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Best stories from summer camp

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There's been a lot of negative energy aimed in the direction of summer camps in some recent threads, so I thought I'd dispel some of the bad auras by opening up a non-threatening location for people to post their affirming stories from this season of summer camp. Touching, humorous, oddball, educational - whatever stories you've got, spin 'em here.


Peace out, yo.

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A few years back, the troop did a skit called the enlargening machine. For those who don't know this skit, here is how it goes:


One of our younger Scouts was the professor. He was being interviewed by a reporter about his amazing machine.


The machine consisted of two Scouts holding a tarp. Behind the tarp was another Scout who had bike horns and other noise makers. He also had the props.


The professor demonstrated his machine to the reporter. A lone Scout walks by carrying a small mess kit pan. The professor tells him to throw it into the machine. He does. All of a sudden the machine is making all kinds of noise and then a big frying pan flys over the tarp. The Scout and reporter are amazed.


This goes on, various Scouts carring various things get enlargened by the machine.


Then a lady comes walking by carrying her baby. (A scout dressed up carrying a doll). All of a sudden the lady trips and the baby goes sailing into the machine.


The machine makes all kinds of noise for a long time, then silence. The professor, reporter and lady are panicking.


The Scouts holding the tarp drop the tarp. There stands our biggest scout wearing a depends and a baby bonnet and a big pacifier. He immediately goes running up to the camp director and says daddy! The camp director starts to run and the big baby chases after him.


Very fun skit. Got it on video.


Good times at campfires = good memories.

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The Enlarging Machine skit reminded me of an incident I had. One summer camp the camp's medic, who also happened to be the daughter of the CD, was reviewing my healthform. It was a Class 3, used by those over 40 or if you were going to do a HA activity. I was 20 and going to do one later in the summer, so that's why I had the Class 3 physical. Now the medic never looked up at me, just reviewed the paperwork, and then started going through the rest of the paperwork. I asked her if there was any problems, and she said that she was looking for my son's paperwork, to which I replied, "I don't think I have a son old enough to be a Scout." That's when she looked up, saw that I was around the same age as her, and turned red and apologized.


Well the scouts in my troop saw that and laughed. However the opportunity for a good joke was there. So on Wednesday I had one of my scouts agree to be "my son," and after supper we go to the serving area where the medic was and I introduced her to my 6'1" tall "son," and got a great laugh out of everyone on the staff back there.


Well every son needs a "mommy," so on Friday, I goback to the serving area after dinner, tell the medic my "son" one word, and only one word to tell her. "Son" gets a big grin on his face, looks side to side, and screams in a childlike voice, "MOMMY!" Needless to say she turns bright red, and everyone, including her CD dad was laughing their butts off.

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Despite having a "suboptimal" experience with some of the tag-along dads to Cub Camp (as opposed to the dads who really wanted to be there and spend time with their sons), we had a great experience so far. We've done two camps thus far with one more yet to go.


There isn't really a single experience that stands out, but what I have realized that camp is a tremendous relationship-building opportunity for boys AND adults. My DLs who went to camp are back energized and enthused and looking for ways to add run-ons and other fun stuff into our Pack meetings. Plus I've gotten new ideas for games and activities.


For the boys, all you have to do is say "you want to go back to camp?" to learn the answer to this question...


...that and listen to them sing camp songs for days on end once they get back home!!!

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Story 1:

Had 2 of our youngest and smallest newbies enthusiastically volunteer for cleaning pots and pans, waiter duty, and even cleaning the latrine. Shocked it was my youngest son. Heard an very jaded older boy tell another to lay off them "good kids, there all right". High praise indeed.


Story 2:

Did Polar Bear plunge. Only qualified as "Beginner" at Swim Test (health issues). 100 guys swim out to platform me I stay in "the baby pool". When it was time to sing you could hear me real good! Was very grateful when a lone boy showed up late to join me in the Beginner section. Thanks Melvin from Pensacola, wherever you are.


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My son is right now at summer camp as I write this. He is taking 1st aid merit badge and wood working merit badge. you can probably see where this is going.


Earlier in the week he told me very entusiastically that he got to try out some of the stuff he learned in the 1st aid merit badge course, cuz he cut himself during the wood working one. he thought it was cool. practical application is the best way to retain information.

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Best parts of summer camp


- Watching the scouts take over the screen shelter to play magic cards or other board games in the evening. Older scouts teaching the young how to play. It's happened for years. Now we know enough to bring two extra screen shelters. Scouts use two. Adults get one.


- Scouts sailing, horseback riding, climbing and other adventures.


- Two older scouts who didn't want to do merit badges decided to take a hike to the other side of camp. (3000 acre camp) They were gone a long time. They missed lunch, but got to climb the fire tower. Received messages from staff saying they saw our scouts hiking back. They got back for dinner and fell asleep early that evening. Good for them.


- Standing on the boat house deck watching the sunset over the lake.


- All the adults playing hearts on the last night of camp. The SPL walks up to us to tell us to pipe down because the scouts are trying to sleep. :)


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1. My troop has two "washing machines" made out of five gallon buckets and plungers. One day, our oldest Scout was goofing around with the younger kids by showing them how the plungers would suck onto their backs and they could get yanked around by them. About fifteen Scouts had a great time playing with those that afternoon.


2. Every year, we do daily tent inspections to make sure the Scouts are keeping their tents clean and organized. The winning tent(s) each day get to go to the trading post on the SM's dime. One day, I told the Scouts that the winning patrol (average score) would get to toss two buckets of water per person on the SM (me). You could have bounced a quarter off the beds of most of those Scouts they were so excited. Of course, the older Scouts (who had barely been passing all week) decided they wanted to soak me and won the competition. Thirty Scouts had the please of watching the older Scouts pour buckets of cold water over me. Since it was quite warm out, I didn't mind one bit.

