It was cold Wednesday morning, when we woke up. I lay inside my sleeping bag with just my head out and heard a few scouts and adults stirring around camp. I heard someone say, ‘It was 42 this morning.’ The forecast had called for a low in the forties, but 42 – that’s cold for the last part of June, even up here. I was the last adult up and out of his tent and the last to leave camp for the flag ceremony and breakfast. The scouts are well into the camp routine, even the newest scouts. Breakfast, and then off to classes. All of the adults attended the scoutmaster meeting with the daily briefing and then we hiked back to camp taking a shortcut that wasn’t. It was okay, though, we can use it as a Geezer requirement!
I spent most of my day with administrative stuff – like making sure the scouts were keeping up on their advancements, shepherding a scout here or there, or just watching scouts learn. I visited a couple of program areas to see scouts and take pictures. Kevin and I decided to visit the Grand Council Ring in hopes we would see William and Steven, his son, and their Indian Lore merit badge class helping decorate for the Order of the Arrow ceremony. However, when we arrived, they weren’t there. We decided to surprise them at their next class – Painting. I checked mail and discovered several letters and a couple of boxes of goodies and we distributed them before lunch. It was good to see the scouts open mail and boxes and share with their treats with each other. They are growing up.
After lunch, the troop attended chapel service. A scout is reverent and we attend at least one service as a troop. The service was short, to the point, and the lesson was about Joseph and his brothers. The chaplain spoke about the qualities Joseph had and compared them to the ideals of scouting – service to others, before self. It gave me much to think about the rest of the day.
On the way back from chapel, I stopped by the waterfront and watched six of our scouts paddle canoes and practice exiting a canoe in the middle of the lake AND then climb back in -all while not tipping the canoe over. I was amazed the scouts were successful on their first attempt!
Kevin, Don, John, Charlie, and I had agreed to enter the horseshoe tournament at 2:30. It is one of the many requirements for the Geezer badge and I needed it. It was fun, though I am not a horseshoe thrower and my team was quickly eliminated from competition. One more requirement and one less signature to get.
By later afternoon, it was close to free time and mile swim practice when I met up with William who was already in the water swimming laps. I jumped in and joined him, and he hollered over at me asking if we could visit the zip line after our laps and I agreed. When we finished we dried off and then we were off to the 60-foot tower and the zip line. I remembered my terror from the previous year and vowed to not to scrape my behind when I jumped. William went first and I followed. The jump was better than last year’s and honestly, it was more fun, too. It is nice to see the boy in me come back now and again! William did one more ride and then it was time to leave for camp.
It was close to picture time and we rushed back to camp, to change, and get to main camp for pictures. There was a frenzy as scouts were on the same mission as William and I. While we waited for our picture to be taken, I visited with two visitors to camp, both of whom live close camp and decided to visit. It was nice to meet them and we talked about camp. One took a picture with my camera and when we were done, it was time for evening flag ceremony and dinner.
Wednesday is family visitation day with dinner served at 5:30 and it is the Order of the Arrow ceremony, which begins at eight. The troops eat picnic style and families can visit; many do. Most of the troops at camp are from the area or within a couple hour’s drive; but most closer than we are, though there is a troop from Mokena, Illinois and another from Illinois, though I cannot remember where. It is also picture day and we signed up to have our picture taken at 5:20.
Dinner was a relaxed affair with scouts eating on the grass, picnic tables, standing up, or wherever they could find a spot to sit and enjoy dinner with friends. I sat with John and we talked about the day and the days to come.
The last part of the day was the Order of the Arrow ceremony. The second and third year scouts were excited about the Order of the Arrow ceremony and the possibility of being tapped out or asked to join the Order of the Arrow. It is an amazing ceremony and words cannot describe the ritual. I created the video below with help from Kevin and posted it to YouTube – please take a moment to watch. Three of our scouts were tapped out, or selected, and a fourth was unable to be identified by the selector. I know a few scouts were disappointed they were not elected, but there is always next year.
Darkness came quickly and we walked back to camp under the starlit sky. It is amazing to look and see so many stars. It was a busy and fun filled day. The days seem to get better, but we are down to two more full days and breaking camp Saturday morning and heading home. Tomorrow will be here before I know it – in fact, it already is here as I work to wrap this up and add the final touches to the post. Tomorrow is gonna be a great day! Making the Days Count, one day at a time.