I haven't picked a winner from last week yet. I will do that by next week. It's just too hard. I promise to make up my mind by next week.
Let me tell you about last Saturday. As some of you know, I am certified to facilitate canoeing, archery, low ropes course and zip line at my local Girl Scout camp. In fact, the low ropes course and zip line out there were the setting for a scene in STAND BY YOUR HITMAN.
Anyway - as part of the certification process, I volunteer to spend a weekend or two in the Spring and again in the Fall, helping other troops go through these things. This Saturday, I ran canoeing. For ten hours. By myself. I estimate that I put 87 girls in the water between 8a.m and 6p.m. And here is what I learned:
1) Ten and eleven-year old girls know how to swear and their vocabulary is very impressive.
2) A tiny, dead and dried out leech on the dock is still incredibly terrifying to tweens.
3) When you tell girls that there is one area they should not go near because it is too windy and they will get trapped (forcing me to rescue them, of course) - 35% of these girls will make that location their first destination.
4) You really can get sick of hearing children calling your name over, and over, and over, and over...
5) There is no way a canoe can go straight when you have a 150lb. girl in the back and a 55lb. girl in the front. And there is no kind way to tell them they should choose a partner who is their own size.
6) If you stand up in a canoe to dig yourself out of being beached - even if you warn the girls not to follow your example - 100% of them will stand up anyway because you did.
7) It doesn't matter what kind of fish you see in a lake in Iowa, to kids, they will always be pirhanna. Always.
8) I can, by myself in a canoe made for 3 people, tow six girls in 2 canoes across a lake in a strong wind. (I do not recommend this. My arms still feel like they were stepped on by inconsiderate rhinos wearing cleats.)
9) There will always be that one canoe of girls who will get all the way across the lake, put their paddles down and refuse to row back because they are tired.
10) Conversely, there is always that one canoe full of girls who won't stop canoeing, no matter how many threats you hurl at them. Okay, so maybe that's where they got the idea there were pirhanna in the lake.
11) The incredible joy you feel when you realize you can toss huge canoes around like origami boats will invariably be destroyed by the searing pain you feel in all extremeties for the next week. Seriously, it hurts to lift a piece of paper.
12) Kneeling in an aluminum canoe in the middle of a lake on a sunny day creates the weirdest sunburns. I think I have a red silhouette of the S.S. Enterprise on the back of my right thigh.
So what have I learned? Nothing really. Because if they asked me, I would probably do it all again. I'm kind of not smart that way.