Troop 216 Summer Camp 2007
June 23 - 30, 2007
-- The Summary --

Allow me to start the way I plan to finish.  Brian D. and I say this was the best summer camp we have ever attended…

SUNDAY

We met at Apex Crossing as planned at 8:30 AM and departed for Camp Raven Knob at 9 AM.  The drive went faster than normal and most of the cars had stopped in Mount Airy for lunch at about 11:30 AM. Everyone arrived in camp by 12:30 PM as planned and as I promised I was the first Scoutmaster through the door to register the Troop into camp.  The camp director was nervous about all the cars that were there early so we sent our Troop down to the Health Lodge to wait for me to get us checked-in and start the medical check-in.  Justine Fausak, our Medical and Training Chair took our medical forms in, along with the Scouts’ medication and started the medical check-in.  She came out several times with questions and looking a Scout’s medication.  Then, the miracle happened.  Justine came out and said we were checked-in and cleared to go to our camp site.  Normally, all the Scouts have to go through a meeting with the camp medical staff – a process that can take up to 3 hours.  This time we didn’t have to do that.  We were on the way to our camp site by 1:45 PM – just 45 minutes after we started the process.  Yea!

When we arrived at our camp sites, Ponka and Lakota, the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) Brain D. and the acting Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL) Chris H. started assigning the Scouts to their tents that would be home for the week.  Cars were unloaded and Scouts moved their “stuff” into the tents.  No unpacking yet though, because we had to change into swim suits and get down to the lake for the swim test.  This is required for all Scouts and leaders who will swim or boat during the week.  The Leaders David Timmerman and Tom Blum had the duty to take the Scouts down to the lake.  Unfortunately, the thunder and lightning kicked up and swim tests were canceled before our Scouts could get through the test.  Tests were completed on Monday.

The new Scouts kept asking questions about when we would start cooking dinner and “what’s for dinner.” They were surprised to hear we were eating in the “Mess Hall.”  It was to be a new experience for them. It was still raining lightly when we set off on the hike to dinner.  We walked down the ridge road and then down a steep path past the archery and rifle ranges, then up a slight hill past the Program Center and on up a steep hill to the top where the Mess Hall was located.  It’s about a half mile hike, but the equivalent of climbing a 10 story building going and coming.  Good exercise!  My legs felt like mush.

The rain continued, so the Sunday night Camp Raven Knob campfire was moved from the outdoor OA (Order of the Arrow) Arena to the indoor Mess Hall.  It was not a very interesting “campfire” – most of the Scouts were a little bored with the skits and stories.  But, it was something to do for our first evening.  Back in camp after the campfire the Scouts played games – chess, Magic (card game), Texas Hold’em (poker).  Some Scouts were reading books and some even left camp to go down to the Trading Post.  The Trading Post is the social center of the camp.  It’s where we can buy soft drinks, coffee, popcorn, candy, and much more.  There is also a general store where we can buy camp shirts, supplies, merit badge books, camp pins, and all manner of equipment.  There are tables and chairs to sit and talk and a large outdoor porch with seats for those who like to sit outside.

The SPL and ASPL did the evening role call/headcount, everyone was present and accounted for and we were all down for bed by 10:30 PM.

MONDAY

Wake-up was 6:30 AM and the Scouts were slow to move on their first full day of camp programs.  First our hike to the Mess Hall and formation for the raising of the flags, a short grace and then inside for breakfast of eggs, grits, biscuit, bacon, cold cereals, milk, and orange juice (and yes – lots of hot coffee for the adult leaders).

After breakfast I was off to the daily Scoutmaster’s meeting and the SPL was off to the daily SPL meeting.  These are both meetings where program changes, activities, competitions, and other information is exchanged.  We were kept well informed.

After returning to camp each day after breakfast we have an hour of camp clean-up time.  We had a duty roster for the Scouts that changed each day.  Clean the latrine, bag the trash and take it down to the road for pick-up, police the camp, sweep the shelter, make the “bug juice” (5 gallon cooler of Gatorade we kept in camp for thirsty campers), etc.  9:50 AM it was time for the Scouts to head off to the first class of the day.  The Troop Guides escorted the Raven Scouts to their area.

After all the hoops the camp put us through on the distribution of medication and baggies with notes and single doses.  They failed to deliver the medication to the Mess Hass as promised.  Medication has long been the responsibility of leader David Timmerman, so David had to take several hikes up and down the hill to sort things out with the Health Lodge personnel.  In the end it was back to the 2006 plan and David had to march a gang of Troop 216 Scouts to the Health Lodge after breakfast and dinner each day.  Thanks for taking care of our Scouts David.

