We're off this weekend to a strange land populated mainly by girls.
They have strange, secret dances...
...wear funny hats...
...and stay up all night doing various challenges.
It's Operation Olave, a nighttime competition/quest for Guide and Pathfinder teams held each year. Girls form in teams of 3 or 4 and wander about a huge park doing various challenges set up by service clubs and individuals from the community and beyond. They also get to do a little camping, stay up until at least 2 AM, sing songs, play games, and generally have an amazing time. I've been going and laughing and enjoying the adventure since 2009 (the year we won!). In 2011, our Princess was finally old enough to join me.
Last year I went along with 2 Guide teams and some Pathfinders as well. Here's my crew of awesome girls:
Here's what it looks like at campfire time (even 18mm isn't wide enough to get the whole crew in):
Here are the Princess and her teammates doing a teamwork challenge last year:
When we sat down to do our bucket list as a family on Wednesday night, Operation Olave didn't come up. In part because it's something just the girls do (not a family event) and in part because it's become such a part of our tradition that I don't think we even think of it any more. Of COURSE we're going to Operation Olave!
But we didn't count on Mother Nature. This year, the first year Sweetpea is eligible to attend and the only year the girls will get to go together as Guides (it's possible they can go together one more time in 3 years when they're both Pathfinders), it's raining. And, hey, we can handle a little rain. We've had rainy years before. Really, really rainy years. But this year we're under a rainfall warning. We're in the midst of getting a forecasted 50-100 mm of rain by Sunday afternoon. There are flood watches. And the field we all set up camp in has gotten plenty soggy in years past with regular rain. I had many calls and texts from concerned parents. I had our senior Guider, she who is wise and experienced, call me and strongly suggest we pull out so no one gets hypothermia in the cold (high of 8C!) and rain and wind. I sat on the fence and watched as teams announced via facebook groups that they were dropping out, and I even lost a couple of my own girls (not my daughters though--we are hard core on the camping love). A couple of frantic e-mails of my own and then the good news came: for the first time in 30 years, Operation Olave is moving indoors, out of the rain. Phew! It will be a different experience, but still (we hope) a ton of fun and adventure and team-building for these girls. Way to kick off the summer!
A final photo from last year of the Princess doing a knot-tying challenge as the sun sets. Makes me happy!
Photos from this year on Monday, which is also when I'll hopefully get our bucket list up and displayed and link everyone up to the Happy Family 2013 Summer Bucket List Challenge. Lots of great bucket lists already up and shared!