Scouting provides plenty of opportunities for parents to spend quality time with their children. But some parents aren’t too keen on certain Scouting activities.
“I’m not a mom who enjoys the woods,” Elizabeth Luepke says.
Luepke, a mother of two Eagle Scouts in Troop 29 in North Mankato, Minnesota, usually left the outdoor adventures to her husband, as did many mothers in the troop. But the dads and Scouts still wanted to involve the moms, so they created “Mom’s Camp.”
Every year since 1997, the mothers of Troop 29 have been invited to a weekend campout, usually at Norseland Scout Camp in Minnesota. They don’t have to do any planning or cooking — that’s the fathers’ and Scouts’ responsibility.
“The whole weekend, the moms don’t lift a finger,” Luepke says. “It’s uninterrupted time with the moms and the sons. It’s spending that time with my boys and seeing their maturity, and how they grow and act as leaders. It’s a great time.”
Scouts who have aged out of the program also return to help put on the campout. Together they plan a themed outing. Some campouts have centered around board games, movies, the Olympics and pirates. The most recent was outer space.
“You get to hang out with your mom and do activities all day,” says First Class Scout Riley Brown, 13. “This one was space-themed; it was really cool.”
“We made rockets and shot them off using PVC pipe. We played disc golf, but instead of throwing at baskets, we had to hit planets,” says Eagle Scout Alexander Luepke, 18.
As the Scouts do the activities with their mothers, the fathers decorate the camp’s lodge. The lodge is where everyone enjoys a dinner, watches a movie (last time it was Apollo 13) and square-dances. With the space theme, the dads strung up chairs inside the lodge to make it look like they were floating in zero-gravity.
“I was pretty much taken away by how much they went above and beyond,” says Sara Brown. “It’s special for us moms.”
For the dinner, everyone dresses up in costumes — some chose astronaut suits while others dressed as their favorite Star Trek or Star Wars characters.
“It’s always entertaining to see who dressed up as what; it’s fun to see how inventive people get,” Brown says.
There’s also unstructured time for Scouts to play football while the mothers visit with each other. It’s a great way to introduce new families to Scouting and to socialize, Brown says.
At the end of the campout, the dads create a newsletter and share framed photos of each mom and son as mementos of their weekend together.