Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Children of Lac du Flambeau

Three days ago I posted about the Mother Earth Water Walk. That weekend a few groups of people came to stay at the same area I am camping at for the event. One of these groups, the first to arrive, was a group of about a dozen children from the Lac du Flambeau Reservation here in Northern Wisconsin.

I first met them when letting them in though the entrance gate. Once I was heading back to my campsite I noticed they were having some trouble with their tent so I went and helped them. After they were done with that they needed some help with their fire. Turns out this is new to most of them including the mother leading the trip. I stayed to help them cook dinner, which of course hotdogs on a fire pit grill was also new to them. The kids and I started to get along, and by the next day, Saturday, we spent most of the time they were here hanging out.

Unlike Friday, Saturday was a nice day, so after helping start lunch/dinner we all went swimming. The water was cold but the rock collecting was good. Four year old Sky had a bucket and we would stop at each spot of rocks to pick out the prettiest. After lunch the swimming turned into keep away with my watergun. I was severely outnumbered.

Anyone who knows me knows that when I am in the water, any game turns into a game of “Lets drown Travis.” Here is how this name normally works. Three to five kids will hold on to my arms and neck and try to sink me. I, being able to stand just fine with seven kids on me, will sink to the bottom, wait until the kids cant hold their breath any longer and they go up for air, then I swim away, come up and splash them, then we start again.

We are going to take that game and just toss it out my tent window here, and wait a second...sploosh, that is just floating away in the lake, working its way to Canada. No, this game involved no letting go. Turns out one of the girls can hold their breath as long as I can. She also had the tightest grip on me. I never went down to less than two still on me, trying to drown me. Instead of this game ending when someone started crying or a pool check, this game ended after we all decided that shivering meant it is time to get out!

After some s’mores we played a few rounds of a game, which name I cannot remember, but it is equivalent to Sharks and Minnios. Someone would start as it, and the rest of us would have to run to the other side without being tagged. The winner was the last one standing. Well last one to get tagged, as those who survived, and even those who didn’t, and even the taggers, would lie in the sand until the next round.

Another round of s’mores, some story telling how I almost passed out from touching a hot pan a long time ago and it was time to call it a night. It was then I explained to Ricki about how the white man took the land her people lived on and made it their own because of greed and wanting to be wealthy and happy (Read Mother Earth Water Walk Part 1). Once trash was picked up we all said good night and I even got some hugs.

Sunday started with everyone sleeping until 9, then I was invited to breakfast at the local casino. Getting back and onto the road that leads from the highway to the lake was about eight cars coming for the water walk. We all walked along the shoreline from our campsites to where the water would come down to meet the lake, then headed back. You can read about what went on there at Mother Earth Water Walk Part 2.

Back at the beach we played another game of who can get who cold and wet and more rock searching and skipping, followed by lunch. Then it was time for the kids to go home. Packing up a tent and everything else was of course quite an event but some more hugs and highfives and other ways of saying goodbye and it was time for them to depart. There is hope among most of us that sometime this summer they can come and visit again.

The kids, who will be reading this when they can are Elise, Lydiah aka Spazam Girl, the future lifeguard Presley, Kathleen, Merrilee, Sky, Robert, Brooklyn, Ricki, Winter, Audra, Richard, Kenny, JJ, and the leader of the group Betty. Hi everyone! It was fun having you all around. I can’t wait for you to all visit again.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

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