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A few of them:

1. the first 4 meals, there was trash left on the tables. After that the PLC decided everyone should eat by patrol. That way they could determine the guilty party (or parties). It was also decided that if it happened again, the offending patrol would have latrine duty. For the "carrot"- if there was no issue for the remainder of the week, the SPL, ASPL & I would have latrine duty on our last day. It worked! I gladly did the latrine duty.


2. I had two Scouts that were members of my "20%er Club". As in, 80% of my (or the other adult leaders) time was spent on them. They were consistently behind the rest of the troop when it came to meals. My goal was for them to be in the first group by the end of the week. The last meal they were! Baby steps.


3. The dining hall had a rule of no hats indoors. This was enforced by a few troops - ours was one of them. I had 3 Scouts that would take off their hats when entering but somehow during the course of the meal, they would end up back on their heads. The Scouts didn't realize they were doing it. My goal was for these 3 to be coverless at least one entire meal from the time they entered the dining hall to the time they left. 2nd to last meal - goal! Baby steps.

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Another story. I was assigned to be the provisional SM since 4 of the provi scouts were from my troop. We did the entire troop thing, with the scouts forming up patrols and slecting leaders, tentmates, etc. But I admit I did select the SPL: one of my scouts who was a CIT at camp for most of the summer.


We had a good time, showed scout spirit at assemblies etc. For the 'troop nite" we had the guys come up with campfire program. SPL assigned two of my scouts to build the troop campfire in the campsite. Now my troop had a reputation of being pyromaniacs, no one could build and start fires faster than my guys. So knowing this I said, "Do not light the fire until I see it." and that was my mistake.


When my two guys finished building their 4 foot high log cabin fire, I was summoned to see them. As soon as I saw the firelay and before I could say it was too high, they lit it up with smiles on their faces, saying "We lit it after you saw it."


Camp director ended up visiting, saw the campfire, and asked if the two guys could build the closing campfire. Needless to say the cloasing campfire was burning brightly when the program ended.

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Whenever I go to Camp, my good friend Pierre Alloyious DuMonde also goes. Pierre is a 1780-1840's Voyageur turned trapper who hangs around Troop outings on occasion.


This year, Pierre had a surpise comming. He was in the opening Campfire, and was told when to make his entrance. His thought was to wait until the stage was empty and then walk down the center aisle and turn around to say "bon jour", well, when the appointed time came, his way was blocked by another "Voyageur", Dippin' Dave was the sobriquet, and Dave was there to get his participants for the week long Canoe trip the Camp runs. After a quick introduction, Pierre and Double D came up with a plan.


After the preceeding skit was done, Ol' Pierre comes walking down the aisle and gives a huge, "Bon Jour Mes Aime" and told about what he had done for the last year after camp. Especially detailed was his report on what he did during Christmas vacation when he cremated Sam McGee (See Robert Service)


From what I understand, the place was dead silent as Pierre wound down, he had them solid in the palm of his hand. Then Pierre introduced Dippin' Dave and was off.


From time to time during the week, I had staff and Campers tell me what a great job Pierre did with the poem, and while Pierre was down helping at the Rifle Range (Camp School SHooting Sports Director, NRA Instructor in Rifle, Pistol, Muzzleloader, Shotgun and Range Safety Officer) I never did see him. Although, as much as I get mistook for Pierre, he must be one heck of a good looking man.


Pierre killed the closing Campfire with "the Voyageur" by William Henry Drummond, again introducing Dippin' Dave and his crew.

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I've been working on breaking old patterns the last couple of years -- our Scouts had lapsed into a pattern of two years at regular summer camp and then a year or two at "Eagle Week". We haven't seen older Scouts at regular camp in a long time. Along the way, summer camp became all about earning MBs and less about having fun.


But this year, the transformation was almost complete. We've actually been out three weeks. First week of July, we were at a patrol-oriented camp for the second year in a row. The few who signed up had great fun with horseback riding, a day in the climbing barn, water skiing and tubing, a wilderness survival overnight and a day at "challenge valley" which has the "extreme obstacle course" (which is guaranteed to get them muddy).


We were home for a week, and then the troop went to a regular program-oriented camp (I billed this as "it's just like Eagle Week, but the whole troop can go") where they had three MB classes in the morning, and troop activities in the afternoon. Our SPL had wisely steered the afternoon activities to focus on water-based activities -- it was 95+ and humid all week long. They had great fun with kayaking, canoeing, "assault boats" (swamp their neighbors' canoes), water basketball, ultimate frisbee and an afternoon hike.


We were then home for a week, and then we left for a high adventure trip, canoeing in Maine. Just got back from that this last weekend. Most of the guys on the trip had never been that remote in their life, we had great weather, and we saw less than 10 people total the entire time we were on the water. However, we only saw one moose. As I was trying to motion our guys to keep quiet, the ones up front were yelling back to the others, "look! a moose!". Mrs. Cow Moose ambled up the back and out of sight. Oh well, suburban kids...what can you do... :-)


Our troop has about 28 Scouts, around 18 active, and we had 10 different Scouts on these three trips (7 at the first, 9 at the second, and 8 on this last one). The best part, though, is that 5 went on all three trips. I'm hoping that the spirit of having fun in the summer (without concentrating on MBs) has been rekindled in them.



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