SCOUTING SMOKE SIGNALS

The Miami District Spring Camporee was held the weekend of May 7, 8, & 9 at the Fort Wayne Beagle Club. We thank the Club for allowing us to use their facilities. They are located close to GM but they have a substantial amount of land in conservation-set-asides and it is just perfect for a group of Scouts that practice “leave no trace” camping philosophies. Take only photographs and leave only footprints is the theme.

Many local Units descend upon the grounds on Friday evening to set up camp and prepare for the Saturday activities. Friday evening was slightly ominous as the temperatures dropped and the winds elevated. But aside from a chill or two over Friday night, Saturday morning broke with an almost cloudless sky and temperatures that had Scouts rubbing in sunscreen lotion.

After a Scout McMuffin breakfast the patrols headed out to a variety of stations to test their knowledge of Scouting skills. The various Stations judged the Scouts ability to tie many different knots, utilize those knots constructively, and construct a litter using those knots and lashings to carry another Scout 50 yards to simulated safety from an accident site.

The Scouts were also tested by the need to establish a ravine crossing approximately 6′ above the ground and between two trees that were 20′ apart. The object being that no Scout or equipment could touch the ground without a penalty being assessed. I am pleased to report that there are hardly any Scouts that are still in the ravine! Other Stations tested the Scouts various basic skills along with their attitude and Scout spirit and self-confidence. We do not teach these Scouts to quit in the middle of any endeavor.

In addition to the set Stations, the Scouts also tested their orientating skills by taking compass bearings and distances from Station to Station. The full course was about 7 miles long and included some doglegs to keep the guys sharp on their distances. They all did just great in the beautiful spring weather and many of them got an early start on their summer tan.

After a Dutch Oven dinner of chicken and mashed potatoes we held a camp-wide campfire to distribute awards and to enjoy some entertainment from various Troop skits. Some of these Scouts just may make it to the silver screen.

After the camp-wide fellowship we returned to our own campsite and Scoutmaster Bob Rainwaters looked west and pointed out the various planets and constellations as we had had a short class on the clear night sky. Then for a break we looked north at the fabulous light show going on in the Auburn area. We also gave thanks that we were south enough to watch the storm but not actually participate in it. It was a premium spring night to be out under the stars.

Sunday morning found every Unit fixing breakfast and preparing to break camp so that we might head home for Mother’s Day. One comment overheard was “this is the first time in two years we are bringing home dry tents.”

A fantastic time was had by all and the different Stations served to keep our skills sharp and up to date. The Scouting program continues to be vital and relevant and is probably the finest youth organization in the world.

The Waynedale News Staff

Gary McOmber

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