Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday on the mountaintop

      Monday morning dawned bright and cheery, although the heat began to steadily climb throughout the day. The scouts were up and dressed for the day fairly quickly and we made it to the morning flag ceremony with time to spare. That's impressive for a Monday morning. Breakfast consisted of eggs, grits, biscuits, and gravy. Our KPs easily picked up the methods of table set up and clean up throughout the day but we have begun to think that Skymont's dining hall staff could benefit from an efficiency review. The food is good, however.

Breakfast with a purpose. 

      After breakfast, the scouts headed out to their various merit badge classes and began learning new skills. A large group of our boys are taking either archery, rifle, and shotgun merit badges but have not yet begun to shoot. Today was set aside to cover the safety requirements and instructions for the week. Another large group is taking aquatics merit badges such as lifesaving, canoeing, and kayaking. They were in the water today, which was a welcome relief from the heat. Our newest scouts are part of a program called Polaris. This is the first year program that teaches scout skills and meets various Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class requirements. Paul, Tyson, and Luke will also earn First Aid and Swimming merit badges as part of this program. The other scouts fanned out across the camp for merit badges as diverse as bird study and metalwork.

Rusty and Creighton prepare to take to the water in kayaks.

Paul and Tyson start work with the Polaris program. 

      Just before lunch, the camp commissioner wandered through the campsite for our inspection. Skymont has a daily award called the Cracked Skillet award that is given to the troop with the cleanest campsite. The award is an actual cast iron skillet, which the troop gets to decorate to represent their unit.  Troops that win each day will decorate the skillet. At the end of the week, the painted skillet will be hung on the wall of the dining hall. Although our campsite was quite clean, we were missing a few elements that cost us some points such as a gateway entrance and an axe yard. The commissioner also noted that we could gain points by opening our tent flaps so that she could see how orderly the scouts' personal gear was arranged. We frowned upon hearing this because orderly is not a word that would ever describe our scouts' tents. In fact, we worried she might deduct points from our score if she could see into the tents. Mr. Williams offered her a bribe to bump up our point total but her integrity could not be impeached. After the award was given to another troop at the evening flag ceremony, our youth leadership began planning for how to increase our point totals without doing anything unethical or violating our Scout Oath.

The troop lines up for the evening flag ceremony. 

        After dinner, the scouts have open program time to swim, shoot, or engage in a riotous game of gaga ball. This is a game similar to dodge ball but is played in an enclosed ring. Many scouts throughout the camp have vied for time in the gaga ball pit. It was full most every time I passed it today.

Creighton shows off his skill at gaga ball. 

      Another day awaits on the morrow. Check out the rest of our photos for the day in the online photo gallery