Friday, July 14, 2017

Another Summer Camp begins...

New post to clear the decks and get ready for new Blog Posts about SUMMER CAMP 2017 - RETURN TO RESSICA FALLS !!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Scenes from around Camp

More tents...

Tents are looking good...

Thursday Morning Colors

Morning colors by the Killer Bunnies Patrol

Wednesday Update

Wednesday Update:

The weather was very good, which makes everything better. Temperature was still in the high 80's but with much less humidity. So we were no longer sweating just standing around.

The Scouts' MB routines are normalized now.   They are no longer walking to far away badges or taking badges that don't fit into their schedules, so they are now enjoying the MBs they are taking.  Lots of positive feedback when we are talking to Scouts.

Only four Troops at Morning Muster today.  All Troops at Evening Colors but some no longer make a pretense of "Class A".  After Colors I pointed out to the staff member leading things that folks should remove their hats.

It's Hump Day!  We really have not had too many Scouts suffering from DNS, and those that have it are doing well - It's Hump Day!

Our PLC/Green Bar is struggling a bit with getting things done and/or finding out info to get things done.  Our nightly PLCs have an air of "Why are we doing this?" about them, but at least we can check a box in our mind that we hold them.  It seems like we might be able to earn the Troop Award, and the patrols will have to work at it but they can attain the Patrol Award as well.

It's always interesting to see which Scouts stand out at Summer Camp - the expectation is that the leaders will step up {but that doesn't always happen}; the surprise is when other Scouts step up in unexpected ways.  Watching our Scouts handle the trials and tribulations of Summer Camp Life is a very interesting experience.

The food continues to be a high point
  • Breakfast = french toast and bacon
  • Lunch = cheese steaks, hot dogs, baked beans
  • Dinner = roast beef, roasted potatoes and mixed veggies
Wednesday nights are almost always the night where the Patrols compete against each other in some form of "Campwide Games".  They typically involve varied multiple activities so that it is not just an athletic/sports competition.  Here at Ockanickon they have a Water Carnival which consists of six different events in the pool.  All are made up events involving pool noodles, blow up animals, tubes, etc that have to be ridden, carried or collected by different sized teams from each Troop (not by patrol).  So there was a two Scout event, a four Scout event an eight Scout event, etc.  Most of our Troop attended the Water Carnival and we did well in the events, even winning one of them for sure (results aren't announced until Friday and the winner is not always obvious).  The final event required a Scoutmaster and a New Scout.  The SM was in a tube in the pool wearing goggles filled with paper towels (blind).  The New Scout pushed him around to try and pick up large beach balls, and then directed him to blindly throw the balls through hula hoops.  I was the "Tank" and Ryan Cubiero was the "Tank Commander".  We successfully scored one point, but did not win. :(

Evenings get quiet pretty quickly around here.  Getting up at 6:15, walking around all day, and being physically active has them going to bed around 9:00-9:30 (or sooner for some).   But there are always a handful of guys who sit in someone's tent and play cards, chat, or what-not until we have to tell them to turn it down.  But we never have to tell them to turn in. :)

Short summary - Could be better, but for the most part all is well.

Tuesday DH Pics

Tuesday Update:

Tuesday was a much better day.  As often happens, after the storm blew through we had great weather - much cooler temperatures (if you can call the 80's cool), much less humidity, and no rain.

We still had Scouts with MB issues, and almost all of our Scouts started to drop MBs.  Some because their schedule no longer works due to changes, some due to travel time between classes, some due to scheduling issues with other MBs.  Not a big deal in this case - the Scouts are dropping a MB or two and are still taking 3-4 MBs which is a good number for Summer Camp.

Running back and forth between classes and sitting in classroom settings is not the best use of time at Camp. Hanging with your friends, checking out the fishing options, chillaxing in the pool and in some cases just relaxing in our campsite are all better uses of time in my opinion.

The MBs are all very "accelerated" here.  Most will be done by Wed or Thu which is odd.  We have not had any issues, or reports of MB Instructors not knowing what they were doing or issues in MB classes (but it's still early in the week).  MBs are often "issues" at Summer Camp, but that does not appear to be the case here.  The sign up and scheduling were horrible, but the actual MB Classes seem OK.

Monday's schedule for opening and closing ceremonies was messed up by the weather, so this was our first day with full schedule.   Every Camp I have ever been to (9 in the last 11 years) has Morning Colors.   The entire Camp shows up, lines up on the parade field, the flags (colors) are raised, each Troop's SPL reports, and morning announcements are given about program changes, etc.

Because they have so many Scouts here each week and the DH will not fit everyone, they do not do it this way. The Camp population is divided roughly in half so that half go to a meal while the other half have free time, and then they switch. So our Breakfast (A) is at 7:30, while Breakfast B is at 8:30. Morning Muster, as it is called here, is optional and held at 8:15. 

Theoretically the A group goes after breakfast, and the B group goes before breakfast.  But since it is optional hardly anyone goes.  We were one of five Troops there this morning; very sad.   And many attendees (including staff) goof around during Colors and do not remove their hats.  Mr. Simunek is not happy.

Evening Colors are mandatory so all Troops show up. We are supposed to be in full Class A uniform, but already Troops are showing up with Class A shirt and bathing suits/ random shorts, no BSA socks, etc. Disappointing.  But as the Leaders are not wearing Class A's you can tell that there is no concern about this aspect amongst most Troops.

We are all in full Class A, in formation with our Patrol Flags.  It is not because I'm some form of militaristic jarhead; it is because uniforming is part of the Scout program.  Our Scouts are already taking pride in how T61 shows up compared to others.

Food is still above the average camp food:
  • Breakfast = chipped beef, fresh biscuits, lots of tater tots and scrambled eggs (too much food actually)
  • Lunch = pizza
  • Dinner = roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and carrots + a strawberry shortcake type of dessert  {I forgot to list Monday's dessert was Boston Creme Pie}
Our meals are served "family style" which is much better (in my opinion) than "cafeteria style".  Cafeteria style is when each Scout walks through the line and gets individual servings of food.  Family style is when one Scout serves as the "waiter" for each table of eight and brings platters/plates/bowls of food to each table; the food is then passed around the table as if you were eating at home.  It would be too long for me to explain pros and cons of each and why I feel "family style" is better, but hopefully you can figure that out.

Unfortunately I had to have a discussion with our Scouts about dining etiquette and table etiquette - its amazing that so many of them had no clue how to pass food around, or to wait for others, or to share portions properly...  I guess I'm getting old and cranky

Short Summary = It's Day 2.  Our Scouts' outlooks are improving and moral is up; and we are adjusting and adapting to the issues.

Monday Update

Hello All - as I said in the parking lot, there will be an update for every day, but they may not be every day...

Monday Update:

Monday was a difficult day
  • It was hot and humid all day
  • We had storms passing through all day which made the heat even worse to deal with
  • Merit Badge classes and schedules were changed from the schedule we were given, so Scouts would go to a MB class only to find it had been moved or changed to a different period
  • Scouts had to find their way around Camp, which is always the same on Monday, but it makes the day more stressful for them
  • And we had the massive storm come through which required us to evacuate to the Dining Hall (DH), further elevating their unease and uncomfortableness with Camp Life
After the storm passed and we were back in our campsite we took the opportunity to explain to the Scouts that we are all brothers, and it is the job for all of us to help everyone get through the week - make sure every scout is involved in what's going on; make sure no Scout is off sitting by himself; make sure every Scout gets where he needs to be, etc.

I made the point that everyone deals with homesickness (aka DNS - Domestic Nostalgia Syndrome) and we all have to help each other deal with it. I made jokes about the weather, the storm and our eminent doom to lighten things up and everyone was able to laugh about it. We had Scouts already suffering from DNS on a high level, and it's only Monday.

The food is very good here, especially when compared to last year's experience. :)
  • Breakfast = pancakes and sausage, plus they have a yogurt/ fruit bar, oatmeal, pastries, and cereal (of course) each day
  • Lunch = tacos (hard and soft tortillas); plus they have a well stocked salad bar each day
  • Dinner = ham, scalloped potatoes, and mixed veggies; plus they have a well stocked salad bar each day
Our PLC and Patrol Mtg schedules were all messed up due to the weather, etc so we just had a quick stand up meeting to go over duty rosters, tomorrow's events, etc.

Short summary = Crazy, hot day; nothing major accomplished; nothing major went wrong

Friday, July 22, 2016

New Blog Poll

New Poll has been added on the right hand column - how many MB's this year ???

Off to Summer Camp

During our week of Summer Camp we will be posting pics to our FB page, and we will also try to get just as many pics on this Blog as well.  We hope that everyone enjoys the pics as a small window into our world for the week. :)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016