess was a fellow traveler on the Aspie road. We were then off to First Aid .  I dropped him off at First Aid and then let him know where E-Prep was (right next to First Aid) and I told him I would be back before E-Prep ended. He was a bit nervous I think but he was fine with me leaving.  

I went back before the end of this class and was able to watch a bit. I knew he would do great and he did.
After Lunch it was Troop time. I was really tired but I went to the first part which was shooting at the rifle range. Four of us feel a bit behind and arrived after they had already done the safety rules. Justin was nervous and at first did not want to do it and was not going to. After some processing time, he went out on the range (as did I) and we were able to shoot.  In the end Justin did a great job and had fun, I also had a great time. I will find my targets and add the photo at a latter point.
When that was done, the boys were off to some field games and I was bushed so I went back to get some rest.  I later found out that there was an issue of Justin not wanting to take part in the games and after a conversation with another Scoutmaster he made the choice to take part. During the game he also was the only one who came close to scoring (twice).  He has an issue of not wanting to take part in games because he doesn’t see the point many times but afterwards he will admit that he did have fun and a good time.

So when they came back Justin wanted to go do the Art Merit Badge and so he asked me to come with him and another Scout and I said I would and on our way out, the scoutmaster from above asked to talk to me. I told the boys to go ahead and I would catch up to them. The scoutmaster then told me what had happened while I was gone. He knew that Justin has Aspergers and did a great job helping him make the correct choice to take part in the games.

I then went down to the Art Shack and neither where around. After looking for them for a bit I was headed back to the campsite when another scout from our troop asked if I wanted to take the rowboats out.  I told him, Sure!  He did not know how to row a rowboat and I had so during the next half an hour, I was able to teach him how to row.  It is always a neat feeling seeing a scout acquire a new skill that they have not had before.  It could be a Merit Badge, first aid or rowing a rowboat. 

The boys had free time and it was good to see Justin bonding with his fellow scouts and hanging out with them.  It is times like this these where I see him in a non-computing setting learning how to relate to others and becoming closer to his friends.

It was a good day

Another rough night: Tuesday morning, did Flag, Breakfast and then I was off back to Vancouver for Tuesday, Wednesday and I was hoping to be back at camp by Thursday for troop time.

When I left, I was so happy because I was able to leave Justin on a positive note and know he was going to have a good week.

It was nice to be back home and sleep in a comfortable bed for two nights and to be see Karen and Ryan.
I get back into camp on Thursday afternoon and find out that there is a problem.  The problem was able to be resolved within in 45 minutes and all was back on track. Justin said that he had already had finished his Cit in the Nation and Fingerprinting  Merit Badges and was on track to finish his EPrep and First Aid. During free time, he was able to finish his Art Merit Badge.
As a Troop we then took a tour of the museum, after that Justin, two other scouts, a scoutmaster and I all went down to go swimming. I had not done the swim test earlier so I went and did that for the evening events. 
In the evening the camp opened up the pier for the pier jump. Justin did not really want to do it and that is ok, not all of the scouts did take part.  Part of the pier jump was the Scoutmaster Belly Flop Contest.  One of our Scoutmaster Mr. Johnson and I were there to represent Troop 462.

So I go first and do my flop – it was just ok. Mr. Johnson goes next and he slips and falls. So the dock was repositioned and we were told that we could try again. Some of the other scoutmasters were dressed up and funny outfits but they did not have much. Our lead Scoutmaster (for Troop 462) for the summer camp was telling us to get height. So I was able to do a redo and I got some height.

The judges got together and cut to the final three which included me!  The other two Scoutmasters went and then I went.  Again, I got some height.  I get back to the dock and judges are they were stilling making the decision.  And the win is ScoutMaster Krejcha!  Yes, I won the Belly Flop Contest for Camp Parsons for our week.

The next morning after breakfast, Justin camp back to camp and he had his Scoutmaster Conference for the Rank of Star.  From what I heard, he did a great job. He was then off to First Aid.

In the afternoon, we the boys had camp games and it was fun watching the scouts bond.



The evening was closing campfire and again the camp did a great job.  Another tough time getting to sleep but I think I finally did.

