A very busy day in the offing - I'm headed to my ancestral homeland this morning on my very first Bugles Across America mission. My friend's father has passed, and he was a USN veteran of the Korean era and is to be buried with military honours today. I shall humbly offer a rendition of Taps at the appropriate time.
We're a week back from Scout camp today, and another fine week was had by all. Unlike last summer, I did not feel compelled to walk all over camp and remember places and things from my days as a Scout some 30 years back. Nay, I was merely an adult in camp.
I'm the District Training Chairman; going in, I offered to teach anything for anyone during the week, but I had no takers. As it turns out, a professional member of staff was teaching things this week, and the classes he was offering were all things I recently taught or attended myself, so I was completely off the hook.I had my Dutch oven with me
; I baked some treats over the fire on 3 days of camp week, so the scouts at my table in the dining hall were quite happy about that.
Of course, I brought an actual Scout with me to camp. This was Javi's second summer camp experience, and he ran with it. He was in 3 merit badges (earned them all) and did many troop experiences in the afternoon sessions. The big thing this year was him making swimmer. It's a rite of passage for all boys at camp - "Jump feet-first into water over your head, swim 75 yards using any stroke, swim 25 yards using the resting backstroke, and float for one minute." He did not complete the test last year, which limited some waterfront activities. No such thing this year.You'll note a scout standing taller than everyone else in this photo
. This is Javi on one of the low elements at the COPE course. (Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience, or "Climb Or Plummet to Earth"). There's a series of tightropes strung between trees, and the goal is to get the entire troop from one end to the other without anyone falling off. It's a teambuilding exercise, and Javi was one of the 3 scouts that figured out the trick and got everyone across.There's horses at camp, too
. While your TriSec has issues with massive quadrupeds of burden, young Javi took to them just fine. This is important too, for some months back we looked over the specialty weeks offered at camp, and Javi decided he might want to go to horse week. There's a pre-requisite, and that's to earn the Horsemanship merit badge. So that was his first pick this year, and now it's on me to do everything in my power to get him to horse week next year.Finally, here's Javi with another scout
. This is his friend from the neighborhood. Javi recruited him, got him to join the troop, convinced him to go to Scout camp, and spent the weeks "showing him the ropes".
It's personally rewarding enough for me to teach other adult leaders how to run their units their days. You all know I was on Woodbadge staff this spring, doing just that. I rarely teach scouts directly these days, mostly by design. (I'm trying not to step on any toes at the troop.) But to see things like this happening with my own child is truly astonishing. Some days I wonder, but seeing a week at camp like that, I am convinced that he 'gets it' and is still headed in the right direction.
As for me, another week at camp means another Mile Swim; I managed to beat last year's time by a few minutes. We also spent the week with the "other" troop in town. (but not at the same campsite.) I have two uniforms; a low-key troop uniform with nothing on it, then my District uniform with every item I have earned or am entitled to wear. I happened to catch an adult from the other troop taking a long look at everything I had on during one assembly.
And so, we all have just a few short weeks to settle down....Scouting will be up and running for another season before we know it.