Youth Center Adventures
100 Days of Camping Day #5
The moment my budding artist had been looking forward to all week finally arrived- a free art class! Annie planned a great lesson for the kids. She talked about the Inuit people who live in the arctic regions, sometimes known as Eskimos, and how they live near the polar bears. She showed us pictures of Inuit sculptures depicting the bears, as well as several pictures of the bears themselves. Then she taught the kids about armatures, which acts as a skeleton underneath a sculpture to give it structure. The children made their own armatures with toothpicks and tin foil. They then added modeling clay to make polar bears, and added eyes and a nose with markers. They had a lot of fun, and I was impressed with the depth of the class.
The activity center is a really fun place with lots of activities for the kids. There is fooseball, air hockey, skittle bowling, pool, and ping pong. There is a large-screen tv with a wii player and movies to pick out. There is a LIBRARY with several books that are actually very good- American girl series, classics like Little House and Narnia, picture books like The Hungry Catapillar, and non-fiction books about animals, space exploration, how things work, etc. There are also plenty of board games and several puzzles.
Which leads me to the most exciting part of the day, that I really debated on whether I should share it or not. I really love Thousand Trails and the way the situation was handled was very good. This is a CAMPGROUND, after all, up in the mountains, the building is old, and is only used a few days every week. Okay. So here's my story.
The colorful drawers seen in the picture next to the bookshelf was full of several puzzles that were mis-matched and thrown in together. I decided to sort through them and organize them back into the right puzzles. As I did, I noticed that there were lots of tiny papers in the drawer, and that some of the puzzle pieces were damaged. But I wasn't thinking straight and kept sorting. As I continued to find damaged pieces, the thought occurred to me that it was not done by children, and was probably not done by bugs either, so the most logical conclusion would be... AHHHH!!!
"There's a living, baby mouse in this drawer!" And a nest too. And, it turns out, another baby mouse in the drawer below it. And to my shocked horror, one of the fellow campers picked them up and admired them. In the course of cleaning out the drawers (Sad, those were cute puzzles, but, TRASH!), we saw the mother with another baby on her back. She ran off and we think that she went outside. Going back to my farm days, my reaction would have been to kill them, but the staff member was more humane. She quickly prepared a little box for them with some food and water, cut out a hole for them to get out of, and put it outside in hopes that the mother would find them and relocate them. They're really little and probably still nursing. In spite of how much I don't like mice, I found myself worrying about them last night, wondering if they were okay, and feeling remorse over the emotional trauma they would be feeling at being torn from their home and from their mother. I didn't mean to uproot them like that, I just wanted to organize the puzzles! But obviously they can't stay in the Youth Center. Yikes! The area has been sanitized properly and taken care of that way, so no need to fear a visit. Seriously, this place is awesome, I'm just sharing our adventure because it's ours.
Which, by the way, got even a little more exciting. The mother mouse ran behind the bookshelf and a young man visiting the room volunteered to try and get it out so we could catch it and reunite it with the babies. In the course of moving the books we found... a tarantula. Now it was the other girl's turn to freak out a little. I on the other hand was kind of excited, because I know they are harmless, just big and scary looking. I had heard that there are several here this time of year, and I kinda wanted to see one. Of course the tarantula was relocated too. Annie told me that this doesn't usually happen. Nope. I just happened to do a little spring cleaning and found a surprise. But know this- there is no food even allowed in the building, so this isn't a place where they prepare and serve any food, and it is after all a building up in the mountains. I don't want your take away from the post to be afraid to go to the youth center. It's an awesome place! Like, really awesome. They took care of the furry friends, and after my experience, your chances of finding a mouse nest in the drawers are very, very slim. This is just my story. My life in pictures. Our experience. And one, by the way, that my kids were very excited to tell their dad about when the time came. Seeing a wild tarantula was definitely the highlight of the day.
Did I mention that I love how Pio Pico is a little cooler than Wilderness Lakes? We were outside in the shade with a cool breeze at 2:00 in the afternoon and it felt wonderful. There are outdoor activities at the Youth Center like shuffleboard and playing with some of the large children's toys they have. We could also check out hula hoops and balls if we wanted. They also have a fun mini-golf course which we enjoyed during our stay here last January. The youth center is an enchanting place, one sure to make your camping experience here more enjoyable if you have children. When you check in, look at the weekly schedule of activities and see if they have art projects or classes. Annie is awesome, and I'm excited to go again!