We just had the best Cape Cod Father and Son Service Camp ever. We were a composite of unit members and remote families, seasoned ALERT Cadets and families who are just learning the various tools of our toolbox, and families with children across the whole spectrum of age from infants to married children with their own children. We even had CMaj. Gary Reckner and two of his sons with us.
Thanks to CSFC Jonathan Bilodeau, we successfully carried out our first-ever river crossing at the Cape. All of the sons, and every dad who chose to transverse the swamp, were successful in avoiding the wet in getting to the other side.
The teaching flowed well, and every son down to the youngest was engaged and understood the difference between feeding on the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Building on last year’s theme, we looked at fear and anger in the lives of our early relatives, starting with Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel.
When fear or anger are allowed to drive us, we will undoubtedly make wrong decisions and take wrong actions. When we are alert to the warnings that fear and anger offer us, we have the opportunity to proactively deepen relationships instead of destroying them.
“Increase our Faith,” our camp theme phrase from Luke 17:5, is our request of Jesus that we might be strong to overcome when fear and anger tempt us to instead fall back. The character quality of the camp was humility.
Again the meals were a definite highlight of the camp. Cimin Kosior (CWO Skip Kosior’s wife) and Esther Fisher (CWO Walt Fisher’s daughter) assisted our ever-faithful chief cook Cindy Fisher in providing hearty and healthy sustenance three times a day. These welcome interludes in a busy schedule made for rich episodes of fellowship.
At Mrs. Fisher’s suggestion, the fathers and sons cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on our Saturday evening campfire, with all of the fixings and side dishes provided. This will most assuredly become an annual event at our Cape Cod Camp.
The morning prayer platoons, which divided the thirteen fathers at the camp, were a very significant fellowship. And from the feedback that I received, the time after lunch for fathers and sons to debrief as individual families and connect around the topic being discussed in our morning group devotions was of great benefit.
For me personally, this year’s camp was the best because I was able to partake of the fellowship more than ever before. This was due in no small part to everyone doing their duty so well that my responsibilities were minimized.
Our service to Miss Lombard, owner of the location for our camp, included removing small trees under a phone line and near a driveway; cutting tree limbs away from the beach house; clearing a 25’x25′ area of brush, downed trees, poison ivy, and a big stump; transplanting three holly bushes; cutting, splitting, and stacking wood by the garage; weeding and trimming in the vegetable garden; replacing three fence poles near the beach house clothes line; replacing the face board and other rotten wood on the front porch of the beach house; sweeping and spraying with vinegar the bunkhouse and tool shed roofs; washing windows in beach house; sweeping and washing decks; breaking off the top of a rock in the driveway; adding rocks to the seawall; transferring planks from under the 1929 Packard being garaged at the property to a horse stall; vacuuming the west wing and stairs of the beach house; setting traps for mice; and setting up wireless internet at Miss Lombard’s home.
CWO Skip Kosior for the first time took on the task of organizing the work projects, which were broken down into three periods of time over two days. Following in the shoes of CWO Walt Fisher, who had assumed this duty for many years, was a hard act to follow. However Skip did an outstanding job of discerning what Miss Lombard wanted done, developing a strategy for the work, getting the supplies, and organizing the labor.
Each of the three platoons of sons had a specific physical jurisdiction of the property to keep in order and clean. This proved to be yet another area where DI Bilodeau had set a high bar for the sons and helped them to meet the demands of the task. The dining rooms and main stairs were kept cleaner, and the formation deck was kept clearer of miscellaneous items, than I can ever remember.
A father and son who just had received their Basic Training Manuals came to the camp and were able to connect with families from the New Hampshire unit that were within an hour’s drive. I am so proud of our older sons who take seriously their influence by example to our younger sons, and this is highlighted when a young son comes to an ALERT Cadet activity for the first time. I am so encouraged when the dads unanimously report to me that there was no inappropriate behavior at the camp.
The Drill and Ceremony on the final day was outstanding. It was clear that DI Bilodeau had done an amazing job of working with some sons who were young, new to ALERT Cadet, and/or inexperienced in marching. The sons stayed focused and the maneuvers were well executed. And carrying forward the tradition of the gauntlet, the new dads at the camp had to pass through the exchange of batons. There were no injuries this year.
Every ALERT Cadet member, except two, were awarded nine hours of personal service for the work done for Miss Lombard. The exceptions were young cadets (from MA1A which always has 75% participation at the camp) who had not yet been awarded the Unit Service ribbon. (Their hours of service this year were combined with their hours from last year’s Cape Cod Camp, which were within a twelve month period due to last year’s camp being a week later than usual.) Also, one family received Father and Son Camp Awards for the first time.
The LTC rose to the occasion of leading platoons and taking charge of formations. DI Bilodeau chose his leaders not by age or rank, but by prayer. I was blessed to see sons who were at least equally qualified to lead faithfully support the ones in charge. This is Jesus’ Kingdom at its finest.
My favorite aspect of the camp was seeing CSFC Bilodeau shine as the leader of all the sons. He has such a shepherd’s heart and stays focused. I was delighted to give him the opportunity to use all of him in a big way as he worked with fifteen sons, many of whom did not know each other or have much experience in ALERT Cadet activities, and made them into a team.
CSFC Bilodeau has completed ALERT Basic Training, but still desires to wear the green chambray. He is such a humble man, eager to put on whatever uniform I suggest for the occasion. He is an awesome addition to a history of sergeants with whom I have had the privilege of working with in the northern half of the Eastern Region.
Oh, and then there was the campfire music of CWO Bilodeau, CSFC Bilodeau, and LTC Bilodeau. What a sweet sound these men made for our Jesus and for us.
Respectfully and gratefully submitted by CMaj. Doug Dagarin, Camp Commander