Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ranging far and wide

      Today was the first in which there was a threat of rain. Fortunately, the storms avoided the camp until the evening, allowing the troop to complete a wide range of fun activities. As always, the morning was taken up with merit badge classes and Eagle Bound skill sessions. The Scouts have been progressing well in their classes and seem to be enjoying themselves.

Everett, Rusty, and Creighton work on the Emergency Preparedness merit badge. 
      The afternoon activities began with a practice session for the mile swim. In order to qualify for the mile swim on Thursday, Scouts must complete a quarter mile practice on Tuesday and a half mile on Wednesday. Creighton, Rusty, and Nicky completed the initial qualification today, accompanied by the Scoutmaster and Mr. Dagg.

      At 2:00, the troop headed to the shooting sports range to try our hand at archery, rifle, and skeet. Under the supervision of the archery director, Davis Baird, several scout and leaders perforated the targets with arrows. Over on the rifle range, most of the Scouts took aim with .22 caliber rifles to great effect.

Davis oversees Creighton as he aims at a distant target. 

Joey seems quite content with his rifle skills. 

      Over on the skeet range, some of the Scouts were willing to try knocking down moving targets with either 12 or 20 gauge shotguns. Although more of the clay pigeons survived their flight than not, most everyone was able to bring down at least one. It was a great effort by several Scouts who had never even held a shotgun before, much less fired one. The most noteworthy shooter was the senior patrol leader, Louie, who once again humbled the Scoutmaster by scoring a perfect ten out of ten hits. Our time on the shooting sports range was enjoyed by most. Some would even say it was a "blast."

Liam prepares to knock down some clays. 

      Following our time on the range, Mr. Williams led a contingent to the handicraft lodge to work on the Leatherwork merit badge. Everyone returned with an artfully rendered masterpiece in leather (at least that's the way we saw it) and a completed merit badge to add to their growing list of accomplishments.

      The after-dinner activities were scheduled to include a 5K run, a five-mile hike for the Eagle Bound Scouts, a chapel service, and a night canoe trip. Unfortunately, the storms that had plagued East Alabama most of the day finally found their way to camp. The Eagle Bound hikers returned soaking wet, the canoe trip was cancelled, and the chapel service moved indoors to the handicraft lodge. In our campsite, the heavy rain collapsed one tent and several others were discovered to have leaks along the seams. Hot showers and dry clothes solved some of the problems and a re-sorting of tents and equipment helped alleviate the other issues. Everyone is now bedded down for the night and the promise of another great day awaits the dawn.

      Photos and a few videos of the day's activities are available in the online photo gallery.