Spring Campout Recap

Back in May, our pack had its annual camp out.  In the past we have camped in tents at our council’s “primitive” camp close to our meeting place.  We typically rent a shelter by a campsite for cover to eat and do some activities while doing others out and about around camp.  This year we decided to try out the Fort at the Cub World on the council’s scout reservation.  When planning for this last year, we thought it would be a different experience that the boys would enjoy.  I think the moms in the pack were looking forward more so to the indoor flushing toilets and shower facilities. 🙂 

With the Fort as our backdrop, we decided to have a Wild West theme.  We got bandanas, cowboy tattoos, sheriff’s stars, water pistols and other themed knickknacks.  We even had t-shirts made up (thanks classb.com).

Friday night was essentially set up with a little bit of free time.  Our Webelos (having just learned to tie their knots for Outdoorsman activity badge) led a demonstration on their own to teach the square knot to the other boys in the pack.  It’s never too early to get them performing in leadership roles in front of their peers in the pack.  Since we have only three Webelos, they decided to split up the pack into three groups to have each Webelos teach a smaller group of other scouts.  A true learning moment came when the Webelos were trying to get the younger scouts to line up and split into the three groups.  My oldest quipped to me, “this is hard to get them to listen and line up.”  “Welcome to my world.” I replied.  When not learning knots, the boys enjoyed scouting out the Fort by running around the top-level and through the courtyard.  As nightfall came, we had a small campfire, roasted marshmallows and performed a flag retirement ceremony.  Again the Webelos took a lead and performed the color guard duty of lowering the colors from the flag pole and also assisting with the retirement of the tattered, worn flags.  I noticed that throughout the weekend, the Webelos really showed a lot of maturity and leadership.  I think they have finally realized that they are the oldest in the pack now and need to set a good tone and example.

Saturday morning came and gorgeous weather along with it.  The month of April was the wettest April in the history of the Cincinnati area and the first part of May was very wet and rainy as well.  We had our fingers crossed we’d have a break in the weather in time for the camp out and for a change, Mother Nature delivered in our favor.  After breakfast, the boys went out to learn and play flag football.  Each year at our campout, we do an activity that involves a belt loop.  The boys that attend the campout and participate earn the belt loop.  We then present it that same night at our pack meeting campfire.  That is about as immediate as you can get with recognition.  After flag football, the boys received their water pistols and played capture the flag throughout the Fort.  The fun part about this activity was that at the end of their game, we set all the kids outside the fort, closed the door and told them we were “hiding the flag” so that they needed to work together to find it.  The ruse was that we parents were filling up our own water guns and super soakers to ambush the kids as they “stormed the fort” looking for the flag.  They had no clue what we were up to and when we let them in, an all out water gun war broke out between the parents and the kids.  Everyone got wet and had a blast.

After lunch the boys along with the parents went on a scavenger hunt around the grounds of Cub World.  Upon completion of the hunt, the boys were awarded a goody bag of more Cowboy paraphilia.  Everyone then made up their mountain man dinner packet (hamburger meat, potatoes, carrots, onions wrapped in foil), put it on the fire coals and headed off on a nature hike.  This was the first time we had tried this for a meal so sorting the foil packs was a bit of a challenge after the hike because despite each person putting their name on their foil pack in sharpie marker, those that did not apply the marker liberally had their name worn off by the heat and fire from the coals.  The other item was that depending on where the packet was placed on the coals, 25-30 minutes per side was waaaayyy too long and some hamburger was well done.  Luckily there was other food so no one went hungry.

