I don’t get to do a lot of camping. With my son no longer in the troop and a busy schedule, I only get the opportunity to go on a few campouts. In fact, the April campout was my first of the year. However, I was so impressed with what I saw on that trip I’m sorry I had not attended more. I wanted to share with you my experience in hopes that you will take a chance to witness the great stuff going on in the troop for yourself.
Our April trip to Harpers Ferry was what we call our “New Scout” campout. It’s purpose is to welcome the new scouts to the troop, help them to get a good head start on their tenderfoot requirements and let them have a good time with their new friends. To say the trip was a great success from the standpoint of achieving the goals of this trip would be a huge understatement.
Our older and more experienced scouts were very impressive in the way they helped to share their knowledge and mentor the new scouts. When it came time to man stations or work one-on-one with younger scouts to help with rank advancement, our young men performed admirably. Sure, they found time to be boys and run and have some down time (plus watch some poor persons car go up in flames). But more importantly, the time they spent being a scout was some of the most productive time I have witnessed. Courteous, respectful, helpful, friendly, mature, and scout worthy would be just a few ways I would describe what I witnessed from our young men.
When it came time for the fun, our PLC did a great job in selecting an activity for the trip. The zip line was a blast! The staff and course at the River Riders Canopy Tour were fantastic. My guides, Ash and Caitlyn were incredible! Safety is their #1 concern but they were so good at their job you never really notice just how hard they work on that aspect of the trip because they also brought so much entertainment value to the plate. In addition to flying through the trees at speeds up to 50 mph, the zip line included a good bit of climbing, waiting, listening, and learning. Our scouts excelled in all aspects! More important though was the growth of the confidence in the scouts (and adults) as they tried new things and expanded their horizons. It was a pleasure to see our scouts encourage those who were hesitant in the adventure, cheering on their fellow scouts, congratulating each other as they climbed higher and flew faster, and longer, than they had previously.
Scouting is all about sharing knowledge and wisdom while preparing boys the be men by helping to instill respect and high morals. Troop 809 has been blessed with great scoutmasters in the past who have achieved those goals.
I am very glad to say that our current scoutmaster, Mr. Dwight, continues in this tradition. Dwight’s campfire program was the perfect mix of fun, energy, respect and reverence. He spoke very eloquently to the scouts about what it means to be an American, to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. He reminds us all of how privileged we are to be Americans and why it is our duty to honor, defend, and protect our country, our rights, and each other. I have to admit I was so proud of our scouts when, at the conclusion of the flag retirement ceremony, Mr. Dwight asked the scouts to quietly leave the campfire and retire to their tents for the evening. Without exception, they all left the campfire without saying a word and turned in for the evening. It was spectacular to see. I can only guess they were as inspired by his program as I. I trust our scouts will recognize how lucky the were to be a part of this troop and to work with Mr. Dwight in the years to come.
Looking forward I think there is great reason to be excited about the troop. Our scouts are already forging a great relationship with the future scoutmaster Mr. Shane. Now I didn’t get to spend a great deal of time around Shane during the trip (just because of where he was working in relationship to me) but I was close by to Mr. Christian (sorry fellas, you’re going to have to get used to the Mr.!) and let me tell you they were fantastic. To see them working with the new scouts on the Scout Oath and the Scout Law was a joy to behold. They were patient and reassuring and kept the scouts on task. Both of them kept going over the materials until the scouts could recite each without hesitation. Congratulations gentlemen and keep up the good work!
In conclusion, I ask every adult to come see for yourself what good work is being done in Troop 809. Share in this wonderful experience by joining the scouts in a camping trip a couple times a year. The years fly by quickly and you never know what tomorrow may bring but rest assured, camping with the boys will make for fond memories.