Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Graduation Campout

Author: Jose G. Barr

Going camping with young boys can be a fun and rewarding adventure for all involved. For Joseph and I, our first camping trip was about 2 years ago. It was the graduation camp out for our pack.  Each year the highlight of the trip is always the nighttime hike. During the hike the boys depart as their current rank and return at the next.  So, the Tigers will return as wolves, wolves as bears, etc.  This year Joseph will leave behind his cub scout blue uniform and transition into the Boy Scouts of America tan and green uniform when he becomes a Webelos (for those of you not versed in scouting term, this is an acronym for We Be Loyal Scouts).  He has been looking forward to this transition to a uniform like "Daddy's" for over a year now.
Proud to be his Daddy!

Our pack has been very successful in passing down the knowledge gained through generations of parent leaders. The camping trip is run smoothly thanks to this past knowledge and the ability to adapt to changing needs and ideas.  When I first started participating, families would begin arriving on Friday evening. This day was for camp setup and casual gatherings.  Dinner was on your own and there was no campfire.  This coming years event will include a campfire program and cracker barrel (snacks) on Friday evening.

Saturday morning, breakfast was a casual affair handled at the family or den level. In past years the pack began proving the meals beginning with lunch. This year we have shifted Sundays breakfast to Saturday, taking into consideration the desires of the our pack family to make Sunday easier to pack and go home.

Taking a hike
Once breakfast is done we begin the days activities.  This includes many learning opportunities including first aid, compass use, and other scout skills.  But the day also includes one activity that has been a big hit each and every year...Paper rockets!  The boys make their rockets out of paper and then launch them, under adult supervision, utilizing high pressure air.  The boys compete to see who's rocket goes highest and furthest.

Archery anyone?
The evening campfire and hike are the culmination of a years worth of work for the boys.  They head out into the night and return, proud to be wearing their new color bandanna and ball caps.  The leaders make sure that the boys are always safe and on the right trail by marking it with glow sticks (which the Arrow of Light scouts pick up after the the last den has gone through).

Throughout the weekend the leaders emphasize the Boy Scouts of America leave no trace behind program.  Anything that is not a part of the wilderness is picked up and thrown in the trash. Last year, when the boys built a rock fort, they spent Sunday morning taking it apart and making sure that the camp was back to a condition better than when we arrived.

The best part of the weekend personally is seeing Joseph playing with the other boys, without any electronics in sight. The boys quickly adapt and have fun running around being boys.  The evening is spent telling stories around the campfire, doing silly skits and singing some fun scouting songs.
Having a great time

Next time you go camping, take the time to sit and look up into the night sky.  Its amazing how many stars are visible when the lights of the city are gone.  Its an amazing and beautiful sight to see.

Until next time my friends, love your kids,

Cherish your family.

Breakfast with a fellow scout

Playing a game

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