Once dinner was cleaned up we had our pack meeting campfire.  Each den always prepares a skit or song to perform and everyone joins in for a song and a cheer (or two or three).  Then it is on to awards.  We handed out the Flag Football belt loops from the morning activity.  Most of the boys had earned their rank earlier this year.  We did however present a Wolf badge, the Webelos received their Outdoorsman activity badge, we awarded some Outdoor Activity Awards, Leave No Trace awards and a few World Conservation awards.  The highlight of the meeting is the boys get to “crossover” into their next rank.  We have a wooden bridge that we use for crossing into Boy Scouts as well as for rank crossovers.  We start by having the first year Webelos cross first to become second year Webelos.  Then the Bears are next.  Last year we started the tradition of having the boys in the existing rank welcome and present the books, neckerchiefs and slides to the boys crossing over.  So the existing (now second year) Webelos welcomed the Bears to the Webelos den.  The (now) former Bears, welcome the new Bears.  The (now) former Wolfs welcome the new Wolfs and so on.  This year we did a spring recruiting and had two new Tigers join (one of whom is my youngest son).  When they were called up to receive their new handbooks and neckerchiefs, they were so excited that they were now officially Cub Scouts.  After the meeting we then do s’mores over the fire.  We do them with a twist.  Instead of melting chocolate bars with the marshmallow between graham crackers, we use Fudge Round cookies.  It’s one less thing to care for and generally the chocolate doesn’t melt as easily.  This year we also had Peeps that the boys could roast (got that idea from Scouter Mom).  Once the fire died down, we let the boys run off the sugar in the fort by giving them glow sticks and rings and they were off to bed.  For some reason, they fell asleep much quicker than on Friday?!?!?!

Sunday morning brought another bright sunny day.  After our worship service, we had breakfast then began cleaning up and packing to go home.  All in all the boys and the adults had a great time.  So much that we will be having our spring campout back at the Fort next year.

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Virtual Patch Trading

If you’re a Scout or Scouter (and you probably are if you are here) you are more than likely familiar with patch trading.  Most of the time it happens when scouts and scouters from different areas come together for some event; most notably the National Jamboree, and Order of the Arrow conventions (or conclaves).  You may see a line of blankets on the ground where collectors, young and old, are intensely involved.  They mostly swap local council shoulder patches (CSPs) and Order of the Arrow lodge “flaps” but may also dabble in patches from countless camporees and other special events.

My first (and only) foray into patch trading was at the 1989 National Jamboree.  I was on youth staff and decided to bring along a whole bunch of my council’s regular CSP, a few of the special Jambo CSPs and some OA lodge flaps (regular and Jambo).  I remember going to the various sub camps and asking around if anyone wanted to trade.  I remember the most popular patch sought was an OA flap from the Malibu lodge in Hawaii.  Everyone would ask, “Do you have a Malibu?” as a greeting.  I did not get to the Hawaii sub-camp and did not find anyone who had multiples.  But I did get a fair number of ones that I thought were cool and were unique.  I also made it a point to trade for a CSP and OA flap from the council I began scouting with (which so happens to be the council I and my sons are in now).  I did not spread a blanket nor did I occupy all of my time trading.  I incorporated it into the other activities I took part in at the Jamboree.  Here is a picture of that collection now over 20 years old.

I remember seeing SM Shawn’s post a few months back (he recently re-posted) offering up one of his three CSPs in exchange for one from another scouter.  At the time I thought that would be a neat idea; combining a time-honored tradition with present day technology.  At the time of the original post I did not have any CSPs and as things got busy, it slipped my mind to get some next time I was at the scout shop.  It wasn’t until I saw a tweet from @okcscouter (David C.) asking if anyone wants to trade CSPs that I was able to jump into fun.  The pack had just bought a few CSPs for boys who joined up this spring who also ordered their uniform.  Since we didn’t get as many new recruits, and after reimbursing the pack I had some patches to trade.

I sent off one to SM Shawn as his offer still stood (no one had taken him up on his offer; I think I was the first, even after all this time) and sent my address to David via Twitter DM.  Right after the Memorial Day holiday both came on the same day.  Both came with the patch and a note.  As Shawn put on Twitter, “it’s nice to see that two scouters can still communicate for only $0.44.”

Since then, I have made contact (all through Twitter) with a few other scouters interested in trading CSPs.  I have sent out a couple, waiting to get one back and sent my address to some for them to initiate the trade.  So along with the others, here’s deal ScoutNation…you too can get in the game for the cost of your council’s CSP and $0.44.  If you are interested in swapping patches post a reply to this post, send me a DM on Twitter or email.  We can figure out address sharing then get to swapping.  Here is my council’s current patch.  It’s what I have to offer:

For those on Twitter, I propose using the hashtag #CSPSwap going forward when tweeting about our swaps.  That will help folks find who is in the game to be able to reach out and make a contact to swap.  Let’s see how much this can get going.  I know there are a few patches going through the mail (or soon will be).  Come join the fun.

