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Outdoor Education in San Mateo County

Outdoor education is a learning experience for all involved.

 

My ten-year-old son, who attends had outdoor education last week.

At the Ware house, we all knew the week of outdoor education was going to be one where independence and self-reliance were tested.

We also felt the departure morning would be a difficult one emotionally. And it was.

There were long hugs, kisses, and cries of staying in Belmont. But with a little work, my wife was able to calm me down and our son headed off with his class.

Yes, I proved to be the weak link at departure time. My 10-year-old, my wife, and my other children handled the morning goodbye like it should be handled in a perfect world.

I, on the other hand, had trouble watching my youngest head off for what I believe I referred to as “an entire week in some far-off jungle.”

Okay, maybe it’s a stretch to call Jones Gulch a jungle or even think of it as far away, but this was the first time I had ever sent any of my children off at such a young age.

My 10-year-old had been on a few sleepovers and stayed overnight with relatives, but this was four nights away and I was terrified.

To be perfectly honest, when I said goodbye to my son, I was a model parent. I gave my son a hug, told him to be on his best behavior and have fun learning.

My wife shot me a knowing look. She could see what my son could not – that I was having trouble letting him go.

“Man, that was hard,” I said to my wife.

“I know,” she said, reassuring me.

“And you’re sure you packed enough stuff?” I asked.

“Everything on the list,” my wife said.

“Did you double check it?” I asked.

“He’ll be fine,” my wife assured me.

I looked at the list and tried to determine if the supplies would be sufficient to keep our son warm, safe, and happy.

“Take a deep breath,” my wife said.

How could I? My baby was going away. The first couple nights I slept restlessly, wondering how he was handling being away “all the way in La Honda.”

On Wednesday, I woke to find it had rained a little overnight. This sent me into another round of panic. I questioned my wife again, “You did pack his raincoat? Is he prepared for rain?”

My wife smiled. I think she enjoyed seeing me freak out. She said, “You do realize he isn’t alone in the woods?”

Of course, I realized this, but I worried nonetheless.

When our son returned home on Friday, I breathed a sigh of relief. Not that I let him know this. I welcomed him home – with a special meal – but didn’t want to show how much stress I had been under.

“Did you miss me?” my son asked.

“Were you gone all week?” I asked.

“Yes, Dad,” he said.

“I hardly noticed,” I said.

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