|Will and Jake tending our troop flag|
Friday started out just like the others with an early morning and the troop heading to breakfast at 7:15. We noticed on the way to breakfast that there was trash out of trash cans and a big mess in certain places. Our suspicions that a bear had been in camp making the mess were quickly confirmed by some staff members. Bears had apparently roamed through the main part of camp where programs occur all throughout the night and enjoyed getting whatever they could get their paws on. I guess we're getting used to all of it, because we just shrugged our shoulders and moved on.
Also, on the way to breakfast the troop marched from the campsite to the dining hall to a cadence called by summer camp SPL Jason. It had something to do with overweight, old Scoutmasters... No comment! The cadence was to show scout spirit to others at camp and is part of the Long Rifle Award the troop was working to earn. For breakfast, we enjoyed biscuits, folded eggs, and bacon finally made it's appearance! Scouts also enjoyed the cereal bar as they have every morning.
|Only four buddy tags for the troop this week|
If it hasn't been mentioned before, Lake Allen at camp is frigid (temps of high 50s to mid 60s). We were not able to get our swim tests when we arrived because of the inefficient check-in process and the fact that we ran out of time. So, scouts and leaders had to make a special effort to pass the swim test. At the end of the week, we only had 4 from our troop take and pass the swim test. Congrats to Jason, Harrison, Gideon, and Mr. Chism for doing so. Of course our guys enjoying the high adventure this week had to take the test upon arrival and they all passed as well.
|George chugging root beer for Mountain Man|
After breakfast, scouts participated in their normal activities before morning merit badge classes, such as ga-ga and the trading post and then the headed to their last few hours of class. Some scouts were not in class this morning because they had already fulfilled requirements for their merit badges and enjoyed the free time with a slushie. It hasn't been mentioned in this blog yet that for $7 or $10 you can purchase a cup (different styles) that allows you to have unlimited free slushies for the week. We don't think that camp made money on this deal.
|Gideon and Jake folding flag for Mountain Man|
Once the morning classes were complete, everyone headed to lunch which included an individual sized pizza and chips. The boys were very happy that pizza finally arrived at camp. Bacon and pizza in the same day! It also hasn't been mentioned in the blog that scouts were assigned slots on a duty roster for KP (kitchen patrol). All scouts had several turns at cleaning up the dishes and tables after the meals and today's lunch was no exception.
After lunch there was a bit of free time before the Mountain Man Relay Challenge. This is a competition between troops at the majority of the program areas around camp. The troop was represented by one to five scouts at each station depending upon the station. The competition would last four hours and involve competition at leadership (trivia), Goin' Great (running and flag folding), Handicraft (drawing), Ecology (trivia), Climbing (bouldering), Archery, Shotgun, Scoutcraft (scout skills), STEM (trivia), and Boonesboro (root beer chug & black powder rifle shooting). The troop traveled around camp to all of these competitions to root on the participants. Great teamwork was displayed.
|Jason hits an apple in archery for Mountain Man|
After the Mountain Man Challenge, all the first year scouts attended the Goin' Great graduation where they received their patches and posed for a group picture. We are very proud of these first year scouts for sleeping with the bears and enduring their first year of camp so well. They did amazing and dare we say they did the best of any first year group! After the graduation, the troop headed to dinner in the dining hall for the last time.
For dinner we enjoyed grilled chicken, potato casserole, mixed veggies (carrots, peas, green beans), and a type of cherry cobbler. After dinner, we attended the final flag ceremony and then headed back to camp to start packing. Since we will have an early start on Saturday to come home, we needed to pack as much as possible tonight. At about 8:15 we headed from our campsite towards the amphitheater for the closing campfire. Then we heard a bunch of gunfire!
|Goin' Great graduation picture|
We were stopped on our way and told that there were bears in the ampitheater where we were heading! They were shooting guns in order to scare the bears away from the area and away from camp. For our own safety, we had to stay put until they were able to clear the bears out of that section of camp. Once it was deemed safe, our troop (along with dozens of others) were able to travel together to the parade field where a headcount was done to ensure everyone was present. Fortunately, everyone was present and there were no incidents.
|Scouts watching closing campfire on parade grounds|
So, instead of the closing campfire, the staff put on a make-shift campfire program on the parade grounds. We enjoyed some skits by various troops and saw some awards presented. We never heard the winner of the Mountain Man Challenge, but we're looking into it. We did win the Long Rifle Award as an honor troop at camp. After the program, we headed back to camp for showers and bed. The camp staff asked us to be as quiet as possible so that the dogs they have in camp to run the bears away wouldn't be distracted by our noise. We all settled in and had a good night sleep with no incident, but everyone's awareness was heightened and several were a bit nervous.
The weather today at camp was a bit warmer and we hadn't seen rain or overcast for several days. It was very comfortable in the shade, but a bit hot in the sun. For more photos and videos from Friday, check out our online album