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100 Days of Scouting – Day 100: Wrapping up and starting anew

Today I:

  • Made a trip to the scout shop to purchase the awards and advancement for the camp out pack meeting this weekend
  • Ran the final Webelos den meeting for the boys as First Year Webelos
  • Finished up the official postings in the 100 Days of Scouting

Today marks the end of a few things of this part of the scouting world.  It also marks the beginning of some other things.

We had our Webelos meeting tonight.  Yes, it is not Tuesday our normal night.  We have moved the meetings because one of the boys in the den has baseball games scheduled on Tuesdays this summer.  Not that there has been much baseball played with all the rain we have had.  It was just easier to move the meetings in advance rather than wait for word of a rain out or not and have to move at the last-minute.  This was the last meeting we had scheduled to complete all the requirements for Outdoorsman.  Two of the boys needed to have the knots requirement signed off (they tied them correct without any assistance).  We also had planned a fire building/string burning contest.  We finished up rehearsing our skit for the camp out.

Traditionally at our May camp out pack meeting we “cross over” each of the boys into their new rank for the upcoming year.  With everybody moving up, our Webelos will become Second Year Webelos.  The boys will start working on the Arrow of Light meeting plans in the Den and Pack Resource Guide starting with our next meeting.  So as one portion of the program wraps up another portion starts anew.

Today also marks the end of the daily (or almost/mostly daily) postings in the 100 Days of Scouting.  I took on the challenge set out by ScoutSigns to blog about my scouting activities each day from starting on the anniversary of scouting.  Some days were filled with lots of scouting activities.  Others there just wasn’t much going on.  I’ve met a number of scouters across the country via their blogs and Twitter.  I have enjoyed reading what others are doing within their part of ScoutNation and have even borrowed some great ideas.  I hope others who have stumbled by here feel the same way.  Now that the 100th day upon us, does that mean the posts will stop?  Of course not.  I started this blog last fall because I felt I had some things to share on what and how we do scouting here in Northern Kentucky.  As I did before February 8, I will continue to keep sharing the various activities in meetings and outings we do with our pack and den.  Now that our younger son is now a new Tiger Cub with me as the den leader, there should be enough stuff going on to keep the keyboard humming.  This round of the 100 Days has wrapped up.  Scouting won’t stop just because there are not daily posts.  The next round of postings starts anew with all the upcoming activities we have planned.

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100 Days of Scouting – Day 99

Today I:

  • Finished up the scout shop shopping list
  • Emailed with our new Tiger family about sewing patched on his new uniform
  • Started my gear and packing lists for the camp out this weekend
  • Continued prepping the 100th post in this journey
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100 Days of Scouting – Day 98

Today I:

  • Worked up the den meeting plan for the Webelos to finish up Outdoorsman
  • Laid out the summer meeting plans and penciled in dates.  We’ll work on Scientist in den meetings and the boys will work on Family Member at home.
  • Took our Webelos scout for an unofficial (unannounced) visit to a troop meeting at the troop our pack traditionally feeds into. 

We are borrowing propane stoves from the troop for our camp out this weekend and I went to pick them up.  I thought it might be a good chance for the oldest to see how a troop meeting works and runs when they aren’t expecting a visitor.  The last time we were at a troop meeting was the week of the Peterloon camp out.  That meeting was quite unorganized and chaotic.  The ASPL had just found out he would be in charge of the meeting as well as the camp out.  He was a bit unprepared and did not do much to make the Webelos feel welcome in preparation for camping with the Boy Scouts.  Tonight, as it turned out the ASPL from the fall is now the SPL.  He actually recognized our son (couldn’t remember his name but knew where they had met).  The SPL then reintroduced our boy to the others in the troop and made him feel a little more welcome.  The meeting was essentially a split meeting, about half stayed in the meeting place and went over advancement, camping logs and service hours.  The other half (including the boy) went outside to work on Firem’n Chit.  This was right up the boy’s alley since we had been working on fire safety in the Webelos den meeting.  He did not get a chance to light his fire, because it took him a while to gather up wood and when he was ready, the wind blew out his matches each time.  By the time the SPL got more matches, it was time to go in.  But the boy said he had a good time and the meeting went better than the last.

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100 Days of Scouting – Day 97

Today I:

  • Finally caught up the pack’s ledger with the purchases made and checks written in the past two months.
  • Went through advancement info to determine who has earned various awards (Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award, World Conservation Award and Leave No Trace). 
  • Created a scout shop – shopping list to get all the awards and advancement for the camp out this next weekend.
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