Papa Bear Gets Two Days Off
I don't have a 9-5 Monday-Friday kind of job. It's more like 24/7. And I rarely get a day off. When you need someone to watch an autistic teen, your options are pretty limited, both in number and availability. (Thanks, Mom!) So when I do get a break, how do I spend it? Tramping through the woods, improvising shelter, and searching for missing persons or missing aircraft.
I spent the weekend at Volk Field, getting ground team training with Civil Air Patrol. We covered a lot of ground. (Pun intended.) They divided us into teams, based on our level of training, and assigned us various tasks. Each day we spent about half the day in the classroom, and half in the field. In the field, we practiced line searches, missing person searches, navigating varied terrain by both day and night, signaling aircraft, searching for clues of a crash scene, and organizing a hasty search. We did vehicle inspections, set up site surveillance, and marked out a helicopter landing zone. We tracked and located a distress beacon, which turned out to be in the next county. Out in the woods, we divided into teams of four, and had half an hour to build an improvised shelter that would protect the four of us from wind, rain, and cold, using whatever we had in our packs or could find in the area.
I came back exhausted, but refreshed. I learned everything I needed to move on to the next level, and then some. I kept a special eye out for one cadet who is on the spectrum. It was inspiring to see her overcome her sensory and social challenges and accomplish the task at hand. We put in two days of hard work that would challenge any adult. But our teams were about half adults, and half kids, ages 12 to 18. We had cadets handling every task and position except driving. That's what I like about CAP. There are certain tasks, like driving a van or flying a plane, that only adults are allowed to do, but there are many jobs reserved for adults in other organizations that cadets can do if they complete the necessary training and demonstrate the necessary responsibility. When you start acting like an adult, we'll start treating you like one. And these
Note: The above photos are examples of the kinds of tasks we did collected from around the web. I was much to busy to take pictures.