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I keep telling myself that this is going to be the last one.

Posted August 20th, 2016 at 02:16 PM by Sylvano the Wasabus
Iíve been doing medieval themed kid camps for more than a decade. Iím getting older. The physicality of running around and foam sword fighting kids is only slightly more challenging. Iíve became a different kind of warrior. I donít move so fast, but I hold my ground. Instead of a dancer, Iím a bulldozer. I was never a good dancer anyway. Instead of jumping out, I wait. Come to me, if you dare.

The preparation week is full of memories. Gathering the equipment- swords, shields, daggers, fabric for capes, all kinds of things really. The weapons are old friends. I donít know what awaits, but I will face it. This far along Iíve seen almost everything, experienced pretty much all that can happen. Blood, injuries, kids with problems. They are the coming battle. Iím slowly preparing mentally, physically for the challenge. Brain on whetstone.

The sponsor wants the program to continue. Itís successful. They make money. Over the last couple years Iíve tried to organize the program for someone else to take over, but I fear the real truth is that they have not found another person capable of running it. Iím not irreplaceable. But I have a unique skill set, and I know how to work and relate to young people.

I am motivated by challenge. Not money, not accomplishment. I liked this program because it was impossible for so long. Now it is not only possible, it borders on the boring. Thatís why I want to quit. Itís not a challenge. My heart isnít in it. Iím just going through the motions.

Sometimes the excitement of the participants gets to me and I think, yes, this is worth doing because itís important to them. It helps. But when youíre old and achy, someone elseís excitement can only motivate you so much.

We received an anonymous complaint letter last year. The sponsor treated it a little seriously- but really an anonymous letter is meaningless. I knew who it was from- the mother of a problem kid. She claimed he was sort of autistic. Thatís fine, I have no quarrel with that. But he would not follow the rules, specifically the rule that says when we are not officially fighting you donít hit people with your weapons. Thatís when they get hurt, when theyíre not expecting it. As soon as Iíd come to him with that he began to make problems in every area. No, he would not sew. No, he would not sit in the lunch area for lunch. It did not bother me. I just excluded him and roared when he got in the way. The choice was always his- continue unpleasantly or follow the rules.

His mother insisted that he only be spoken to in calm tones and never criticized, because he doesnít take it well. I told her that it was my kingdom and I was concerned about safety. The rules are open, well explained and fair and if he could not follow them then he was going to get in trouble, and not in calm tones. She said he wasnít having a good time and didnít want to come. Good, I said, go get your partial refund and donít come back. But she made her kid come for the whole time and then wrote her anonymous letter about how awful the program was. I laughed. And was briefly angry. Now, just puzzled. The rotten apple did not fall far from the rotten tree. But thatís usually the case.
There is something calming about the preparation work. The stocking of shields, paint brushes to paint them, all of the other supplies. It feels good to be prepared. Itís fun to see the kidsí eyes light up when they see all the equipment and ten years worth of banners. Calm before the storm.

Maybe this one will be the last one. Itís not because of the complaint. Iíve had those before. Bad kids, bad parents. Sad really. The kids arenít really bad. Everyone learns a way to get through life. Most learn a good way, working together, being nice. But thereís always a few who learn the opposite. Negative attention, complaining, demanding. Manipulative. Itís a sad path without much happiness in the future. The best thing i can do really is give those kids a hard time. It has worked before. One kid switched from being a pain to trying really hard and succeeding, and yeah, still being a pain sometimes. But he made it. Changed his life. And thatís amazing. Sometimes I think ďwhat right do I have to shape peopleís outlook on life? Who am I?Ē Nobody really.

All I really know as I sit here adapting foam swords is that next week there will be fighting.
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Hendal's Avatar
wow - sounds amazing. Yea I bet a few bad kids ( cause that is how they where raised ) can really drain ya. Good Luck this year
Posted August 21st, 2016 at 10:41 PM by Hendal Hendal is offline
 
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