I wanted to take some time to recap our Troop’s 2018 Summer Camp experience.
First, the good stuff I can’t wait to share…
The Dining Hall. The food was 100% better than last year. So that was a big help. It was very hot and humid the majority of the week. And then the rain came, too. It was a difficult week, but a rewarding week. There were amazing highs, and disappointing lows. Here is a run-down of some of the highlights…
Merit Badges: your Scouts earned 52 Merit Badges this past week, and we had only one partial. They ran the gamut from our First Year Scouts earning Nature and Leatherwork, to 3 Scouts earning Forestry, 1 Scout taking Wilderness Survival (without anyone else from our Troop in the class), 1 Scout taking Fish and Wildlife Management, and a few Scouts knocking out Eagles badges like Swimming, First Aid, Emergency Preparedness, and Environmental Science. I spoke to many of the MB Counselors or their directors during our week in camp, and our Scouts behaved, for the most part, as Scouts in the classes. We have all the blue cards, and they will be turned in to Mrs. King to process. Scouts will be recognized for their achievements at our next Court of Honor, scheduled for August.
Camp Honors: Once again the drum sounded calling those who earned their Pipestone honors. 21 out of 22 eligible Scouts earned it, with one just falling short, but already saying he will get it next year. Pipestone is an honor. It honors those campers who have finished the requirements for their year. Scouts are allowed to talk to their parents about the ceremony, and Scouts from their “year”. They may not discuss it with younger Scouts. Thereby maintaining the programs mystique, without any spoilers. If ANY parents have ANY questions about the program, please see me, Mr. King, or Mr. Longworth as we are all 5th Year Pipestone holders who have volunteered to help run the program over the past few years and have a good insight in the program.
Open Program: Scouts had many opportunities for exploration during the afternoons at camp. As always, the Trading Post was a major attraction. I always try to nudge the Scouts away from big dollar purchases at the Trading Post. They do not accept returns on most items, unless there is a defect in the item. So Scouts buying knives, hammocks, and other more costly items would really be better served to go through a retailer back at home that offers warranties and returns. (They are kids and no matter what we say, that shiny knife w a black spider on it is waay cool, and they buy it.)
Shooting Sports offered Cowboy Action Shooting on Tuesday night. Limited by time and day light to 40 participants, Scouts and adults shot at various targets using 22 caliber revolvers, lever action rifles, and a 20 gauge shotgun. BSA and NRA certified range officers worked individually w Scouts while on the range. Rifle, shotgun, archery, and tomahawks were always available. Joe Tharp won us a watermelon in an archery contest one night.
The Waterfront offered swimming, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, and again this year, the Iceberg.
Outdoor Skills added a new climbing tower that Scouts of all ages were able to utilize.
Tuesday was also a Carnival night on the reservation. Scout could play many carnival inspired games at the Outdoor Skills area.
Scouts also worked on their Merit Badges during Open Program.
Other events: There were two main campfires while in camp, Sunday night and Friday night. There was a Vesper Service on Wednesday night. The Order of the Arrow held a Tap Out ceremony on Wednesday. Travis Wood was selected by his fellow Scouts to be an Ordeal candidate to the order. Good Luck Travis! Cody Walter was a first time ceremonialist at the ceremony and did a fantastic job.
What else? We had one sprained ankle that required an x-ray. Scout is ok. Various Scouts had blisters. Mrs Brenner and Mr. Peterson handled all the medical issues this past week. I had to leave camp Tuesday night for a personal medical issue and returned Wednesday morning in time to catch up with our first years taking a break at the Trading Post.
And now the not so fun stuff…
- Personal Gear. Scouts must have their names on everything they bring. Hats, shirts, ponchos, books… all of it. We have to search for owners of misplaced gear all the time. Also, it leads to Scouts getting upset over missing gear.
- Packing for camp. Scouts really need to know what is in their packs and where it is. I always found that working with my son insured he knew where is gear was those first couple years. Gather the gear with your Scout, but let them pack it.
- Merit Badge Prereq’s. We have pushed this for months. The work done at home helps the Scouts at camp. The prereq’s are there for a reason. Usually they involve requirements that take time that counselors do not have at camp. We stress them to the Scouts multiple times in the lead up to Summer camp each year, and each year there is some sort of issue that comes up.
- Scout Spirit. Every year Every Scout hits the breaking point. At some point in time the heat, the rain, the homesickness, the tiredness etc etc all come together to make mundane moments explosive. Tempers flare, words are said, gear goes flying and feelings and pride are hurt. In these instance, sometimes a calming word from an adult helps, other times it does not. IN all these instance we are aware of, we try to work through the issue. We cannot catch 100% of these moments. If any of your Scout feels like they were in a situation like this that was not handled by an adult, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
Which leads me to this difficult discussion.
- Bullying. Kids pick on each other and can be mean, it happens. Even in Scouts, we are not immune to this. Bullying has many forms, and sometimes kids interrupt situations differently. What one Scout regards as funning or playing around, another Scout may feel they are being bullied, especially if they are targets of this in school or in their neighborhood. Bullied is a word I don’t use lightly, or take lightly, and it was used by a Scout to describe some behavior this week. I have spoken to ALL the Scouts involved and will follow up as needed. I have not had a chance to speak to all the parents, but I will soon. I will be talking about this with all of our Scouts at the next meeting, on Monday July 2nd. We can not tolerate this kind of behavior and will work with all parties involved to make this a good learning moment for all involved. Our Troop is governed by the Scout Oath and Law. ANY and ALL accusations of bullying will be investigated by our Troop Adult leadership. BSA has adopted policies to address this issue, here is a link to their info on it: https://www.scouting.org/training/youth-protection/bullying/
This was such a rewarding week overall. The good far outweighs the bad, but the bad must be addressed. At our next Troop Committee Meeting, this Tuesday, June 26th, we will discuss these issues and what we can do better as adult leaders to serve our Scouts. We will look at the other issues we encountered and come up with corrective actions to overcome them in the future. There is always room for improvement.
So, Congratulate your Scout for their achievements! They all grew so much over the week. All the adults who attended saw the work they put in and can attest to their growth.
I want to thank the adults whose help made Summer Camp 2018 possible:
Mrs. King and Mrs. Venditti: for taking care of merit badge sign ups and making sure we were all paid up!
Mr. Peterson: for attending the beginning of the week, working with out first years, and dispensing medicine.
Mr. Polen. For 7 years now he has attended with his sons from WRC to his 5th year of Pipestone. His help is invaluable. His attitude and fun loving nature is infectious.
Mr. Kellman. Very glad you made it and we shared a memorable Friday night in the woods.
Mr. Lott. Thank you for your guidance and in depth knowledge of Scouting.
Mr. Longworth. You are our constant rock. I can never thank you enough or repay you for your steady hand and encouraging words.
Mr. King. You are the mainsail of this ship. Without you we would not sail as we do.
Mrs. Brenner. There are no words. You are a true Scout at heart, and to me, an ideal Scouter.
The Stutzman’s for helping with our med bag issues.
Mrs. Carter for the fantastic photo, as always.
Mr. Luckring for hauling the trailer to camp.
If I forgot anyone, man am I sorry.
For Mr. Polen…
356 days till 7R Week 1, Summer Camp 2019, June 16th, 2019!!
Hope everyone’s gear is coming clean, I finally have mine done and mostly put away
ANY questions or concerns, please let me know
Scoutmaster Troop 933