Every now again you need to step back and plug in to have your batteries recharged.
In Scouting you can get your batteries recharged in many ways, attending a great training event like Wood badge is one way, a 50 miler will get you focused and often recharges the Scouting cells.
This last week I took my Troop to Summer Camp at Camp Baldwin. Baldwin recharged my batteries.
At Camp Baldwin, the Scouts get to be Scouts. They cook their own meals, they are responsible for getting to and from merit badge classes and activities, they are accountable to each other as a Patrol. Duty rosters are critical to success, but most important… they have FUN.
Camp Baldwin is not a Merit badge factory. They offer classes in the morning and for an hour after lunch, then it is free time. All program areas are open. The Scouts can work requirements that they are behind on.. or get ahead. They can hit the ranges and do some shooting, or hit the water front for canoeing, rowing or just playing around in the swimming area. They even encourage a nap or two and the waterfront is a hit for water activity or that nap. A nice mountain lake is the home for aquatic activities ranging from snorkeling and rowing to a fun game of water basketball.
So how did I recharge my batteries. I had fun. Our Senior Patrol and his assistant, worked with Patrol leaders to have a great week at camp. There were 3 other adults in camp with me. Two assistant Scoutmasters and our Committee chair. The 4 of us became a Patrol. We hung out, mostly at the water front. We took advantage of a Scout Troop that really gets it. Patrols that worked well together and understood they had a commitment to each other and working as a team they could accomplish all of their summer camp goals.
This allowed the 4 adults to hang out and have a fun time. We completed our mile Swim BSA, won the Scoutmaster cook off, and got a few chapters in our books read. The 4 of us did some service projects and helped around camp. One of the ASMs even took the BSA life guard course.
We got in some refresher training taking Safe Swim defense and Safety afloat, and even Climb of Safely. The Committee Chair and the other ASM even took a horse back ride one afternoon arriving in time for me to cook them dinner.
Recharging the batteries was getting back to a week long true Scouting experience. No den mothers, no chaperons, just Scouts having fun challenging themselves, cooking, getting to and from activities, and oh yeah dominating the camp with Scout Spirit. Every where they went they went as a Patrol and when they saw each other… there was a troop yell or “WHO ROCKS THE THUNDERBIRD…664! We did that so much soon the staff started yelling it with us.
Even on the mile swim (which we had 7 members of the Troop finish) the dock and shore was lined with 664 supporters.. a Troop event!
Being able to sit and watch the Scouts in action and know that we have taught them well.. it was pay day!
And then there is the story of a Scout we will call Bobby… because that’s his name.
Without any details, Bobby has had a challenging life. He came to our Troop early this year having never been a Cub Scout and no Scouting experience. Bobby went to Summer Camp the rank of Scout. He had never been away from home for more than a weekend.
Bobby opened his Scouting heart and let it all in! I have never seen a Scout completely immersed himself into camp like Bobby did this week. I am sure that this is was the best week of his life.
Bobby had never fired a rifle… got the Rifle Shooting merit badge. He earned the Environmental Science, and Mammal Study too.. he took three tries to do it, but finally passed his BSA Swim test… then spent every free minute in the water or on it in a boat. He caught craw dads and learned to flip pancakes on a dutch oven lid. Bobby learned to wash his clothes in a bucket using camp suds and was the first in line at the chow truck to gather the food for the day for his Patrol. He ate a half a pound of apple cobbler and yelled the loudest when his Patrol, the mighty Scorpion King Patrol, did their yell. Bobby spent free time with me and at the Trail to First class station working on rank requirements and finished up his Tenderfoot this week… as well as a handful of requirements toward First Class.
Today when we got home.. he shook my hand and thanked me for taking him to summer camp.
I am humbled.
I swam the Mile Swim BSA with my youngest son and watched as my oldest son took every arrow to qualify and earn the Archery merit badge.
I saw our SPL become a leader and watched as an 11 year old Patrol leader took charge.
It was a great week of Scouting… a much needed breath of Scouting’s fresh air!
Camp Baldwin and Troop 664 recharged my batteries. I refocused this week and had some time to reflect.
I love Scouting!
Have a Great Scouting Day!