My first tent camp in many months was this weekend. I brought the rain. Character was built.
This was the first time I saw a gathering at the Eagles nearly 30 people strong in quite a while. Boys were doing all the normal things – loading gear, asking when we would leave, playing chasing games, and trying to maneuver for the best seat in the car for the ride out.
Since Sunset isn’t till 8:45 we headed out in sunshine. We arrived at Mohican when the sun was just getting ready to set. We had about 20 minutes till the sun went down. There was a lot to do.
The adults watched the boys spring into action and after a few minutes we saw that they were on their way to success. We started grabbing our own gear to set up. The older boys helped all the newer scouts set up the tents. It was dark and this is only the second time these have gone up. Lesser men would have given up. These boys perservered. After all the patrols had their tent up, then it was time for the youth leaders (who had been looking for boys to help until now) to start taking care of themselves.
By this time it was pitch black and there was a steady rain. Though stress levels were high, these veterans kept their cool and got their tent up with very little moisture getting inside. I am proud of all of them.
By 10:00 all the tents were up and the boys and all their gear was safely inside. The senior patrol leader gathered all the scouts for a discussion of the weekend plans. Justin spoke first and congratulated the boys on a job well done. We laid out the plans for activities on Saturday and turned it over to Andy (the Senior Patrol Leader). Andy set the ground rules for bedtimes and gave them all a little snack for the night (chips, queso and salsa).
Saturday morning was nice. The rain was still coming down, but the sun was out and the day held much promise. The scouts cooked sausage, eggs, bacon and eggs. We eat good!! After they finished washing dishes there was time for just a tiny bit of football. While most of the scouts were either playing or washing, the youth leaders were discussing detailed plans for the day.
By 9:45 we had walked to the canoe livery to start our canoe trip. We took a 5 mile drive up river and put in our canoes. We wanted adults near the front so Mr. Barry and I went out first. Within seconds we were followed by the laughing screams of boys maneuvering canoes down the river. If joy was a sound, it might sound something like teens and tweens laughing on a river.
After a 5 mile easy row down the river, and after seeing several people on shore, 5 families of geese, a slight mist, and a bald eagle we made it back to shore. I didn’t see all the kids, but I did see several splash wars, a few canoes bounce off shore, and a couple boys go for a (cold) swim. We got all the canoes pulled up and the boys headed for the hot showers.
When they got back to camp, our senior patrol leader already had a fire going. The cooks were assigned, and the rest of the boys started playing football and card games. Our scout cooks started on the hot dogs and mac and cheese for lunch,
I did not realize how hungry I was. Hunger is ALWAYS the best sauce. We ate a little late but we ate well. I stayed back at camp but I saw several scouts playing with a football although it was not actually a game of football. Hmmm.
Our later afternoon still had on and off rain as we headed to our rifle session. Our range master showed us all the parts of a .22 rifle, how to load, and how to shoot. Though safety was at the top of the list of priorities, the kids had a great time aim at the targets 20 yards away. After rifles, we broke into two groups to play putt-putt and shoot archery.
By this time, the weather had mostly cleared up. The boys I was with blazed through 18 holes of putt-putt. Several of them started to zero in on the archery target also. After such a structured day, many just wanted to let loose on the play ground right next to us. While I sat ata picnic table, I marveled at the amount of energy and stamina these kids have.
After a great supper of hamburgers and salad, we started to wind down our day. Many feet came to get warm by the fire. A lot of conversations were had about the days events – canoeing, shooting, archery, football, the playground and more. After dark we built up our fire to a blazing level and Andy led us in a flag retirement. It was one that had been carried in a war (Barb may know the whole story – a grandfather of a coworker I think).
A final dessert of choco-tacos, and then the boys all worked together to tear down the pop-ups and tables in order to lessen the load in the morning.
Sunday was bright and warm and sunny. The tents came down quickly and we cleaned up our area. A filling breakfast of powerbars (tortillas, peanut butter, granola) kept us filled for the ride home.
Several comments were made by the 9 adults that were there about the behavior of our kids. The kids worked together, played together, and voices were rarely raised to each other. It was a pleasure to be with them.