Wednesday, July 3, 2019

CRM - Friday/Saturday: Exodos

     Now that we are back in the land of unlimited bandwidth and other distractions (such as regular jobs), it should have been easy to add a note of finality to our week. Alas, such closure does not flow easily. My apologies for the tardiness.

     Following the storm of free range Thursday and the subsequent rain, Friday dawned bright but muggy. The scouts were ready to take their last loops around the parade field during the running of the flags before breakfast. Several scouts took turns traversing the wet grass for the glory of Troop 50. I'm not sure I understood the motivation, but I am not a teenager, as has been pointed out to me many times. In trying to capture the troop's aura that morning, I asked them to give me an inspiring pose. The result appears below.

The inspiration moment, except for Trey, who refused to be inspired. 

Amazing what you can
do with hot metal.
Following breakfast and the final ice pickup, the boys dispersed back to their merit badge classes. I wandered up the hill above our campsite to investigate the odd noises emanating from that direction. There I found Miles engaged with his Welding merit badge class as he rendered his initials upon a steel plate.   

     Joe wandered down to the waterfront to observe the Lifesaving merit badge class as they attempted to save each other from (simulated) drowning. Benson, Olen, Jake, and Jackson L. worked all week learning various techniques for performing water rescues including reaching out to a drowning victim with an arm or other object, throwing a rope or floatation device, using a boat or other support, or entering the water to swim to the victim. Going to a victim is always the last resort as a drowning victim can often harm the rescuer in a fit of panic. The scouts seemed to be well-trained in these new skills. 

Jackson throws in a flotation device ahead of entering
the water and heading to one of the victims. 

     The TNT teams of scouts were working on the physical fitness requirements for the Tenderfoot rank. Scouts must do a series of push-up and sit-ups in addition to running a mile on their tenderfeet. We will have to repeat these activities in August to see if they have improved their physical ability.

Johnson runs across the green, green grass. 
      Following lunch, the troop headed up to the bathhouse next to the archery range as part of our service commitment. Troops are expected to help keep the camp and its facilities clean. Some of our scouts were more enthusiastic about the idea than others. The bathhouses at camp at concrete block structures with a large bathroom (several sinks, toilets, and showers) at one end for the male youth and individual rooms with their own sink, toilet, and shower along the other end of the building. The individual rooms have signs on their doors that read "Adult and Female." Somewhat surprisingly, there were a number of male adult leaders who took the meaning of the signs literally and inquired where they could find the showers for Adult and Male. This required the camp director (who is a school teacher) to explain that the signs should be read to mean Adult or Female. Where are the grammar police when you need them?

     Taking mops, brushes, brooms, and spray cleaner in gloved hands; the scouts commenced a scrub down that should make any mother proud. Now that your sons know how to clean a bathroom, do not let that knowledge go to waste at home.

Rhett squeegees the floor with a windshield squeegee.
It seems the camp doesn't know what a floor squeegee is.  

Benson and Harrison learn to mop up water. 
     As one would guess from the signs on the door of the bathhouse, there were female scouts in the camp. Some were from new troops started from scratch while others were the sister troops of male units that already existed. These troops had the same number and camped right alongside each other. Overall, I would guess that there were perhaps as many as thirty female scouts in camp during the week and a good number of female staff members as well. As much chatter as there has been over the addition of girls into the BSA, I'm not sure that our boys even noticed. I never heard any of them even mention it during the week.  

     As the day came to a close, the last event was the closing campfire. The staff was at their usual boisterous level as they handed out various awards and recognitions. A number of the troops thanked their staff guides who had looked after their troop during the week and recognized them with thank you gifts such as troop t-shirts. Being our first time at camp, we were not aware that such recognitions occurred. However, since our staff guide hadn't been seen since Tuesday, I'm not sure we would have noted his work in the first place. The final presentation of the evening was by a scoutmaster from one of the larger troops. He had served over sixty years as a youth and adult in scouting, earning his Eagle rank in 1961. That night he was stepping aside as the scoutmaster of the troop at what he said was likely his last week of summer camp. He implored the scouts to continue their quest for their Eagle, telling them how much it meant to him to be an Eagle Scout. He then handed over his hiking staff to the new scoutmaster as the staff and campers rose to give him a standing ovation.

This was the best photo I could manage as we stood to honor him. 

     I will also add a word about the pink t-shirts they were wearing. The troop had different color t-shirts for each day at camp. One of the adult leaders told Christian that this was a mothers' initiative in order to ensure that the boys wore clean shirts every day. It's not a bad idea but I'm not sure about how well the pink color would go over.

     On Saturday morning we rose at our normal time and began to pack up the gear and clean up the campsite. We sent a crew to the dining hall to pick up boxes with our breakfast food. As Everett noted upon their return, in a cruel twist of irony, the camp provided us with Pop Tarts as our meal. As we cleared the gear from the Adirondacks, various clothing and other items believed lost during the week were found lurking in the corners of the shelters. My best guess was that gnomes had carried it off earlier in the week and had just returned it that morning. Please let me know if anyone has a better explanation.

     The ride back to Auburn was uneventful in comparison to the ride up. We stopped for lunch at the Chick-fil-a in Newnan, Georgia. The staff took our presence in stride and turned out our orders with practiced efficiency. I think they could teach the dining hall staff at Rainey Mountain a thing or two. We were back in Auburn just after 2:00 PM and I'm sure that washing machines and showers were churning not long after.

Joe managed to catch a photo of me on the porch
of the administration building as I struggled to craft
a coherent sentence for the blog. 

     I want to thank Christian, Gordon, Ronnie, and Joe for spending their time at camp helping to make this an enjoyable week for the boys. They kept me on an even keel as well. I also want to thank the scouts for their hard work and dedication to the principles of the scout oath and law. I'm proud to be the scoutmaster of "that" troop.

     One final note to the grammarians who think that I misspelled the title of the post. All of the titles this week have been references to Greek and Roman drama (which often seemed appropriate). Exodos means what you think it does, the exit of the players and chorus from the stage. With that, I will leave you only with the link for Friday's photos.