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A Father’s Perspective on the KAB Scout Father-and-Son Camping Weekend

100_1883.JPGby Benjamin K. Liboro (Father of Jaime Eduardo B. Liboro, Gr. 3-D)

When Jaime asked me to write an article on the KAB Scout Father-and-Son Camping Weekend that took place at Bluroze Farm, Lipa City, Batangas last week, I did not quite know which particular aspect of the activity to write about.100_1905.JPG This was the second such weekend I was attending, the first having been in 2002 when an elder son, Rafael, now in High 2, was in the third grade. Prior to that, two other sons, now in their twenties, also had overnight camping, but only within the Xavier School campus and the parents were asked to attend just a campfire activity.

100_1888.JPGScouting is a fantastic activity for children. In the Ateneo where I did my childhood studies, I was a Cub Scout first, then a Boy Scout, an Explorer Scout and, finally, a Senior Scout. We went on camping trips where we learned scouting lore and the means of surviving in the wild. We learned how to move independently, away from home and the supervision of parents, improvising in situations which our prior experience did not equip us to handle. But most of all, scouting built character. We learned how to be leaders.

100_1935.JPGI was somewhat surprised to learn from Jaime that only about half of his classmates had joined the camping weekend. Any father who had been a scout in his youth would have jumped at the opportunity of accompanying his ten-year old on a camping trip and passing the tradition down. I was also surprised to hear from the organizers that in traditional Chinese families, fathers tend to keep their sons at a distance when they are young. That certainly did not seem the case with the other fathers and sons who were there last weekend. These pairs were very close and clearly held each other in great affection with a casual spontaneity that indicates closeness. Perhaps Xavier School fathers have moved beyond some of the old-fashioned traditions.

100_1948.JPGWhat a pleasant surprise the Bluroze Farm campsite was. Manicured lawns. Clean and plentiful toilets and showers, though no hot water. Well-constructed outdoor activity and teambuilding facilities. Rare and exotic animals. A restaurant that would not be out of place in Glorietta. And to get there, first-class tourist buses. What a far cry from our father-and-son camping weekend six years ago in Morong, Rizal! I was only 51 years old then, and I am 57 now.

100_1979.JPGOnce I had committed to accompany Jaime on this camping trip, I began to feel insecure about being able to keep up with all the younger fathers on the camping activities. Not that I am complaining. There were fathers, or grandfathers, in camp who were a few years older than me. They did just fine as well. Or maybe it is because the younger fathers took responsibility for the more strenuous activities and cut some of us older fathers a bit of slack (thanks Dino, Steven and the others). In Tagalog, pinagbigyan kami. Since Jaime is our youngest, I don’t think I will have an opportunity to do father-and-son camping again. But if I ever do so, I will most definitely shift to one of those family-sized tents that some fathers brought with them- the type that you can walk into and stand up inside, instead of having to crawl into and around the tent, then having to rise to a standing position after crawling out of the tent. Try doing this five times in five minutes.

100_2043.JPGThe activities were organized with a heavier orientation on teambuilding. In fact, the activities were almost the same ones that we are made to do in our corporate teambuilding activities. The only difference was that this time, we couldn’t tempt or bait any of the teachers to join us in the activities, or to even try them out. The sense of competition between kawans was fun because it was always in our minds, but not too seriously so, except in the cheering and during the campfire the second evening. Speaking for the parents, I think that everyone had a lot of fun, even though camping might not exactly have been a favorite pastime for us.

100_2049.JPG

I would like to congratulate and thank all the members of Xavier School’s staff and faculty for organizing the event, and for being there to supervise and coordinate the groups. You all did a wonderful job and you were all so cheerful in doing it.

100_2030.JPGI was very taken by how excited and happy Jaime was about the whole weekend. Initially, when I very briefly entertained thoughts about not giving up a golf tournament commitment and asking one of my older sons to accompany him instead, I reasoned that while Jaime might forgive me for not joining him in camp, he would never forget that I did not make it. That would never do. It is important for boys to have memories of their fathers, the kind of good memories that will make them good fathers to their sons when their turn comes for parenthood. I have such memories of my father, and it is but proper that we gift our sons with the same kind of memories.

So again, Xavier School, thank you for the opportunity!

therd john Rebulado said,

February 12, 2010 @ 4:54 pm

gusto ko po sana mlaman ung history ng kabscout po please send me a information..

Gene Sandico said,

February 28, 2008 @ 8:24 am

Hello Mr. Liboro,

You may not know me personally but I know your two sons way back when I was still working at the HS ODS. They were good boys and very respectable. There were quite a few minor misdemeanors but they were part of growing up I guess.
Your sons are very lucky for having you as their father. Investing precious time in your children is very rare nowadays. You’re right, nothing is more rewarding than having your children remember you as a very loving and caring father! We are proud of you sir!

Mrs. Gene Sandico

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