I purchased a 2-hour Friday Escape cruise on the Portland Spirit for Tara and me, and then she wasn’t able to make it. Tara had to go to an overnight training camp for Outdoor School counselors. She’ll be gone this coming week, serving as a camp counselor for Portland Public School 6th graders. Outdoor School is one of my favourite Portland traditions: 6th graders across the entire school system spend a week of school at camp. They eat there, sleep there, everything! The curriculum is all science-related, so kids learn about watersheds, and ecosystems, and soils. The high school counselors are used not only as temporary teachers, taking small groups onto the trails and the river beaches and teaching hands-on science, but also to help with things like making sure kids eat, and sleep, stay focused on learning, and don’t get too sad. For some kids, this is their first time away from family, first time sleeping in a place other than a house, and first time living in the woods. It can be very upsetting. Tara loves all of it: the teaching (her specialty is soils), the comforting, the excitement, enthusiasm, the songs around campfires at night.
I had 5 days to find a new date. I called about 10 girlfriends, and half of them couldn’t get care for their kids and the other half had stuff planned already. Two friends would be at weddings that same day, go figure. By the end of the week I was getting a little desperate. Thursday I was writing a Craigslist ad in my mind: “Come hang out with me on the river! No druggies, no lonely college boys, no creepy people.” Luckily, I received a phone call Thursday night.
“Hey, Crystal, I’m in town for a couple days. I’m hoping we can find time to get together,” said my Uncle Mike. Yay! I’m saved from the creepy people! Mike is my mom’s twin brother and I don’t see him enough.
It was a beautiful day and we talked non-stop out on the deck. The Portland Spirit has indoor seating, served a meal, had a live band, and the whole gamut. Mike and I hit the prow and found no reason to move for the next two hours, but the music from the band was piped out to us at least.
Perhaps because of the light, or the non-stop conversation, I am not happy with most of the photos I took. No biggie. The point was to hang out with Uncle Mike. After we docked, Mike and walked around downtown and stumbled onto a new Irish Pub. The weather was still amazing, so we found a table on the sidewalk and kept talking while they brought us food and drinks. The gathering darkness forced us to wrap it up.
4 thoughts on “Scenes from the Willamette”
Oh CRYSTAL, you are SOOOO amazing! I’m so proud of you & all youdo. Your experiences are so intreeging & knowledgeable! You certainly SHOULD consider writing for one of the “Oregon” magazines. Your knowledge is rewarding to all of us who “check out your daily happenings”! Love you & your adventures. Huge hugs….Aunt Esther.
Auntie your love and support is cherished. I’m so glad to be able to share my life with you through my blog posts. Love you big, Crystal
How cool that all of the kids go to camp every year! I wish other states and localities did that. I would love to know the outcome studies that reveal the impact of camp.
Your photos are great (we are so critical of ourselves, aren’t we?) and I’m so glad you had time with your Uncle
I agree with you about Outdoor School. I wish every city could do this. It hadn’t occurred to me to examine studies on the impacts of time at camp. If there was a way to measure it, I’m sure that some people carry their experiences into adulthood. The 6th-graders who are particularly smitten with the idea tend to go back as counselors while they’re in high school. Tara has to actually teach the kids, so her own learning is reinforced.
Yes! We criticize our own efforts worst of all. Why is that? Thanks for your support, which I value so much.