I dread the summer time. For many, it is time of relaxation and family vacations. Between the drives to care for my mom and aunt and then dealing with all of the expected meltdowns for Hunter, it’s rarely ever relaxing. As much as we would love to, we cant leave Hunter and Pep alone together for longer than an hour or two. You never know what is going to trigger a Hunter episode, so we are constantly broke as we try to find ways to keep Pep entertained over the summer (it gets a lot harder as they get older).
Pep was away at Destination Aviation when the mom of one her close friends called me and asked if Pep wanted to go on a canoeing trip with her friend. After hearing a little bit about it, I said yes and just blocked it in on the calendar.
I mentioned it to Pep when I picked her up and she was excited about it and then it was off to another structured camp.
So I start looking at the details and the packing list. Pep was attending the Life Expedition Canoeing trip at Lake Aurora Christian Camp. This included primitive camping and canoeing along the Peace River. Well she had been in a canoe and kayak, and well she has gone tent camping (though not the primitive way). Better her than me right? I really would prefer glamping because I cant stand the humidity, but I digress.
Bucket packing, hydration pack, Bible, bug bands – swimsuits – yeap – all ready to go. And they are off. And then Tropical Storm Emily pops up in the Gulf. And this have a great time, see you in a few days, mom – well I became a worry wart. This is the very first time, I realized in all of her trips and adventures she didn’t have a cell phone. It was a technology free event (which was great), but I was cut off from her. And then of course there is the normal afternoon thunderstorms in Florida – where would they go with the lightning? So I spent four days watching the radar and one Facebook message to camp where they assured me she was in good hands.
I picked the girls up Thursday morning. They were stinky. Their gear was stinky. Pep has some serious allergies going on, but they were both happy, relaxed and rejuvenated. Their activities had been modified due to the weather, but they found other things to do. Trust exercises, singing, lots of singing. They were Christian camp songs I hadn’t heard in years. They played in the river and jumped off trees and had lots of bug bites and scratches. There were no drills, no bookwork, no structured instruction. It was just FUN – and exactly what she needed. It is definitely on our list for activities next summer.
Our annual two day trip to Huntsville turned into three this year because I broke my toe. With hubby staying behind for work, it was just me and the Pep, who is unfortunately not a legal age to drive. But I didn’t let the annoying tingling and ok – excruciating pain while driving 14 plus hours deter my daughter’s need to spend some time at her second favorite place on Earth.
This morning, I dropped my favorite Pepper off for an awesome week of the Mach II Aviation Challenge Program at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Check in went well and I know there are some new curriculum changes she is very excited about. If you have a budding spacenerd, spacegeek or scientist, I would highly recommend sending them to the Rocket Center campus for a week. They are phenomenal programs.
So this morning, Matt and I dropped Pep off at our CAP Squadron and into the van she went for a week at Encampment. She was excited. I on the other hand, realized that if my sweet daughter comes back and tells me she actually enjoyed encampment, it will just cement her desire to service in the Armed Forces. I don’t look at this as a bad thing – not at all. It’s just a reminder that my little girl who just yesterday (well it seems like it) liked My Little Ponies and dressing up as Princesses is learning to fly small aircraft and talking in military lingo.
Pep spent the week on the SunNFun Campus for Destination Aviation. This is her second year attending and she truly enjoys absorbing as much information about flight into that spongy brain of hers. They have lessons on flight, spend time on the simulators and on Thursday, they drive over to Vero Beach where they actually get some flight time. At the end of the week, they present a presentation. Pep enjoys discussing the “Flight Plan.” We are just really proud of her for working hard to achieve her dreams! Pictures Courtesy of Summer Camp Staff at SunNFun.
Pep just completed her first year of Theatre. She tried out for Theatre III (the coveted class), but she admittedly had a blocking issue in her dramatic monologue so now she suffers over the summer to find out if her Theatre Director will have pity on her and take all of her other amazing qualities and let her in. Oh the waiting game!!!!
Our Theatre banquet was on Thursday. In addition to receiving the Achievement in Theatre I award earlier in the week, she came home with an Outstanding Female Performer award (I think that was what it was called), an Outstanding Usher award, induction into Junior Thespians (Yaaay!) and the Best Overall 6th Grader.
When Pep came home and told me she had picked Emmeline Pankhurst for her History Day school project, my first thought was why are you choosing someone from across the pond. Pep didn’t know anything about her when she started the project but as she learned about Emmeline’s hunger strikes, and her turn to smaller acts of violence to get her message across, she began to really understand the fight women faced in gaining the right to vote in England (and around the world).
Originally Pep was going to do a dramatic monologue but due to an error in the due date in order to turn into the district, she had about five days to finish the project. There was some stress and some tears – and we learned that the cardboard display board really stunk for this project. Normally I bought foam in the past but went cheaper due to the number of projects she had this year. Her project was selected to represent her school downtown and she won 1st place at the school district History Day Fair in the Individual Junior Exhibit. We did go to Tallahassee for the Florida State History Fair. She didn’t place but it was an enlightening experience and she has already started planning her project for next year.
In the fall Pep entered an essay contest sponsored by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and then we both forgot about it – until we received an email from her teacher stating she had won 1st place in the 6th and 7th grade Division. So off to Tallahassee we went to spend two days at the Capital and had a great time learning about the Legislative process, interacting with very successful women and even participating in her first town hall meeting. She received a very nice certificate, a letter from Governor Scott and $100. Their topic was to write about what they would do with a one million dollar grant. Pep’s essay was titled Girls Branch Out: Portable Stem Labs.
When Science Fair Projects came around, students were giving the option of choosing Science or Inventor’s Fair. Initially Pep wanted to do both. All I was thinking was heart-attack before it was over. Her teacher thought she could handle it, but I couldn’t. Eventually she settled on the Inventor’s Fair which I totally expected her to choose. With Pep’s interest in Aviation, she chose to invent the “Aeronautical Safety Module” This device would work with an app and attach to their headset. Using holo-technology, it would display navigational stats and if an anomaly occurred during flight it would warn the pilot and give suggestions to correction. Over half of small plane crashes are due to pilot error and I was really impressed with her idea. Granted she never made a fully working model – but clay works great for a first design. At the Thomas Alva Edison Regional Inventor’s Fair, the kiddo rocked out. She came home with 1st Place for 6th grade, was the Junior High Division Winner and was the recipient of the James and Eleanor Newton Scholarship valued at $4000 from the Community Foundation of Southwest Florida. She also brought home two really nice Sony Camera, some cool trophies and is riding in the Edison Festival of Light Parade. And she totally rocked the Darth Vader dress from Hot Topic. Pretty Cool and Pretty Proud parents!!