Saturday, June 17, 2017

TGIF (Summer Camp Day 6)

Michael, Jason, Beck, Paul, Tyson, and Joe at flag ceremony
Friday morning started off nicely with cool temperatures and lower humidity.  We actually felt the most breeze of the week as well.  The troop was in charge of the flag raising ceremony today and the troop awoke a little earlier to practice and get there in time in Class A uniform.  The color guard led by SPL Jacob did a magnificent job and represented the troop well.  Unfortunately, the American flag we were given to raise had no grommets!  Paul, Beck, and Jacob handled this situation well and just raised the other flags and reverently held the American flag.

Beck and Michael in a "carry" relay
After the ceremony, we went to breakfast and had mixed results.  One table was somewhat pleased with breakfast while the other table was pretty unimpressed.  We were served Eggo pancakes with syrup flavoring and scrambled (folded) eggs.  After breakfast, scouts headed to their final merit badge classes before a busy afternoon at the waterfront.  The Eagle Bound folks (first year scouts) participated in some relay races to reinforce skills.

We all met for lunch after merit badge classes and were treated to hamburgers, chips, and mini moon pies.  It was surprising how many didn't know what a moon pie was!  After lunch there were a few merit badge items that needed to be tended to and then everyone headed down to the waterfront for the water carnival!
Luke, Joe, Trey, Boone, and Hunter before race

The water carnival is a troop competition with seven different events. The events include Water Spaniel Special, Swim by Weight, In and Out Canoe Race, Life Jacket Relay, Fun Noodle Race, Canoe Tug of War, and Scoutmaster Belly-Flop.  Our Water Spaniel Special contained a relay team of Luke, Joe, Trey, Boone, and Hunter.  The scouts had to paddle with their hands and find a specific buoy and bring it back.  The majority of the scouts swam in the Swim by Weight competition and Beck and Joe placed in their divisions!

Canoe Tug of War competition.
The In and Out Canoe Race was led by Hunter and Boone.  This proved a difficult event because of how hard it is to get into a canoe from the lake.  The Life Jacket Relay was led by Michael, Joe, Trey, and Beck.  This is a relay where you swim with the life jacket.  The Fun Noodle Race was won by Tyson!  Mr. Lytle kindly agreed to compete in the Scoutmaster Belly-Flop contest and finished with a very respectable 7 of 10.  There were a few "boos" after he chanted loudly "War Eagle!", but they're just jealous.  The carnival ended with a tough fought Canoe Tug of War battle with Troop 98 of Columbus.  Our contingent of Jacob, Jason, Joey, Joe, and Luke battled hard, but eventually swamped their canoe.

Andrew Stanford before the Iron Man competition
After the water carnival, we had to rush back for the flag ceremony and dinner.   We were treated to pasta, green beans, peaches, and chocolate chip cookies.  After dinner a few headed down to the waterfront again for the triathlon.  This event was rescheduled from the storm the day before.  Assistant Scoutmaster Andrew Stanford participated as an Iron Man and the troop also had a team of Michael, Joey, and Luke competing.

The triathlon consisted in a quarter mile swim, a 2 mile run, and a half mile canoe paddle.  Andrew competed in all events on his own while Michael took the swimming portion, Joey took the running portion, and Luke took the canoeing portion.  Michael really struggled with swimming a quarter mile, but he finished!  His determination is quite impressive.  Joey and Luke picked up the team well by finishing strong on the running and canoeing portion.  All who participated should be proud.
Luke, Joey, and Michael strategize before triathlon

After the triathlon it was time for the closing campfire.  The troop performed the original skit "Most Interesting Scout" written by Assistant Scoutmaster Davis Baird.  They did a fine job and the camp seemed to like it a lot.  There were many other skits and songs and awards given out.  The troop did earn the Commissioner's Spirit Award for demonstrating good scout spirit all week at camp.  This was a well deserved award for the troop that worked hard all week.
Scouts dancing at closing campfire

Everyone went to sleep for one more night at camp.  Several were overheard mentioning how nice it will be to sleep in their own beds! For more pictures from Camp Sequoyah Day 6, check out our troop photo album.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Ice cream delivery day (Summer Camp Day 5)

Aiden, Mr. Lytle, Mr. Stanford, and Michael enjoying ice cream
After a good night sleep from our camp visitors, the troop awoke at the same time to go through the same schedule.  There was much anticipation today because the ice cream delivery was expected today.  You see, the trading post has been without ice cream all week and it has been quite the topic of conversation.  Around 11:00 the Mayfield truck arrived and everyone took notice.  Thankfully, scouts and leaders seeking ice cream got fulfilled on Thursday.

