Thursday, June 11, 2015

Remains of the Day

      After a full morning of merit badges and the Eagle Bound program, the afternoon was a full load of activities. The mile swim began just after lunch with Creighton, Rusty, Nicky, Mr. Dagg and the Scoutmaster once again ready to go the full distance. Although the two practice sessions have been cut short by thunder, the weather remained perfect while the swimmers traversed the lake several times. According to the Scoutmaster's watch, the swim time for the mile amounted to 42 minutes of swimming.

The hardy souls of the troop prepare to hit the water.
The mile swimmers follow the boat as it makes a circuit of the lake.
      Louie and Josh took part in the whitewater trip on the Tallapoosa River during the afternoon to qualify for the whitewater merit badge. They had a good time but this section of the Tallapoosa is not known for rapids. They made the best of it and Louie even tipped over his canoe to simulate a true whitewater experience.

      The rest of the troop was supposed to go geocaching as our early afternoon activity but it turned out that none of the GPS receivers could be made to work and the program had to be called off. The boys seemed perfectly happy to return to the campsite and cut up stuff (including some fingers) with their new knives. Nothing serious, however.

      After the mile swim crew returned, it was off to practice for the evening flag ceremony. The troop was signed up to lower the flags before dinner. We thought it best to practice prior to the actual event and this later proved to be a wise choice.

      By 4:00 pm we were headed out to conduct a conservation project for the camp. The project involved clearing the brush around a site used in teaching the archeology merit badge. The camp property used to be a planation during the nineteenth century and the foundations of various buildings are sometimes hiding in the woods. Our job was to move the cut brush away from the site. This involved picking up sticks and hurling them down a small slope. This was right up the boy's alley. Many did their best impression of Zeus hurling thunderbolts as they let fly with their sticks. Given the nature of the project, the adults leaders wondered if perhaps the next troop to do a "conservation" project might be tasked with moving the brush pile back to where we started.

Jason, Creighton, Aiden, Nicky, and Liam pull the cut branches out of the brush pile. 

     We finished the project with just enough time to rush back to the campsite and change into Class A uniform for the flag ceremony. Staff member and troop leader Davis Baird volunteered to call out the commands for the flag ceremony, while Miles, Joey, Clay, Nicky, Creighton, Trey, Zach, Liam, and Carl served as the color guard to lower and fold the three flags. The practice session paid off and the ceremony came off without a hitch. 

The troop members conduct an impressive flag ceremony. 

       This evening was the designated time for the Greater Alabama Council to hold a Scout leader's dinner to thank the volunteers for their commitment this week and to listen to any concerns about the camp.  In the past, the adult leaders have been served steak for this dinner. Tonight, the tables were set with steak knives and steak sauces were placed on the table. However, the meal turned out to be the same shredded pot roast served to the youth in the previous hour. Members of the council professional staff were on hand to hear our concerns but they didn't have an answer for why we were supplied steak knives but no steak. I tend to think of it as a metaphor for professional scouters - promising one thing but doing something else. Thinking that they are hearing our concerns is generally a waste of time anyway, so the steak is the only reason to come in the first place.

      The evening continued with the troop participation in the camp triathlon. Trey, Miles, and Rusty showed the troop's spirit as each of them competed in one leg of the race. Rusty raced in the canoe leg, Miles swam, and Trey ran the overland portion of the race. Although they didn't win, they did make a good showing for the troop.

Trey waits expectantly to start running as Miles heads for shore. 

      To celebrate the accomplishments of the troop, we got out the Dutch oven and cooked some apple cobbler for dessert. This seemed a good way to cap off a day full of accomplishment and hard work. No telling what tomorrow might bring.

      If you were not aware, more photos can be found online by clicking here.