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Real Men Bond This Way: A Dad’s Take on the Father-Son Camp


by Carli D. Recio II, father of Carli III and XSPA Class Rep 3-I

When I first heard about the traditional Father and Son Camp for the Grade 3 boys when my son was still in Prep, I have looked forward to this event with much unabated excitement. Secretly, I would make my personal countdown for every year that passes by prior to my son’s turning Grade 3. The anticipation was even magnified when my son had his Mother and Son Camp last year.

And so, one must understand how much I felt when finally, after all those years and months of waiting, that day has finally arrived. To be honest, it felt something like a Coming of Age Ritual… for ME. My first born and I would get to bond the WHOLE DAY. Just him and me.

We started the day waking up early. Yes, yes, yes, methinks I was even more excited than my son as he tries to remove the cobwebs in his eyes after at least an eight-hour sleep (I saw to it that both of us slept early the night before.) All we had to do was to take a bath and wear our clothes since all the stuff needed for that day was already inside the car. Breakfast was to be at a popular fastfood near Xavier. I want to be sure that we won’t be late.

17335_468872475104_905405104_10758193_8219390_n.jpgRegistration time. My son was the first to enter the MPC and proceeded to look for his section’s registration area. He was the first one to get the name tags and started writing on his. I was expecting that he would write his nickname “Trey” as I planned to write my nick, “Jon.” But instead of writing his nickie, he wrote “Carli III” and even told me, “Dad, don’t forget to write Carli II.” I was already beaming with pride and elation right after that and followed my son’s request.

Yes, the bonding had begun.

Grouped according to Kawans (we were Pulahan) and further grouped into 4 Kawan sub-units, we went to many stations that would essentially entail cooperation and teamwork not only between father and son, but also among the other father-and-son pairs.

Props to the steering committee: Mrs. Arlene Choo, Ms. Kristelle Garcia, Mrs. Josefina Galvez, Mr. James Rivera, Ms. Myrna Mojica and the Grade 3 Kawan Leaders and other members of the Unit 2 Team. I have been made aware that there was 75% participation, the biggest by far! And the way I see it, a very successful one at that. Congratulations!

21841_459138140060_599855060_11032412_5101271_n.jpgThere’s a different kind of feeling when a group of testosterone-packed males work together through sweat and yes, I dare say for some dads, soreness, in order to achieve a unified goal. Among the various stations we went through, two were my favorite. The first one was named the “Spider Web” where meshes of nylon rope are tied like a spider web between two volleyball posts. The object is to let each member of the group to pass through the spaces in the web, but here’s the catch: Each person should not touch the meshes of the web while passing through a selected space. Each space can only be used TWICE.

So you can imagine the planning we had to do since the spaces were of different sizes. The mission entailed us to assign two big daddies to go through first so that we can transport the boys one by one through the spaces that are above our heads and chests. What was touching for me was to see the fathers really concerned that each boy is carried safely through the mesh —- even if he’s not his own son.

My second favorite was the last station we had to go through. It required the whole group to fill up a drum with water with the source of water a couple meters away. Easy task? Hardly. We were to use a limited number of plastic containers and fill up the drum riddled with a lot of holes!!! Since they take up less space around the drum, we assigned all of the boys to cover the holes using their fingers. The fathers made two lines ala assembly lines with one direction from the water source, filling up the drum while the other line transports the empty plastic containers back to the water source.

The Cheering Event and the preps we made prior to the Campfire Activity was a lot of fun. For the Pulahan, two dads tag-teamed and volunteered to help come up with some more cheers and antics: Yup, one of them was me and the other was another “Jon.” That’s Jon Mathay. You know, there’s something about being named Jon that brings out the unabashed wackiness in us, but I digress…

Seriously though, it was my son who approached me and said, “You know Dad, you’re good in this cheering stuff. Why don’t you go in front (and make things happen)?” I guess he’s used to me leading the cheering during the tournament games when he was still a member of the football varsity team. So there I was leading the cheering during Campfire (Kudos to Kawan Dilawan — Ang number wan! — for garnering the most number of 1st place medals for the various events)… and well, it’s a joy to hear my son bragging to his schoolmates that his father has a lot of crazy stuff for the cheering event.

I ended up trying to make my son proud of me instead of the other way around. Funny isn’t it?

Thank you Xavier School for this unforgettable experience.


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