The Scouts all met up again at noon at the Mess Hall for lunch.  The Scouts all seemed to like the meal of chicken nachos.  Every lunch there were also “crustables.”  That’s a cellophane wrapped peanut butter and jelly sandwich on bread with no crust.

After lunch the Scouts came back to camp for an hour of relaxation or headed for the Trading Post or other activity around camp.  There is a Frisbee golf course in camp and I brought frisbees, soccer balls and other sports games for the Scouts to play in their free time.  Shortly after lunch it started to rain again.  Most of the Scouts put on their rain gear (you know there are always one or two who just don’t get with the program).

After dinner the Scouts were free to do what ever activities they wanted to do.  The camp staff had several activities open to the Scouts each evening.  There was canoeing, row boating, sailing, swimming, rifle shooting, shotgun shooting, crafts and more.  The camp was having trouble with getting the archery Scouts to qualify with their shooting.  So, they were invited to continue qualification and practice in the evening.  I volunteered to help teach on Monday night and all the Scouts who came out passed their qualification.

Our Scouts were allowed to be out of our camp site until 9:45 PM and they had to be back in camp by 10 PM.  We had our first little “hick-up” with three Scouts who were not accounted for at the 10 PM roll call and headcount.  That meant that two teams of two leaders had to go out looking for the Scouts.  John Hibbard led one team and Rick Myers the other.  We know the trails and where the Scouts tend to hang-out so we were searching those places.  The leaders all carry two-way radios at all times in camp so we can communicate and deal with any emergency or logistical issue.  The searching leaders had looked in the Trading Post but did not see the Scouts.  The Scouts wondered back into camp about 10:30 PM with a, “We didn’t know we needed to be back in camp at 10 PM.”  I called the search teams on the radio and had them come back to camp.  We all sat down and talked (the leaders and the offending Scouts).  It turns out that they were in the Trading Post “in the back.”  The Trading Post was closed but the staff let our Scouts stay in and talk and finish their drinks (something they should not have done).  Well, a little excitement is good every now and then.  We finally all got down to bed about 11 PM.  Yes it was still raining lightly.

TUESDAY

The sun is out – yea!  It was a nice day and what turned out to be the norm for the week.  It was to be low to mid 80’s during the day and a nice cool 70’s for the evening.  It was great sleeping weather all week.  Just cool enough that you needed to pull the sleeping bag over you, but not have to zip it up.

Today two groups of a few Scouts climbed the “Knob” to see the beautiful view of the great mountainous country side.  One group was made up of older Scouts, better known as the sports crazies who ran up and down the mountain for a top to bottom time of 20 minutes.  Very good, but not near the camp record of 11 minutes – 7 minutes up and 4 minutes down.  More on this later in this summary…

Each day, late morning, the camp Commissioner came by the camp site to do inspection.  We were graded on camp site cleanliness, fire safety, first aid kit in camp, American flag displayed, trash taken out, recycling, two adult leaders in camp, and the list goes on.  Today was our second day with an inspection grade of 100%.  Yea!  Troop 216 Scouts are the greatest!

Vishal O. was the first Scout back to camp after morning classes and he found 5 adult leaders sitting and talking, reading the newspaper, and reading novels.  Upon seeing this he asked, “So, is this what you guys do all day?”

We had a hit at lunch today with the chicken sandwiches that everyone really enjoyed.

The adult leaders had settled into a few camp assignments.  Bob D. was driving for RKORES (Raven Knob Off-Road Experience) the back country four-wheeling program, Tom Blum was teaching canoeing, Chris Meyer was instructing in rifle shooting (he’s and NRA certified instructor), and Rick Myers (Ranger Rick) was instructing in the Golf program.

We had hot showers in camp this year for the first time.  Amazingly the Scouts took more showers and we didn’t have problems with “crotch rot” this year.

We started the Scout planning conference for the 2007-2008 Troop 216 programs.  We did an hour after lunch and an hour after dinner.  The results will be published some time early August after Scout and Committee reviews.  A couple of new items on the activity calendar will be a tubing float trip down a river and a caving trip.  As for Troop meetings, there was a common goal to make them more interesting. That led to a plan to have some off-site activities for some of the Troop meetings, like bowling, putt-putt golf, etc.  The Scouts also wanted more interesting training/education items for the agenda, like welding, geology, etc.  The planning committee consisted of the Patrol Leaders Council (PLC) and included Scouts Nick B., Jonathan L., Michael M., Chris T., and SPL Brian D. among others.

Adult leader Terry LaDue has been working all day to get everyone’s shirt size and late in the day picked up all our camp t-shirts.  We all think they are really good looking this year.

