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Braving The Elements - BSA Fall Camporee 2014
Five Scouts, four men, and a Bishop were brave enough to tackle the elements and find great enjoyment at the Orem District 2014 Fall Camporee. As a group from the Windsor Third Ward sponsired Troop 596, we became very bonded in the electrifying lightening, thunder, and wind blown rain filled night. And even though this could have been miserable, we all seemed to be having a blast.
RAIN - Did I mention that it rained? In fact, of the 17 hours we were there, it rained about 13 of them. The other 4 were under constant threat of more. After nearly 3 decades of doing this type of campout, I am convinced that it does not matter what Friday/Saturday they pick on the calendar, if they call it a Fall Camporee, then bad weather will happen.
MILD TEMPS - The redeeming factor of the bad rain was that the temperature was so pleasant. We did not get cold, even though most of our stuff was wet. I shook a few cold hands throughout the event, but none of them were from our troop. If the temps would have been colder, then I doubt that the dispositions would have been very pleasant.
WET CLOTHES - Yep, everything became wet. I warned the boys to take care of business before bed so that they did not have any accidents during the night. Well guess what, they all wet the bed. Or should I change that to read, their beds were all wet when they awoke? Either way, the results were the same as everything was wet and muddy, but it just did not matter. It must have been all of the bacon in those young men because Ronan and Andrew looked like a couple of porkers playing in the mud.
NO SHOWS - Unfortunately our Deacon 12-13 year old Scouts ended up with only three boys, after paying for 10 during registration, and the Bacon Boys ended up with just two of our three that we paid registration. This gave us a total of five boys when we planned on thirteen. I know the rain projections shied away at least a few. We missed the presence of the other boys, as it would have been a real galvanizing event for all the boys. But this was a rain or shine event and the leaders were set to take any and all of the boys.
RAIN OR SHINE - A rain or shine event means that we will be going, no matter what. We had been enjoying very hot summer like weather all week long, yet the weatherman said the rain was on its way. We could have easily stayed home in our nice warm beds, but what would we have learned about our character's if we had done so? I shared with the Mothers beforehand that were are attempting to help raise some tough young men and that the rain was not going to melt them. Sure enough, each young man came home tougher than when he left.
LET THERE BE FIRE - I know that I am the jinx of any Troop that I go with to the large District type Scouting events, because we can never start the fires using primitive methods as long as I am present. If I had stayed home, then the Bacon Boys would have been sizzling and burning down everything at the Wasatch Gun Club NW of Eagle Mountain, Utah. I am going to make it a goal to provide opportunities for each young man to master fire building skills... Watch out Bacon Boys!
SONS OF THUNDER - The 12-13 year old Scouts are part of the severely depleted "Sons of Thunder" patrol. Due to the need to attend a funeral their Scoutmaster was not at the event, and due to a business trip the older boys also lost their Assistant Scoutmaster. Filling in, with late notice was our new Scout Committee Chairman, Jason Gifford, as well and Anderson's Father. Both had little control over the "Sons of Thunder" preparation, and the older boys were very relieved to learn that the "Bacon Boys" were well prepared.
PROUD MOMENT - It was a proud 11-Year-Old Scout leader moment when the young men were faced with the decision whether or not the two groups would compete separately or join forces. Typically the older boys will discount the 11-year-olds abilities and not want to be around them. The proud moment came as the older boys wanted the "Bacon Boys" to be with them as that Andrew and Ronan knew the knots and were prepared for the events. The lesson learned, "Preparation Precedes Power!"
BISHOP'S VISIT - It was really cool to have Bishop Jones show up for breakfast to visit with the boys and the leaders. His day was already spoken for, but he made a point to find us and talk with each third ward attendee. He could not stay long as he was off to the hospital to visit with a good sister from the ward, but he held true to his word and made it to our camp in the pouring rain. He was hungry and I cooked him up a special breakfast. But how was I to know that he is allergic to eggs? We made him a huge plate of fresh hash browns, bacon, cheese, onion, brown sugar and scrambled eggs, all done "Mountain Man" style. He devoured the parts not containing the egg, but who knew? NOTE TO SELF: We won't make that same mistake next time. It was raining when Bishop Jones arrived, and all through the official flag ceremony, and as he drove off, it was really coming down. He brightened our day and safely left as quickly as he came.
EVENTS CANCELLED - At the morning flag ceremony they let everybody know that the event was cancelled, at least in its competitive form. Everybody could go home, if they wanted. Of the seven events, at least two were completely cancelled, but the other five became come and go as you wish activities. This meant that the boys could fling the frisbee, cut the log, light fires, lash their fishing pole, and even fly their rockets as much as they wanted.
TO ROCKET OR NOT TO ROCKET - About 8 minutes before the boys were scheduled to depart for the flag ceremony, I reminded them that we had never built a rocket. I assured them that we had the raw materials, and that it would be much more fun if they had a rocket. They had forgotten all about this the night before, so they said okay and we attempted to build a rocket underneath our pop-up with everything wet. We made some very crude tail wings, shoved some scrub oak into a foam cup, used a roll of clear tape, and then stuck Bacon Boy stickers all over the 2 liter bottle. It was crude, but they just knew it was much better than nothing.
IN SUMMARY - I was very proud of the 5 young men, the four leaders, and the Bishop. They showed their true character amidst what could have been a miserbla event. Ronan and Andrew expressed to me on the drive home that the campouts are absolutely the best part of Scouting. Second was all of the fun during the weekly meetings. All I can say about these two young men is, "Watch out world, the Bacon Boys are coming!" These young men are well on their way to becoming Eagle Scouts and they are sure to be two of the finest and best prepared leaders in the decades to come... Go Bacon Boys!!!
Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah