Sunday, July 27, 2008

To Dell and Back Again

Day One, shiny happy people at the flag pole. Guy on left, troop friend Jordan, is wearing a Yoda backpack. We thrive on eccentricity in scouts, apparently.

2 weeks ago now, I spent the week at Maple Dell Scout Camp in the mountains near Payson Utah with my son and his scout troop. As I told all the scouts of our troop (and one honorary member from a fellow troop), it was the best scout camp I'd been to in 24 years or so.

The astute scouters among them quickly realized it was the only one I'd been to in that period of time, but it was still a true statement.

Of note during the trip:

The weather was outstanding- did get warm during the days, but the evenings were pleasantly cool, and no rain, so it could not have been any better.

I had some proud "Dad" moments watching my boy overcome some challenges, the biggest being the swim test on the first day. He had to come back later in the day and try it again, and it wore him out, but he did it. I had to take the same test later that day, and was proud of myself- I stink at swimming, and I'm in lousy shape, but I got through it, too. There were a few other moments where I got to see Nathan work his way through difficulties and I was glad that I had that opportunity.

Not really a difficulty here- stringing a bow on his way to the Archery Merit Badge.

We laughed, their expense.

Boys unintentionally and repeatedly swamping their own canoes when they're trying to win a race is funny- even when it is your own son that is part of the unfortunate tandem.

Scout boys, while better than your average bears, aren't quite the disciplined "bivouac" types that I've grown accustomed to with some of my military experiences.
But they aren't bad cooks... just messy.

Among the more negative parts of that lack of discipline, watching them throw trash on the ground, leave trash around, and then have the adults have to browbeat them to clean it up- sheesh- just don't throw stuff on the ground in the first place, and save all the trouble.

Among the more amusing parts of that was related to the bovine camp population. Apparently Maple Dell has an agreement with some cattle ranchers in the area permitting their cows to roam and graze freely through the grounds every 3 years or so. This was one of those years. So along with the frequent deer running through camp, we also had cows. It was a funny sight from time to time to see a cow running down a path with wild-eyed scouts chasing behind it hooting and hollering. The adults also were halfway hoping to see a Pamplona-style reversal of fortune, with the cows in pursuit of scouts, but alas, it was not to be.

A skit! A skit! Its time to watch a skit, hey!

I still think I'm too cool for the silly skits, yells, and other nonsense that goes on at these camps. But I did them all at full voice and energy for a few reasons to include: 1. to work to keep the enthusiasm up of the scouts- they didn't need to see apathetic parents at their camp (even if we were)..2. I had nothing else to do, really... and last but not least, 3. I would have been in serious hot water with my sweetie if she heard I went up there and refused to "play the game". ;-)

I have a newfound appreciation for the work that others have done in scouting to include my old scoutmasters and my MBA buddy Cameron. Service. Not a lot of reward.
Nathan learns to shoot a bow and arrow. So he can improve his "bow hunting skillz". Gosh!

What goes around comes around. Our crew of boys had their share of the types of kids just as we were in my group of friends as we went through scouts oh so many years ago. Our gang of six was notoriously difficult given our beliefs that we knew it all. Here was some of the payback, I guess.
Who are you calling surly? We're tough, not surly!

Lastly, it is hard to get much done back home- like closing on a house purchase in North Carolina- when you don't have access to phone, internet technology, etc. But that's ok- I enjoyed lots of quiet time when the boys were off working on merit badges and the like. Great to read without the interruptions of technology.

1 comment:

Corry Cropper said...

I'd like to nominate this post for the best post title ever. Excellent work.