Beck and Michael lashing as Aiden assists
For breakfast we enjoyed scrambled (folded) eggs, bacon, biscuits, and gravy.  It was then off to yet another day of merit badges.  Those taking personal fitness were performing push ups and pull ups.  Those taking handicraft badges were finishing up some of their projects.  All of the folks in shooting sports badges have reached qualification on the shooting portion of their badges.  Those taking environmental science have been observing and taking notes for their homework assignment.  There is a lot of work being put into these merit badges by the troop.

Monty Python has been a theme for the week.  Before meals there is a roll call.  As troop numbers are called, they are to respond with something creative.  The more creative, the better and this is determined by the applause (or lack thereof) of the rest of camp.  The troop started using some Monty Python quotes, songs, and skits for this roll call and other troops have followed suit.
Paul blowing his signal horn

Another theme for the first part of the week has been the signal horn played by Paul.  There have been several sounds coming from troops including a conch shell and Paul's signal horn is the sound of our troop.  It was prevalent at the beginning of the week, but it and other signal sounds diminished as more interesting things have been found to do.

After merit badge classes ended for the morning, it was time to gather for lunch.  For lunch we enjoyed chicken sandwiches, pears, and electrolyte pops.  Then most everyone headed out for free time.  Jason and Joey left to go on a kayaking trip for their merit badge.  Several headed to the trading post for ice cream!  Others hit the ga-ga pit or went to work on homework for classes.  Later in the afternoon, we had another round of troop shooting at the archery, rifle, and shotgun ranges.  A few scouts made it to the waterfront to enjoy swimming and the water slide. And then it happened.

A competetive game in the ga-ga pit
Between 3:30 and 4:00, a severe thunderstorm quickly approached camp.  All the afternoon activities were halted and scouts were sent back to camp.  We secured items in camp from blowing away or getting soaked and we headed to the dining hall for safety.  Outside of a bunch of wind and a bunch of water, there were no issues.  A few are not comfortable with severe weather, but we all stuck together and made it through.  Once the storm passed, we remained in the dining hall for dinner.  We had planned on singing a song before dinner at the flagpole, but this didn't occur due to the storm.  Jason and Joey arrived back at camp later safe and sound.  For dinner we enjoyed pot roast, rice, and some type of "whipped" carrots that tasted more like sweet potatoes (very good).  For desert we enjoyed some apple cobbler.

Desert from leader's dinner
There was scheduled to be several activities during the evening that had to be cancelled.  One of those was the triathlon in which we were to field a team to run, swim, and canoe.  Tentatively this will be rescheduled to Friday.  After the troop got settled back in camp, Mr. Stanford (the elder) and Mr. Lytle headed to the dining hall for the leader's dinner while Mr. Stanford (the younger) remained back at camp with the scouts.  The leader's dinner is a time to fellowship and enjoy a meal and it is also a time to share good and bad experiences at camp.  There is a lot of room for improvement and the camp staff is committed to resolving those problems.  Fortunately, the boys have had an amazing week regardless.

Before retiring for the evening, scouts practiced a flag raising ceremony for the next morning and a skit for the closing campfire.  It was a long day the ended very wet and cool.  Everyone was able to get to sleep quickly as we start thinking about how nice it will be to sleep in our own beds.

For more pictures from Camp Sequoyah Day 5, check out our troop photo album.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

We're half way there (Summer Camp Day 4)

Jason, Luke, and Hunter after a merit badge class
There was great anticipation this morning as the scouts awaited visits from their parents (and the food that comes with them).  Each day starts the same with a 5:45 wake up call from SPL Jacob and a preparation for the day ahead.  After the flag raising ceremony, we enjoyed chicken biscuits and scrambled (folded) eggs.  Some scouts treated themselves to a variety of cereal as well.  It was then time to head out for our daily merit badge classes.

Several scouts are starting to knock out some of the more complicated parts of their merit badges now, such as qualifying for shooting sports badges.  The scouts seem intent on getting their merit badges completed at camp and we hope that intent turns into reality.  The weather today was very nice and not too hot for June in Alabama.  The biggest change we would like is more of a breeze.

Aiden leading camp in prayer before lunch
Before lunch our outgoing Chaplain's Aide, Aiden said a prayer for the camp thanking God for all of our blessings, including our meal.  He did a great job representing the troop.  We then went inside and enjoyed "pizza sticks".  There were two types of them - a mozzarella filled bread stick and a pepperoni filled one that was similar to a hot pocket.  We had some marinara sauce for dipping as well.

Jason shooting rifle in troop competition

After lunch, there was some free time and several folks took that time to practice shooting before the annual troop competition.  The troop shooting competition consists of two representatives from each troop for archery, rifle shooting, and shotgun shooting.  Jacob and Trey represented the troop in archery.  Jason and Luke represented the troop in rifle shooting.  Miles and Boone represented the troop shooting skeet with shotguns.  Most scouts didn't perform as well as they'd liked, but they did represent the troop well.  The results of the competition will be revealed at the closing campfire on Friday night.

