Summer Camp 2015 will definitely be remembered for years to come! Many things happened there this year: some good, like rank advancements and not as many bugs keeping us up at night; some bad, like the sweltering heat & humidity, and multiple storms (including a tornado warning) that forced us to spend hours in a cramped storm shelter. I have quite a tale to tell, so read on!
Day One. As usual, our Troop met at the church building in the morning. After everyone was accounted for at circle-up, we set off for Bartle. I rode with Tanner and Mr. McBee, and something happened along the way that gave us a scare. You see, after awhile we noticed that the door of the mini-trailer Mr. McBee was pulling had come open and was flapping in the wind! After coming to a stop on the side of the road, Tanner and Mr. McBee checked the trailer and were relieved to find they hadn’t lost any of their gear. Whew! The rest of the drive was uneventful. After our Troop arrived at camp, we did the swim test and then basically just hung out for the rest of the day.
Day Two. This was the first full day of camp and also when merit badge classes (some 3-day, some 6-day) began. Adam Shinski and I had several classes together, and we were able to find our way around camp pretty easily. At Opening Night Campfire, the staff did lots of funny skits and everyone enjoyed them. Afterwards we returned to our campsites and went to bed…but not for long! Staff woke us up in the middle of the night and we had to go to the storm shelter located below our pavilion. It was packed, and we were sweating and uncomfortable. A severe thunderstorm was the cause of such misery, and let me tell you now, there was more of that to come!
Day Three. During downtime between merit badge classes, the Scouts played board games like Risk, card games like Magic: The Gathering, and Frisbee. Also, something new was started at the trading post this year. It was a game called Gaga Ball, where the players are put into a heptagonal ring and can use only their legs to kick a volleyball. The object of the game is to tag players out by hitting them with the volleyball, and the last man standing is the winner. We had fun playing all these games, but I think most of us were excited for what the next day would bring: Family Day and Call-Out Night!
Day Four. Ah, Family Day, the second-best day of summer camp! Usually this occurs on Day Seven, but this year it came earlier. On Family Day, Scouts’ family members and close friends come to visit and bring good food for lunch so that we don’t have to eat nasty camp food. We always look forward to this day! Scouts and their guests line up at the food table according to rank, so for example Eagle Scouts and their families get to go first. The food was delicious as always! After the meal, Scouts took their guests to see popular sites like The Point and Iconium, and later in the afternoon, many attended the Dance of Joy performed by the Mic-O-Say Tribe. Towards the end of the dance, each dancer has his mom or another family member join him. Family Day was a great time and a lot of fun, but after our families went home it was time to get serious because Call-Out Night had arrived! This is when certain Scouts get called out for either Foxman, Brave, or Warrior in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. This ceremony must be taken very seriously.
Day Five. Today marked the halfway point of summer camp. The first round of 3-day merit badge classes was completed, but if a Scout didn’t earn one of his merit badges for whatever reason, he has to finish it on make-up day. Most Scouts got their merit badges done, though. As usual, the Old Dogs had their daily 3:00 Slushy Run to the Trading Post. Also, today was the Hike-o to Ico, which is mostly for the First Years. Oh, and guess what? Everyone had to wake up in the middle of the night again to go sweat and be miserable in the storm shelter because of another stupid storm.
Day Six. The second round of 3-day merit badge classes began. This was basically another typical day at camp, but for me it was special because my dad came to Bartle as a part-time camper. He wasn’t able to come on Family Day because he had to work, so I was happy he was going to spend the rest of camp with us. I was also glad he was going to be able to watch me do the Mile Swim! Also, the Honorary Warriors and Honored Women were called out today, and my dad was part of that group.
Day Seven. Scouts continued their classes, and everyone continued to not be thrilled with camp food! Certain people in our troop began working on our skit for the Closing Night Campfire. Mr. McBee and Mrs. Wood changed the lyrics to the song “A Man Of Constant Sorrow” (from the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) and renamed it “A Scout of Constant Sorrow”. Oh yeah, and we had Round 3 in the storm shelter, losing sleep yet again!
Day Eight. I completed my Mile Swim in the morning. My dad and lots of troop members came to cheer me on, and Mr. McBee nicknamed me Jacob Barracuda! The day continued with the usual rotation of merit badge classes (final day) and free time to play games. The performers for the Closing Night Campfire skit practiced at a select spot in camp. I was part of that group and it was fun! Last but not least, we all had to go to the shelter for the fourth time because of another storm and a tornado warning. It would be the last time in the shelter, thankfully, but it was also the longest.
Day Nine. The last full day of summer camp–everyone was very excited and happy! All of the Called became Foxmen, Braves, and Warriors, and it was also make-up day for merit badges. My dad treated me to a Father/Son day by going to Ico for dinner instead of settling for Camp Salisbury Steak. At Closing Night Campfire, all the troops performed their skits, and we got a great reaction from the crowd when we did ours. Almost everyone stood up and cheered! Most of our troop’s gear got packed up today as well.
Day Ten. After packing our remaining gear and eating breakfast, Troop 412 left for home! Another summer camp was in the bag. Yeah!! And even though the bugs weren’t as bad this year, I still had so many bug bites, I didn’t even bother to count them. I was very happy to get home, and I’m sure everyone else was too!
Well, that about wraps it up. In my opinion, our Troop had a really fun summer camp with lots of great experiences…except for all those times in the storm shelter. But even that helped make Summer Camp 2015 one to remember!