Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Boat Races. Cardboard and Milk Carton Style.

What does this look like to you? A box? Well, you're half right. In its former life it was a box. Probably used for transporting cereal or frozen chicken nuggets. In its new life this box is a boat made lovingly by an 8 year old boy using only the cardboard, empty milk cartons and packing tape. 

You see, at the camp where The Canadian and I have spent all summer working we are always trying to come up with new innovative activities to entertain our campers. And sometimes the usual lacrosse, water skiing, archery and campfires aren't exciting enough for our youngest male campers. They need to build and create and compete. Enter the boat building contest.

The kids spend several days working with our swim counselors to build their boats.

Some may call these boats masterpieces of engineering brilliance. Pretty impressive for a team of 2nd graders don't you think?

I mean, I'm impressed. I don't think I could build something that spectacular myself.

When building is finally over and race day dawns the kids are ready and chaos reigns. Each boat building team chooses one member to captain the boat and the captain is given a paddle to power their boat. Their goal is to row their boat across the designated swimming area -- a total of about 30 feet.

The kids begin to line up and organize themselves. 

The boats are put in the water at the sound of the whistle to ensure fairness as they could potentially become water logged very quickly.

When the final whistle sounds, they're off!

Almost immediately Chris the Counselor's boat capsizes. It would appear he is a bit too big for his boat. 

Boom! Another one bites the dust a few feet into the race.

Another boat is struggling but David steps in to make the save.

This little guy had it figured out from the beginning when he built himself a simple raft. 

Oh dear. This guy has definitely seen better days. 

It's official. Every boat has lost it's shape, taken on water and appears to slowly be going down.

Paddles are abandoned and the boys proceed to swim/drag their boat to the finish line.

Perseverance at it's finest. After all, this is what camp is all about -- building character.

But what is this? Marcus the Counselor is still intact and afloat! I'm not entirely sure how Marcus got in the race seeing as there were age restrictions...but still, his boat survived in one piece. 

We may have to build a bronze sculpture to memorialize this aquatic success. The bar has been raised. Good luck to next years competitors.

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