Some memories in my head from camp last week that I'd better jot down before I forget...
- For the Fishing merit badge, Jimmy filleted a fish for the first time. A fillet the size of a half dollar from a big sunfish isn't too bad.
- Jonathan left his sunfish hanging in a tree to fillet later and it was a black mass of flies when he came back. Luckily, the racoons took care of it for him.
- Chris swam for 90 minutes without stopping and completed a mile swim, now that's perseverence.
- Jack returned his camp knife after every meal until he earned his Totin Chip - he only used the camp knife for the spoon and fork on it for meals.
- I lost count of how many foot stool basketry projects there were around camp.
- Brandon got his annual knife cut.
- Chris and Jack are still magnets for dirt.The only time I got to talk with my older son was late one night taking garbage to the dumpster. The younger son was my shadow in camp making sure I knew everything that was going on.
Some things to remember:
- Fire is fun.
- Wood is made for chopping and cutting.
- Yelling and screaming at racoons never gets old.
- Rain on Monday is forgotten by Friday.
- Boys notice everything you do.
- There are a surplus of cooks and a shortage of dishwashers in the world.
- That first merit badge is awful special.
- The SPL is still a boy and needs to have fun.
- Stories are more important than s'mores around a campfire.
- There is magic in the air, water, and dirt at camp.
Man, it doesn't get any better than this!
I just finished signing a stack of Blue Cards about a foot high for merit badges earned at camp. We had excellent weather with few bugs and lots of sun - only one big rain storm and that was on Monday evening so it was forgotten by the end of the week.
It was great to see seven patrols running their own camp and how they improved over 6 days. You could hardly tell our 3 new scout patrols were 'new' by Friday.
The staff at Many Point do an excellent job of filling a week with activities and learning. They build the biggest bonfires I've ever seen and really have enthusiasm!
Things our scouts did:
- 5 mile Hike
- Archery, Slingshots, Tomahawks
- Rifle shooting
- Climbing tower
- Polar Bear
- Water trampoline
- Greased watermelon
- Water Polo
- Ironman challenge
- Canoe/Yurt overnight
- High ropes course
- Huck Finn rafts overnight
- Environmental Science
- Fish and Wildlife
- First Aid
- Mammal Study
- Rifle Shooting
- Wilderness Survival
Now, that was a busy week - I can hardly wait for next year! We've got two campsites reserved so we'll have a competition between two halves of the troop. And, we'll definitely give a bus a try.
Sunday we leave for a week of camp at Many Point Scout Camp. With the troop growing so much the past two years, we are taking 47 scouts to camp this year - 40% more than last year. 11 vehicles driving to camp and back - next year I believe we'll be using a bus.
Going to camp is an exciting time for scouts, especially those going for the first time as 19 of ours are. But, for the Scoutmaster, I've learned the time leading up to camp is awful hectic with lots of planning, arranging, changing, form filling, and re-arranging. That is followed by juggling, shuffling, accomodating, reiterating, and reminding. To tell you the truth, I'm really excited to get to camp just so its actually happening rather than planning.
But, if the scouts get there and back having no idea what went on behind the scenes to make the week work, then it was a success. I can't do anything about the weather, and very little about the activities they choose, but as long as I've got rides for them, payments made, and forms turned in then that's good.
This will be my 4th year in a row going to Many Point. The lake is clear, the staff is great, the program is full, the food is good, and the raccoons are friendly. I'll let you know how it went when we get back.