WEDNESDAY

We’ve been having trouble getting Scott B. out of bed in the morning.  This morning the Scouts carry Scott in his bed out into the middle of camp in an effort to wake him up.  Robert S. is having trouble getting out of bed in the morning too, but the good news is that he always gets up before Scott and makes it to formation JUST as his name is called.

The sun is out again today and it’s looking like another great day in camp.  Breakfast was not a big hit today.  We had biscuits and sausage gravy.  Thank goodness for the 7 types of cold cereal we have available each morning.

Since we got our t-shirts last night, Wednesday was declared camp t-shirt day and everyone wore theircamp t-shirt all day.

Wednesday is visitor day (even though we discourage visitors because of the homesick Scouts we usually have), so the camp delivers lunch to the camp sites and we all eat lunch in camp.  It was cold cuts, on hoagie rolls, chips, granola bars, and “bug juice.”  It was a nice diversion to have lunch in camp and just hang out with the guys.

After lunch we worked on our service project for the camp.  We always volunteer to do a service or conservation project.  Adult leader Tom Brawn led the effort with the help of Terry LaDue.  This year we were asked to spread some (well, err, a lot of) rock in the nature training area and rake up leaves in the same area.  It was a pretty easy job compared to some of our projects from years past.  It was mostly completed after lunch, but a crew had to go back on Thursday after lunch to complete the job.

What to say about the mountain biking Scouts?  Well the first thing that comes to mind is that they are crazy.  There were three, two Eagle Scouts and one Eagle candidate – Chris B., Gary M. and Brian D.  They rode fast up hill, faster down hill, raced to the Trading Post to exchange t-shirt sizes for the Troop and did it there and back in the blink of an eye.

We had a little rain in the afternoon, but it tapered off so we could enjoy our traditional pizza dinner in our camp site.  Adult leader David Davis drove up to join us on Wednesday and he picked up the pizza on the way.  Mrs. Hibbard joined him on the ride and she brought watermelon – also a tradition.  Tom Brawn cooks up some cobbler each year for desert as well.  This year Tom had some help making the 4 cobblers from Scouts Sean L. and Aaron R.  It should be no surprise that we all had a great time enjoying the special treatment of a summer picnic in camp.  There was the annual pizza eating competition.  John H. has been victorious in recent history.  This year it was a tie between John H. and Thomas M. – 14 slices each.

After dinner we had good weather for our Wednesday night campfire at the OA Arena.  As we were waiting for the festivities to begin Gary M. and Joe L. were walking around the arena with dark aviator sun glasses on, their Class A shirt collars flipped up, arms crossed in tough guy poses like the “Blues Brothers.” They were a hit – everyone was laughing.  This campfire is the Order of the Arrow show with Native American (Indian) ceremonies and dancers.  This is followed by the ceremonious induction of new OA members.  Troop 216 Scout Scott Baran was elected to join the OA back in March, but was not able to attend the April induction at our District Camporee, so I made arrangements for him to be “tapped out” at this ceremony.  Scott was completely surprised, but very excited about the opportunity.  After the campfire, the Scouts headed for … you guessed it – the Trading Post.

By now there were some pretty good poker and chess players.  Tom Brawn was worried about what Chris Brawn would think about Alex B’s new found skills at poker.  The good news and saving grace was that Alex also developed his skills at chess.  This evening at poker, Brian K. beat Ranger Rick and at chess Alex B. beat Ranger Rick.  Ranger Rick is one of our biggest BOYS.

Everyone was accounted for at role call and we were all down for the night at 10 PM.

THURSDAY

There was no rain all day – Yea!  Today was Troop t-shirt day and all you saw in our line was a sea of dark green Troop 216 t-shirts.  Well, Vishal O. didn’t have his on.  Hey dad, help him remember to pick-up his FREE t-shirt from Mr. Davis.

We had 40 pizza boxes to get rid of because it was impossible to put them in trash bags.  So, the walk to breakfast was a parade of Scouts each with a pizza box headed for the Mess Hall and the dumpsters behind the building.  It was a strange looking parade.  It brought a smile to many faces.

Vishal O. has been working on a lighthouse carving in wood carving class.  He’s been showing me his progress all week.  It looks great and I’m sure his parents are going to be proud.

Bryan H. was seen tucked away in the back corner of the shelter in a comfortable chair reading!  Every evening and most of his free time.

I can’t write this summary without mentioning Mike B.  He is our “utility infielder.”  This week he did every odd job known to man – errrrr – known to Scout.  Thanks Mike for all that you do.  You are an excellent example of the Eagle Scout.