The next morning it was closing flag and I got Justin and we were on our way back home.

5 Merit Badges, Scoutmaster Conference for Star, Bonding with other Scouts, overcoming challenges – Priceless.

Camp Parsons was a great one for Justin and next year we will be back in counsel at Camp Pioneer.

Support A Scout

Sunday, August 21, 2011

43 Years Young


Yesterday was my birthday and it now over for this year but I know it will be next, or at least I hope I will be back for 44.

Before I start I want to thank all of the people from Facebook who wished me a Happy Birthday, some people I rarely know but it really means a lot to me.  Also, I want to say a special thank you to Karen who does a great job every year trying to make my day special. Justin and Ryan did a great job as well, they both had moments but they did a great job. I really had a wonderful day.

Justin put this on my Facebook wall the night before my birthday and it really made me smile. Thanks J.
Birthdays are a bit tough for me I have to say but not as tough as some but I do have baggage that I need to work through during the day and I have to say for me it is hard.

To me I really don’t want to make a big deal out of my birthday but if it comes to somebody else (Karen, Justin or Ryan) that is a different story.  To be honest a nice quite day at home would be just fine for me. I guess growing up I never really had big birthdays. With my birthday falling in late August during summer vacation, those types of kids parties never happened also growing up we were always taken care of but did not have a lot of extra and that was ok. That was just the norm for me.

I want the parties and to splurge more for my kiddos, so when the boys have a birthday come up, it is important to give them a birthday experience they will hopefully will remember.  With Karen, I want to treat her like a queen she is.

So back to my funkyness (I know that is not a word but it fits). It goes back to Dad issues which I still fight every year.

Karen know about this funkyness I have and reasons behind it so she really tries to go out of her way to make things special and she always does a great job.

This year, she wanted to take me to a local (on the Oregon Coast) casino for a few days but due to Justin’s Board of Review and a few other things it just was not going to fit into the plans.  It really was the thought that counted. Karen is very thoughtful.

This year started on the 19th when Karen took me to a very nice lunch dinner. It was nice because it was the last day both boys were going to be in camp and thus gave us some time away to send with each other.  It was a great lunch and this photo topped it off for Karen. LOL

In the evening, Justin posted this on my facebook page, it really was great and brought a lot of smiles to my face. It still does. Click Here to View 
Karen and I went to bed early and at Midnight, Karen sung happy birthday to me, a family tradition we carried over from San Jose.  She is so wonderful.

It was so nice, the next day I was able to sleep in.  Ryan did come get me around 9:00 am but after I got his juice, Ipad and Sprout, I was able to sneak an extra half an hour. It was like I won the Lotto.

Around noon, the traditional opening of gifts was started. Nothing says Happy Birthday like Dexter and Bones, I was happy to get both. Some wonderful gift cards, socks, some inspirational gifts from Karen (which were so touching and really meant a lot to me) and a new Angry Birds shirt rounded out some of the top gifts.  











 

Around 1:30 pm we were out the door. Karen wanted to treat me to a lunch at the Olive Garden (neither of the boys knew, so it was a great surprise for them) and a wonderful lunch was had including the three boys having to touch the odd shaped lamp.






Boarders the book store was going out of business so we thought it would be fun to see what they had left. We spent about an hour at the store and we got some new treasures at 50 – 60% off.

Next stop was Petsmart to pick up some new additions for the family. After a really long wait because of a customer who was in front of us, we finally left the store with 4 new Tiger Barbs. They really look great in the tank and they love swimming together.

Last stop before going home was QFC to pick up some snacks for a family movie.

Once we got home we all got to the family room and settled down to watch the movie Scout Camp. This movie was not the most inspirational scouting movie ever but it did give a glimpse on what camp life is like. It is pretty over the top in many ways but it was a family movie that we enjoyed as a family.
Who can forget cake! Karen got this wonderful ice cream cake from Cold Stone and it was outstanding. At the end, Ryan was being a goof ball and put on what he calls mommies Booby Protector. It was so funny.




The evening was everybody just relaxed and hung out. I finished my Blog about the County fair and got caught up on some other things.

It was a wonderful day and thank you so much for Karen and the boys making is such a wonderful day.