Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tuesday's Tempest

      My apologies for Tuesday's post being submitted on Wednesday. However, it was a long day yesterday. Although the day dawned clear and bright, after lunch the proverbial bad cloud came up and dumped an ark load of rain on the camp. Wind, rain, and thunder gave us a few minutes of concern. Animals began to file past my tent two by two and I started to think this portended something bad. Fortunately, the rain passed fairly quickly and the boys were soon back to their camp programs. There was only minor leakage from the tents and all gear survived without getting overly wet. One of the patrol dining flies collapsed but this was due to the incorrect placement of the drip lines that allowed the water to pool on top of the fly. The boys quickly had it back up once the storm passed. 

The rain created several small ponds throughout the campsite.

The boys work to reset the dining fly after the tempest.

      The feedback we received Monday from the commissioner about our campsite inspection caused us to re-double our efforts towards winning the cracked skillet award. The boys set up an axe yard, Creighton posted the troop roster on our bulletin board, and the boys all agreed to organize their tents with their tent flaps rolled up. The result was well done and accomplished fairly quickly before breakfast. However, once the storm came after lunch, the tent flaps were unrolled to protect the scout's gear. Clothing was pulled from the clothesline and piled under a dining fly. The flags were stored in the troop trailer to keep them dry. As the rain began to let up, who should suddenly appear in the campsite but the commissioner, ready to inspect our campsite. Fortunately, she took the rain into account and gave us credit for tents that were no longer so organized. We still lost points due to our lack of a gateway but otherwise had a perfect score. Given that some of the other troops came prepared with pre-lashed gateway's ready to put up, we seem at a slight disadvantage for earning enough points to earn the cracked skillet awards. We will keep trying, however. 

The tents with the flaps rolled up and the personal gear neatly organized (prior to the storm).

      As the afternoon continued, one small contingent headed to the waterfront for mile swim practice. Due to afternoon merit badge classes conflicting with the practice time, only Louie and two leaders were available at that time. The three of us made up half of the participants for the entire camp. The six of us swam laps for about twenty minutes in preparation for swimming the full mile on Friday. Since there were four other boys from the troop who were interested in doing the mile swim, I made arrangements for them to practice during open swim at 7:00 PM. However, all four decided at the last minute not to practice and forfeited their ability to swim the mile on Friday. 

The scoutmaster participates in an international flag ceremony. 

      Skymont has an international scout on the staff this summer. His name is Rodrigo Kienen and he is from Brazil. We have had a good time talking with him and learning about Scouting in Brazil. He conducts a Brazilian flag ceremony each day following the camp-wide ceremony on the parade field. Several scouts and leaders from our troop have participated each day. The ceremony is done without verbal commands. All instructions are given using hand signals. After the flag is raised or lowered, we end the ceremony by saluting and shouting "Sempre Alerta," which is Portuguese for "Always Alert." This is the Brazilian version of the American motto, Be Prepared. Due to the tragic events in Orlando, the American flag is being flown at half mast. Rodrigo's flag is also being flown at half mast. 

      Tuesday evening at Skymont is the time for the scoutmasters' dinner. Mr. Williams and Mr. Lytle accompanied the scoutmaster to the dinner. The Cherokee Council scout executive attended to talk about the camp and listen to scout leader concerns. At the daily scout leaders' meeting (held at 9:15 each morning) the leaders had complained mightily about the small portions served at the meals. Breakfast had consisted of two french toast sticks, one sausage link, and oatmeal for each person. Second helpings are slow to materialize and are always half of the original amount. Lunch was one ham sandwich with chips. This contrasted greatly with the scoutmasters' dinner, which consisted of steak, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, salad, and cobbler. After dinner, the camp director addressed the food issue by promising that the dining hall supervisor would attend the leader's meeting on Wednesday to address these concerns. Several other issues and suggestions were made, which the scout executive wrote down. Based on past experience, we have little expectation that any of these will be acted upon. For example, it was noted that there are no lights in the shower buildings, which makes it difficult to shower after dark. The scout executive's response was that they had looked at putting in lights but that it was determined that some people do not like lights in the showers. That this answer did not make sense did not seem to occur to him. The steaks were good, however, so at least we got something worthwhile out of it. 

      The last event of the evening was the open shoot for leaders at the shooting sports range. They had a watermelon set up as a target on the archery range, which was to be won by whoever was able to pierce it with an arrow. Unfortunately, our assistant scoutmaster, who is an archery instructor, was tied up (not literally) overseeing the boys in the campsite. Without his assistance, we did not win the watermelon and went to bed hungry. 

     Our new day has started well with more food for breakfast and a leader's golf tournament in progress. More information about that is coming later. Photos from Tuesday are found in the Online Photo Gallery