Mike B. led an Eagle Scout and soon to be Eagle Scout planning meeting.  The purpose was to plan for activities/involvement that would keep the Eagles interested in Scouting and involved in the Troop.  Part of the discussion was also about what privileges the Eagles could have in recognition of their rank and contribution to the Troop.  A report on this planning session will also come out in early August.  A couple of items that were decided but must still go through an approval process were Eagles will be able to sign-off on rank advancement requirements for rank up to First Class, and there will be at least two Eagles only activities/trips during the year.  Scouts in this planning session included Chris B. Brian D., Gary M., John H., Alex B., and Chris H.

Today was a day that the Scouts in the golf program went off site to a golf course to play.  So, they were instructed to dress in golf attire.  It was a “hoot” seeing all the Scouts in golf shoes (white), light colored shorts, golf shirts (or in John H’s case Hawaiian flower print shirt) and smiles on their faces.

More volunteer work for our leaders today.  David Davis and Terry LaDue volunteered to drive campers to a forestry merit badge field trip to a saw mill. Six leaders were in rescue row boats with the campers who were doing the mile swim.  We had 8 Troop 216 Scouts doing the mile swim.  Ranger Rick was complaining at the end of the day about his tough day at camp.  Let’s see – he played golf all morning, the Scouts walked and carried their bags while Ranger Rick rode in a golf cart, he came back to camp and slept all afternoon, ate a lot of pizza and went to bed?  I don’t see it, do you?

Remember the sports crazies who ran the climb to the top of Raven Knob?  They tried to beat the record today.  Scott B., Eric B., Chris B. and Gary M. ran up and back down and Scott did it in 12 minutes, the others in about 13 minutes.  They got very close to the camp record of 11 minutes.  Scott was overheard to say, “…next year we run it every day until we break the record.”

As evening came so did some sever storms and lots of rain.  Sadly, the RKORES overnight four-wheeling trek, the wilderness survival campout and the camping merit badge overnight campout were all canceled. Those of us who were part of these activities arrived back in camp in time to catch the end of our Troop 216 campfire program being led by Scout David H.  He was working on his communications merit badge and had to run a campfire program.  The highlight of the program was the skit presented by the adult leaders.  Chris Meyer was a Native American Chief and the rest of the leaders were braves doing a dance around the fire.  It was a serious ceremony that in the end had a funny punch line.

Another good night and all were accounted for at the role call.  We were in bed by 10 PM again.  By the way, we do a head count every time we leave camp and every time we return.  We also do a headcount every morning before breakfast.  We expect the Scouts to check-in and out with the SPL or ASPL and they did all week.  All Scouts are required to have a buddy with them at all times they are out of camp. We kept track of all the Scouts and that was a minor miracle as usual.

FRIDAY

We woke up to a sunny day again.  More of the usual:  breakfast, clean camp, classes, meet at the Mess Hall for lunch, more classes…  But wait.  It’s the last day and some of the classes are letting out early because all the work is done.  The Trading Post is busting at the seams as Scouts and leaders are hanging out at the Trading Post and doing last minute shopping in the store.  I picked up an extra camp t-shirt and a “Raven Knob Shooting” cap.  Tom Brawn picked up some nylon parachute cord he likes (the Raven Knob version is very colorful).  A couple of Scouts purchased knives, and the list goes on and on.

Surprisingly, none of the first or second year Scouts got homesick.  Evan H. had a couple of days where he let me know he was not a camping kind of guy, but he had fun and his two baskets and foot stool from basketry class were works of art.

The Scouts in the Raven Scout program each had crafts merit badges they were working on.  It was a pleasure for me all week as these newer Scouts kept coming up to me to show me the progress on their baskets and wood carvings, or just talk about the merit badges they were working on.  So, let me say thanks to Justin F., Glenn G., Adam K., Carter L., Yacob M., Jonathan R., Stephan T., Shubham U., Lucas W., and John W. for sharing your experiences with me.

All the Scouts had work duties in camp.  We had a daily duty roster posted in the shelter for specific jobs that had to be completed each day.  A few of the Scouts stood out for doing an especially good job: Ryan R., Chris D., Nick D., Jeff F., Kenny F., Alex G. and Brian H.

I was invited by Brian K. to join him and his cooking class to eat a lunch that the class prepared. Everything was cooked in Dutch ovens.  We had steak, pork chops, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, corn, and apple and cherry cobbler.  It was a great meal and as Brian said, “…much better than the Mess Hall food.”

I was very excited about having a second meal outside the Mess Hall when Scouts, Joe L., Andrew H. and Brendan H. invited me to join them and their cooking class for dinner.  Since we had three Scouts I invited Ranger Rick to join me.  We were both looking forward to a gourmet delight.  And the dinner menu was … steak, pork chops, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, corn, and apple and cherry cobbler.  Talk about the proverbial, “guess what I had for lunch honey.”

