As many of you know, I have been a Scoutmaster for a couple of years now. I have been involved with Scouting on and off for many years due to our church's sponsor ship of Scouting, but this has been my first time as Scoutmaster. Saturday, I finished up my third summer camp.
You have three choices when it comes to summer camp.
- Attend an official BSA Scout Camp
- Come up with your own idea for a summer camp.
- Pretend like you don't have any idea what a summer camp is and if someone ask you about it, ask them if they could help you by attending camp with you this summer. It will effectively stop the conversation as they now pretend that they know nothing about Scout Camp either plus they also have something important scheduled for that week even though you haven't told them when it is yet.
I have done options one and two but haven't tried number three yet.
I will tell you a few things from Scout Camp this year to give you an insight of what is involved in Scout Camp.
|Mike Terry, Deseret News|
This year we attended Frandsen Ranch BSA Scout Camp at Scofield, Utah. It is about 70 miles away from our city in Orem. We met at 6 am on Monday so we could arrive at camp in time to set up and get checked in. You know you are off to a rough start when one of the mother's rushes back with Dramamine so her little scout doesn't get car sick. On my first trip two years ago, I did have to pull over while one of the scouts puked. Fun way to start a trip. This time however the medicine worked. We traveled for a little over and hour to get to Scofield.
The wind blew hard for at least part of the day, every day we were there. It made setting up the tents a challenge, but due to our staking the tents well and securing guy wires, our tents all stayed up. There were several other tents in the camp that ripped and collapsed that first day.
Due to some mixups, we had to guide ourselves around camp and figure out the logistics of the camp, but we got it figured out. Most of our scouts this year were on their first summer camp and they had a ways to go in rank advancement. We got them on a program that helps them complete almost all of their requirements for Tenderfoot, 2nd and First class requirements. This worked out well and most of them now have almost everything passed of. With a week or two follow up now we are back home, most of our scouts will be at a rank of 1st class which I am really happy about. Our other scout, worked on merit badges and he was able to get several as well.
It takes a lot of work as a scoutmaster at camp. Younger scouts are all over the map as far as confidence and comprehension. Most either doubt their abilities or over estimate what they can do. If you are familiar with the term herding cats, it really applies in this case. It is always interesting that you will spend a couple of minutes with them explaining what they need to do and where they need to be and then immediately ask you what they need to do and where they need to be. It is a scientific fact that their brains are developing so rapidly that all the wiring is not in place. It takes a lot of patience to help them understand. But it pays off eventually.
Here is a picture of three scout leaders towards the end of camp. It runs you ragged!
One thing I enjoy about an organized camp, is to meet other scouters from all over the place. One of the above leaders (left) is part of a deaf scout troop. I talked with him a couple of times and found out what an amazing person he is. He is over a younger set of scouts. None of his scouts were there. He was there to help out the older scouts. He gave up a week of his time to help out these older, hearing impaired, scouts. He also chose to join the Order of the Arrow, which is a service organization in the Scouts. You can choose to do it as a scout or as a leader. Part of the induction involves "The Ordeal." This requires you to sleep outside, by yourself, with nothing but a pad and a sleeping bag. For 24 hours, you cannot speak to anybody, you get minimal food and you provide service for the whole day. Rusty went through this. The day was hot as we watched Rusty and the others work in the sun, fixing fences and digging trenches in camp. I then found out on the last day, that Rusty earned the mile swim award as well while he was at camp. He swam for 1 mile for over an hour in Scofield Reservoir which was a balmy 56 degrees! This is from a man who is not only hearing impaired, but walks with a pronounced limp when he walks. Rusty was one of my heroes at camp!
My first few days were a bit frustrating as we tried to figure out what was going on, but as we talked to staff, I understood some of the challenges they were under. By the time we left, I had a new friend in Colton, the program director, who is a fellow runner. It was good to get to know him and other scout leaders both on staff and other Scoutmasters who had come up for the week. The other leader who came up with me has been on all three summer camps with me even though he has responsibility with another
I did get one run in on Tuesday. It was a good workout, but challenging to do the extra hills and at a higher altitude. The next scheduled run was the coldest morning. I could talk myself out of the sleeping bag any earlier than I had to be up. I ended up being tired and needing the sleep any way for the rest of the week. I did a ton of walking durning the day to keep track of everything that was going on.
What's up next for me is a lighter week of exercise as I am about 10 days out from the Freedom Festival 10k on the 4th.
Hang in there and I will too!