Hunter displaying his lopping skills
While the boys were preparing for the shooting competition, the rest of the troop worked on a service project to help clear back brush along the waterfront trail.  We worked with another troop using loppers and swing blades for about an hour to make the trail easier to walk on for others who will use the camp later this summer.

Paul's family visiting camp
Several families arrived just before the flag lowering ceremony bearing gifts of both healthy and yummy food!  Lots of drinks were also brought to help us get through the rest of the week.  They were escorted to our campsite and we ate as one big happy family.  We enjoyed fruit, pizza, drinks, and cookies.  Boys took their families and showed them around camp during our free time before the campfire.

Order for the Arrow campfire

The campfire for the evening was for the purpose of calling out candidates elected into the Order of the Arrow (OA) for their troop.  The troop elected OA candidates at our recent Court of Honor and  three of those scouts were called out at the ceremony.  There are other scouts who were elected that are not present at summer camp.  They will find out soon.  Candidates present at summer camp were Joe, Paul, and Trey.  Congratulations to them!

Trey, Joe, and Paul - newest OA candidates
Once the campfire ended, families that remain made their way home and we headed back to camp to enjoy some more chess, card games, and fellowship before heading to bed around 10:30.  Another busy day is in the books.  We all slept well through the night and the weather was uneventful.

For more pictures from Camp Sequoyah Day 4, check out our troop photo album.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Home on the range (Summer Camp Day 3)

Mr. Lytle, Beck, and Michael before class
Tuesday started well as the troop awoke at 5:45 to tackle the day.  It was a cool night and pleasant morning at 67 degrees.  The routine from the day before is being practiced again and the scouts are starting to get the hang of it.  After the morning flag ceremony, we enjoyed french toast sticks and scrambled (folded) eggs for breakfast.  Then everyone headed to their perspective merit badge classes at the Ecology Lodge, Waterfront, Humanities Hut, and other areas around camp.  The adult leaders are very pleased that the scouts are so diligent with their class attendance and studies.

Buddy tag board at waterfront
The Eagle Bound scouts took to the water for the first time since their swim test as they worked on the Swimming merit badge.  The cool morning made the morning swim quite brisk but the boys handled it easily.  Each time you enter the Waterfront you must have a buddy and you must place your buddy tag on the board.  This way the lifeguards can always account for who is in the area at any time.  So far our buddy tags have really only been used for advancement, but I'm sure we'll be getting in the water more before week's end.

As merit badge classes finished up for the morning we met on the parade grounds for lunch.  Lunch consisted of barbecue pork sandwiches and oatmeal creme pies.  While scouts enjoyed the lunch, they left a little hungry and were looking immediately for some snacks.  Fortunately, the troop has an ample amount of snack food back at camp and we were able to keep the scouts nourished throughout the afternoon.  The trading post has not been a viable option for snacks.  They have only a few candy bars, very salty popcorn, yoo-hoos, and some fountain drinks.  We are still waiting to see the availability of slushies, ice cream, and a better variety of snack food.

Miles handling the shotgun well
During the afternoon, several scouts earned the Geology merit badge after a brief class at the Ecology Lodge.  Most scouts also took advantage of the shooting sports range where the troop had the ability to shoot at the archery, rifle, and shotgun ranges.  Several scouts made themselves at home at the range and did extremely well shooting targets and clay pigeons.  Scouts tried shooting for the first time in some cases.  The scouts collaborated on which boys should represent the troop at the shooting competition for Wednesday afternoon.  Each troop has two shooters each for archery, rifle, and shotgun.  Today's free shooting helped to prepare the scouts for this competition.

Andrew Stanford running the 5K with Joe rooting him on
After our outing to the shooting sports range, we headed for the flag ceremony before dinner.  We were treated to country fried steak without gravy, miniature potatoes, and carrots.  For dessert we enjoyed chocolate cake!  Immediately after dinner, ASM Andrew Stanford prepared to run the Camp Sequoyah 5K and SPL Jacob and a few other scouts prepared for the Staff vs. Campers Ultimate Frisbee Game.  Mr. Stanford finished the 5K in 29 minutes and the campers lost a close, hard fought battle to the staff.  After the game, several scouts joined other campers in a friendly, but competitive game of ga-ga.

Scouts in the ga-ga pit
Joe in the epic chess match at the trading post
After all of this physical activity, a highly competitive and intellectual game of chess ensued between Joe and a staff member in the trading post.  After over an hour, Joe prevailed in what has been described as an epic chess match.  Scouts from multiple troops were rooting on Joe to victory.  Once back at camp, the chess games continued at one table while a game of poker ensued on the other. 

We all settled in for the night around 10:00 and it was a quiet and uneventful night.  Weather for today was quite hot during the afternoon in the sun, but quite pleasant in the shade and in the evening.  There was no rain at all and we were thankful for that.

For more pictures from Camp Sequoyah Day 3, check out our troop photo album.