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Dec 2014 campout

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This was a fun campout. I am a bit biased because I like games, but that not withstanding, I still think this was a fun campout.

We had a an uneventful trip out to Camp Birch, and when we got there, we pulled right up to our cabin. It was a roomy place with several cafeteria style tables and chairs, a couple of couches, a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms and 2 bunk rooms. Out back was a fire ring, and there were trails all throughout camp. This is my second time at Camp Birch, but I got to know it a lot more this time around.

Once we got gear unloaded on Friday, the games and movies began. They watched MIB 3 and Divergent. As soon as the packs were stowed in the bunk rooms, 7 boys set up a table and started playing Monopoly. I didn’t watch the game very closely, but I heard no yelling, and there was definitely no blood. It is what I would refer to as a mild version of Monopoly 🙂

I brought 2 new games and I got a crew of 4 folks to start playing (and learning) it with me. It was all of our first time playing, and it was fun. The game is called “are you a Traitor”, and is 95% of gameplay is the participants just engaging in open dialogue. I think almost every played it at least once during the weekend. The games only last about 15 minutes and it can support up to 10 people playing at once. We had a couple of 10 person games and it was utter chaos. What a blast!!

We had a few snack breaks in between games. After much laughing, lots of game switching and 2 movies, we made it to bed. I for one was 100% zonked. I did not take a survey, but I think the feeling was mutual. No one stirred until after 9:00 the next morning.

When we got up, the boys started getting prepped for their morning meal. All weekend long, the boys did a good job of preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards. I think I may have been the only one who did not get his hands soggy in dishwater. We played hard all weekend, but when the time came, the boys worked hard also.

While the worker bees worked, the rest of the guys mostly watched a movie. I think the morning movie was Phantom Menace. Over breakfast, the subject of fire came up and a few guys went out to the fire ring to make a fire. They canvased the area to look for tinder, kindling and fuel that was all dry. I tall order with the weather we have had lately. They managed to get a fire going, and at different parts of the day it shifted from muted coals to roaring blaze. I stopped out there for a few minutes of peace and quiet every once in a while on Saturday.

It was during one of those peace and quiet times I was out to watch the embers burn that I heard Andrea talking to one of our adult leaders who couldn’t be at this campout – her son Jon! Jon was given time at boot camp (for the Navy) to make phone calls, and it just so happened to be over our campout time, and I just happened to be hanging around the fire when he called Andrea. FYI, from what I heard he is doing great, and I hope he knows that we are all thinking of him and appreciate the service he is giving to us and our country.

After all the cleanup was complete, our whole troop set off on an exploratory hike around camp. We saw a frozen pond, we walked through a huge welcome center (at least the breezeway part), several trails, the chapel, the wood storage area, and back. To give you an idea, I wear a pedometer and even though through the week I walk 15 minutes from the parking lot to my office, and all around town for lunch or coffee through the day, there are still days I only get 5000 steps. On Saturday, I got over 10,000 steps. For a gaming campout, we were pretty active.

I asked my normal question to a few of the boys – what was you favorite part of the campout. Food was not on the list this time. I heard 3 different answers.
1 – Movies – nothing specific just watching the movies in general
2 – Coup. This is one of the new games I brought. It is also a new word for many of them. They pronounced it either “coop” or “queue”. Not being able to pronounce it did not at all impact there enjoyment of it.
3 – Are you a Traitor – The other game I brought. I think this was fun because of the quickness and openness of the game.

Here is a pic of the boys and a video of one of them skipping a rock.

Parents – if your boys went on this campout, tell them I said thank you, and I enjoyed their company. If your boys did not go on this campout, tell them I hope to see them next time. The diversity of our group is one of the things that makes our campouts fun. It is definitely a case where the more we have, the merrier it is.

I will be asking the boys at our Christmas celebration if their parents passed on my message 🙂

Merry Christmas,
John – Assistant Scoutmaster

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