Friday, June 15, 2018

Polar bears & pickle juice (CDB Day 5)

Scouts before the plunge
Thursday started a little earlier and more abrupt for some.  Eight of our scouts (Jason, Connor, Gideon, Jake, Harrison, George, Benson, and Tyson) accompanied by Mr. Chism rose early and headed to the lake for the Polar Bear Plunge.  As if Lake Allen wasn't cold enough, these brave souls competed to get a greased watermelon in the frigid lake at 6:30 this morning!  Why do this you ask?  Bragging rights and a cool patch, of course.  Congratulations to these scouts for "manning up" and earning that patch!

Josh, our program director
The polar bear scouts joined the rest of us for dinner where we enjoyed french toast sticks, folded eggs, sausage patties, and the cereal bar.  After breakfast, we attended the flag raising ceremony, led by our program director, Josh.  Josh always leads us in a song.  This morning's song was the "Alligator" song and was new to most of us.

After the flag ceremony, everyone headed off to class in the same routine that we've had all week.  The scouts have been working on their homework and many have already completed merit badges.  There have been mixed reviews about the classes.  Some say they are boring while others say they are having a blast.  Most scouts all agree that the staff is very friendly and they've enjoyed getting to know them.

We all joined back for lunch and enjoyed hamburgers, hot dogs, and chips.  After lunch and a bit of free time everyone headed to their afternoon merit badge classes and Goin' Great for the last time.  On Friday afternoon, there is a camp wide competition called the Mountain Man Challenge and we'll be competing in that.

Miles, Harrison, and Samuel cleaning creek
After the classes ended for the afternoon, the scout leadership planned out the rest of the week so that the troop would be able to earn the Long Rifle Award, which is the honor troop award at camp.  Mr. Edwards arranged for a service project that involved clearing out a creek at a nearby campsite to ensure that it wouldn't backup and flood during rain.  Several scouts led by Luke worked to get this accomplished while there were two other groups working on different tasks.

While several scouts were working on the service project for camp, another small group of scouts led by Liam were working the orienteering course in order to fill in the blanks for the challenge.  Orienteering involves using a compass to find a location based on coordinates and distance.  The scouts believe that they did in fact find the proper locations to fill in the blanks for the right answer based on the clues (coordinates and distance).

Will scaling the wall again at a fast pace
At the same time the scouts were working on the service project and orienteering course, another group led by Jason was cooking the meal for the troop.  The meal was provided by the kitchen at the dining hall and was jambalaya-ish.  It was a bunch of spanish rice with some smoked sausage.  Several of our first year scouts helped with the cooking and there should be some great new patrol cooks in the near future.  The jambalaya-ish was accompanied by salad and a roll.  Most agreed that the meal was better than expected and everyone ate well.

After dinner, the scouts in the Order of the Arrow (OA) including our newest candidate Jason attended an OA ice cream social with other arrowmen at camp.  This was a nice opportunity to visit with scouts from other councils and states and enjoy some ice cream.  Meanwhile, back at camp the rest of the scouts were enjoying some s'mores by the campfire along with the troop sharing our campsite.  It was a glorious evening.

Nick chugging pickle juice at tavern
A small group of scouts headed up to Boonesboro with the scouts from the high adventure contingent.  Tonight, the tavern was open where you could enjoy some beer, wine, and ale.  Actually, it is root beer, Cheerwine, and ginger ale.  Aside from the fact that the beverages are non-alcoholic, it seemed like a tavern in every other way.  There was live music and carousing and the scouts loved it.  Nick even chugged a jar of pickle juice on top of the table to the chants of "chug! chug! chug!".

After heading back down the hill from Boonesboro, we discovered that a bear was just spotted there and that it was headed towards the staff housing area.  Bears continue to be present in camp, which is disconcerting for the camp staff an leaders.  However, other than a sighting thankfully there have been no other issues.  Today the sun was out all day and it got a little warm in the sun.  It was still very pleasant in the shade and we continue to enjoy our time in the outdoors.

For more pictures and videos, check out our online album.