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2012 Scout vs Wild (January)

01/16/2012 from Mr. Strickler

This weekend's camp out was about teaching scouts survival skills; about getting by with less. Even the scoutmasters had a survival test when it was discovered that there was no coffee in the coffee box. I am proud to report that no scouts or scout masters panicked in the face of these seemingly insurmountable challenges.

In all seriousness, I am pleased to report that your scouts were absolutely fabulous. "Be prepared!" is our mantra. However, being prepared does not always mean packing the right sleeping bag, or remembering to bring a mess kit. Precious few details were released regarding this camp out in hopes that each aspect might be a fresh challenge, and that scouts might be mentally prepared to overcome them.

Our camp out was meant to simulate a an accident that strands a small group of scouts in a deep wilderness survival situation. Scouts were divided into groups of about 4 younger scouts with 2 older scouts. Imagine a game of pretend played out over nearly 2 miles of open, and varying wildness. Armed with only their wits, a map & compass, and a water bottle, their job was to make it from the point of the accident to the safety zone. All along the way were secret cache's that held resources meant to help them survive.

Watching the groups work through these varying challenges was a treat. You get to see what 1,2,3, or even 5 years of scouting can do for a young man. It is a bit like mixing together all of the best ingredients you can think of in a recipe and seeing what turns out. No matter how it ends you know it will be good!

Following the hunting and gathering, it was shelter building time. As you can imagine there were some wide variation on the treatment of this subject. We saw everything from rolling up in a tarp (which was not allowed) to an immaculate, corn husk-insulated long house by Mr. Grabham and his scout. Regardless of construction, Alec and his team of senior scouts had to inspect and approve the shelters before scouts could advance to the next challenge - Zombie-land!

That's right. Zombies had invaded the swampy woods of Conservation Park, and were wreaking havoc on the locals. It was up to our scouts to sharpen their spears and stalk through the woods to take on this formidable enemy. These zombies looked a lot like giant styrofoam blocks, but your brave scouts slayed them without mercy or remorse.

It must also be mentioned that primitive fire making was explored using the ancient bow drill method. We had plenty of kits to go around thanks to Mr. Holder. I personally worked with 2 different scouts and we WERE able to generate a coal (working together). Unfortunately, I do not think anyone will be cashing in Mr.Fields challenge that he would buy lunch to the determined fire starter who succeeded without help to make fire in this ancient manner.

Dinner was all comfort food. Grill cheese with tomatoe soup (for dipping) + delicious chicken and rice soup, and oranges. Several scouts were overheard saying they had just had the best cracker barrel ever, hot /molten chocolate chip cookies! If you hear scout say they had cookies for breakfast, it is because we had a few left over.

Polar bear status is still up in the air, as the last official reading was 23 degrees at 9:30pm. Lights out came early as we burned through the last of our fire wood. Last call for hot cocoa brought up recent memories of iPhone riots in China, but it remained non-violent, and there was plenty to go around. It had to be one of the most quite nights of sleep in the history of this troop. In fact, if not for the angry beaver slapping his tail up and down the river behind our positions, I don't think I heard a stir.

Everyone awoke with smiles, and red cheeks. I heard one scout marveling at the great night of sleep he just enjoyed, "I haven't been to bed by 9:30 in like 3 years!" he remarked.

We had one minor saw meets finger injury which required the scout to abort his mission, but nothing was cut off that won't grow back.

Please forgive me if I omit you from my thank yous, it has been a long few days. Firstly, Mr.McNeil, and Debbie and Brian for sharing him. Mr.McNeil and Brian do so much for our troop, and so much of it is behind the scenes that I worry we don't thank them enough. I know he must have drove 500 miles getting this camp squared away. Because of Mr.McNeil's relationship with Conservation Park, we were able to have this event. The camp site is one of the most unique and beautiful at which we will ever camp, and is open to a VERY select few. Mr. Gould and Tyler, again -- you guys ARE the infrastructure of this troop. Thanks to Mr.Downing and Mr. Kalata for keeping the hikers on the right paths - and finding them when they weren't --Mr.Downing. Thanks to Mr.Mulloy, Grabham, and Harold. You made this "little" camp out possible. In all of the planning it was thought there would be 12-18 scouts. We ended up with 30 signed up! Big thanks to Mr. Smith, fresh in from micronesia, or indonesia, or some nesia tha is 12 hours ahead of our time. Just imagine he had to travel backwards in time to be with us. Finally, Mr.Holder. Mr.Holder powered through being sick on top of being sick, to put in at least 20 hours in constructing a lasting troop resource. The bow drill kits! Thanks to senior scouts Zach, Eric, Mitchelle, Patrick, Ethan, Tyler, and Brian, for you outstanding leadership and so-so map reading skills. Finally, SPL Alec. Despite the largeness of the group, he managed to keep us together and on task.

Positive feed back abounded from scouts and adults alike, -- even those who do not camp as often with us -- in all I would gage Scout versus Wild 2012 a big success.