Tom Brawn had help from Scouts Jack K., Chris E., and Matt C. preparing the cobbler for tonight.  Tom went down to the Mess Hall to eat dinner early and then rushed back to camp to cook the cobbler while the Scouts were at dinner.  Ranger Rick and I arrived back in camp from our gourmet dinner before all those who ate at the mess hall just in time to see Tom doing a dance with a tarp trying to keep the rain that had just started off the fire that was cooking our cobbler.  Now there was a three person dance going on keeping the tarp up AND attempting to grab poles, lines and pegs to set up the tarp.  Just as that dance was getting out of control Brenden H. returned and a Scout from the camp next to us came over to help us get control of the tarp and keep the rain off the fire.  We did succeed in getting the tarp up and keeping the fire dry.  It was funny, it was fun, it was camping, it was Scouting, it was summer camp at Raven Knob.  Oh ya!  In the middle of all that Tom Blum is calling me on the radio to say that because of the rain, they were keeping everyone in the Mess Hall after dinner for the campfire and closing awards.  I would run over to the shelter to answer the call and then go back to the dance.  Tom would call again with more information and I would run to the shelter (getting wet) and answer the call and then run back to the dance.  We went through that three times.  It’s fun at summer camp.

At the campfire John H. was awarded the honor camper award.  That’s like the Most Valuable Player award.  This is John’s last summer camp as he is approaching that “age out” mark of 18 years of age. John always brings spirit, fun, friendship and a sense of doing good to camp.  This year he brought two chess sets and was leading the chess training and chess competitions.  This year as well as past years he brought the training and leadership of the Magic card games.  The younger Scouts gather around John and the players to watch and learn.  Thanks for all that you have brought to summer camp over the years John…  I for one will miss you.

At the role call the SPL and ASPL suggested that we skip breakfast in the morning because it would only be dry muffins.  It was a unanimous decision to skip breakfast, eat on the way home and just start packing in the morning.  All were in bed by 10 PM.

SATURDAY

It rained lightly all night, but as the waking hour approached it let up.  We were able to pack without the rain.  Saturday is a bit anti-climactic with packing, clean-up, returning camp supplies, and helping Scouts fit all the stuff that came in the lockers back in those same lockers.

We were checked-out by the camp Commissioner by 9:30 AM (another record) and the Scoutmaster was the last one out of camp at 10:30 AM

This year we had 15 Scouts attend the Raven Scouts program which focused on early rank advancement. We had 28 Scouts who climbed the “Knob.”  We had 4 adult leaders who earned the Scoutmaster award for instructing in the Raven Knob programs.  All of these people will receive appropriate pins for their uniform that will be awarded at the next Court of Honor in August.  All camp attendees will also be awarded a 2007 Camp Raven Knob uniform patch.

Troop 216 Scouts earned a total of 111 merit badges and partially completed an additional 50 merit badges, for a total of 161 merit badges.  Most of the partials are only missing one or two requirements. Merit Badge Counselors will be contacting Scouts via email and encouraging them to complete the missing requirements over the summer.  This will allow the Scouts to receive these merit badges at the next Court of Honor in August.

I’ve talked about out camp inspections (we earned 100% for every day), the adult participation in the programs, the service project and other help we provided the camp.  These and a list of 13 other requirements that we completed (actually over achieved) also earned our Troop the Honor Troop award.

I thank all the Scouts for their attention to the rules, their focus on safety, and the gusto with which they enjoyed camp.  I thank SPL Brian D. and acting ASPL Chris H. for all their hard work in managing the Scouts in camp.  They had to get up before everyone else in camp each morning and wake up the camp. They had to keep track of all the Scouts and make sure the headcount was completed and all Scouts were present and accounted for.  This took a lot of time out of their available time to enjoy summer camp.

As much as the Scouts run their own program, summer camp would not happen with out the dedication of the fathers who give up a week of their time to support the Scouts at camp.  Thanks to Tom Brawn, John Hibbard, Rick Myers (Ranger Rick), Dave Timmerman, Tom Blum, David Davis, and Chris Meyer for their multiple years of service at summer camp.  And, thanks to first timer Terry LaDue who never stopped volunteering to help on any and all assignments.

Sorry this summary is so long, but I hear feedback that you parents enjoy reading about what your boys are up to…

Brian D. and I say this was the best summer camp we have ever attended…

“It’s All About The Boys”
Bob De Contreras
Scoutmaster
Troop 216


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