When I camp, I usually wake when the sun rises. However, Monday morning came earlier than I expected and it was William who woke me. The sunrise Monday morning was at 5:11 AM and set at 8:51 PM – giving us an incredible set 15 hours and 40 minutes of day to make count. William is an early riser and has always been. The troop had gone to bed late Sunday night and we had a slow start.
Monday was the first day of a busy week for our scouts. Our first year scouts would be spending time at Eagle Quest, second year and more experienced scouts would be working on merit badges and other activities. Our first order of business was getting to the dining hall to breakfast. We eat in the dining hall with eight people per table with leaders and adults mixing in with scouts. Each scout is assigned a breakfast, lunch, and a dinner shift to work as a hopper – or table worker. They set up the table, get refills of beverages, and clean up after the meal. The dining room calls tables randomly, or so it seems, to get their food from the serving line. When all tables have been called, a call for second helpings is opened on a first come first served basis. No scout goes hungry – there is plenty of food and plenty of time to eat.
After breakfast, scouts hiked to their program areas where they would work until noon. William is working on four merit badges this year at camp: Camping, Personal Fitness, Wilderness Survival, and Swimming. All are required merit badges for Eagle Scout with exception to Wilderness Survival, which is just for achievement or the satisfaction of earning a badge that demonstrates a skill that interests William. A few scouts from the troop are in his class. Scouts break for lunch and eat at 12:30 then, get back to achievements and merit badge work in the afternoon from 2:00 though 3:30. After 3:30, scouts are free to visit other program areas to have fun or practice a skill they are working on in a merit badge class such as shotgun shooting, rifle shooting, or fishing. They can also use this time to visit, swim, or take a canoe or kayak ride with a buddy. Our campsite is the Mohican campsite near the Hannah waterfront, with a great view of the lake. It really is beautiful. The scouts were allowed to bring their bikes to navigate camp and it really helps, a ten-minute walk becomes a three or four minute bike ride and makes the camp smaller. Bikes were available for scouts by mid-morning and came with a license that could be revoked for not following Tesomas’ bike code.
I opened the bank after lunch with a few scouts making withdrawals. However, I had bigger plans for the day – work on the Geezer Merit Badge. Like official scout merit badges, geezers – I mean adults must meet requirements in several areas such as providing service, guiding scouts, attending training sessions for adults, and my favorite – taking a nap or reading a book. One of the areas to earn credit was to attend chapel service with a scout and William and I attended after lunch. The message of his service focused on one aspect of the scout law – that a scout is clean in many ways – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was a nice service in the open-air chapel overlooking the lake. After a short morning rain shower, the sun had come out and it was a beautiful day with temperatures in the upper 60s.
Chapel ended and William and I split up. William took off to the waterfront for his swimming merit badge class and joined a few of his fellow scouts. I ventured to the climbing area and a training class with the other adults. Last year, I earned the Geezer Merit Badge and this year I am working on a segment with the year on it to go with it. It is fun working with the other adult leaders as we look out for our scouts and allow them to learn and grow. Sometimes, mistakes are more valuable than adult advice and we allow them to make them as long as no harm comes to the scout. One of the aims scouting is to develop leadership skills and teach our scouts to lead. Our troop is truly “boy led” and at first, they struggle, then, they thrive. It is amazing to watch William and his scout group as they grow into more mature scouts.
The bank was open before dinner and a few kids made withdrawals. The trading post has t-shirts, patches, and other scout stuff. But, kids really like the slushies, though with the cooler weather I am confident the demand will drop. Dinner went quickly and we sang our song and heard about free time opportunities for Tuesday afternoon. Tesomas is using theme – Survivor: Outwit, Outplay, Outlast this year and Monday night’s activity was for patrols to work together and take on activities and challenges scattered around camp at the main camp, waterfront, personal wellness, and the handicraft field. The adults banded together to form a tribe – we called ourselves the Cheezy Geezers and had our own yell, courtesy of Mr. Williams. It went, A – A – R – P!! The scouts formed their own patrols such as Rocky Ruck –coons and other names I have since forgotten. The activities challenged our minds, bodies, and problem-solving abilities and we had a fun evening. Before we knew it, the sun was setting, and we needed to turn our scorecards in at the flagpole. The Cheezy Geezers scored 13 points of a possible 15 in five events and we will find out how we did on Friday evening at the closing campfire.
We hiked or pedaled back to camp to reflect and unwind from a full day at camp. However, a few stayed behind at the trading post to try a ‘Chuck Norris’ or ‘Row Boat:’ both are innovative creations of slushy mixes. The scouts enjoy the camaraderie at the post, have fun closing it down, and were back at camp shortly after ten. Stephen, the SPL (Senior Patrol Leader) let the scouts know that it was ‘lights out’ at eleven and wakeup was at seven, Tuesday. He reminded them it would be a cool night and recommended covering up in their sleeping bags. A few groups of scouts played cards and before long, the lights were out and camp was silent. The day was behind us and four full days lay ahead. The kids slept well, I did too. Another day counted and more lie in wait.