Thursday, October 30, 2014

J's BSA Report for October 2014

This month in Cub Scouts: At the first meeting, J's den did the Leaf Rubbing activity from the Tiger Cub Handbook. We volunteered to bring in the materials, a fairly easy task. All we needed were crayons, paper, and leaves. The boys had fun learning more about nature.

J's leaf rubbing

The next weekend was the fall camp out for J's pack. He's been excited about camping as a scout ever since he read a biography of Neil Armstrong that described his childhood adventures as a scout, including camping and orienteering. Camping started on Friday night but J has religious education on Saturday mornings, so we didn't head out until late Saturday morning. We arrived at the camp ground just after lunch was finished (we'd stopped along the way so we were okay).

Path to our campground

J excited to be there

Our equipment was almost entirely loaned--the tent from Auntie M and one of the sleeping bags from Auntie R. Set up was a snap and we were soon ready for activities.

J in the tent

The first activity was cutting wood for the campfire. The scouts had a variety of hand saws, including bow saws, chain saws (not motorized, just the saw), folding saws, etc. J enjoyed this activity. The satisfaction that comes from getting through a whole piece of wood is hard to duplicate. I was busy helping, so no pictures!

The next activity was a relay race through a small course in the woods. Scouts had to walk a beam, then hop from stump to stump, then toss a small branch through a hole. Between each, they had to do ten jumping jacks. J didn't have the best jumping jack skills, but very few of the boys had skills much better. Plus, the running and the course challenges were a lot more interesting than doing jumping jacks.

J comes in for a tag

Another game was ga-ga ball. We lined up nearby benches to make a large circle and the boys got inside. One boy bounced a ball. After two bounces (counted "ga, ga") the ball was in play. Players swatted the ball with their hands trying to hit other players in the leg. A hit on the knee or lower meant the player was out. The last player is the winner and bounces the ball in the next round. J was great at dodging but not so good at aiming the ball. I see a lot of ga-ga ball in our future.

Scout master explaining the rules

Ready to play!

The next activity was a pre-campfire campfire construction. The boys used marshmallows as stones, chow mein noodles as kindling, small pretzels and large pretzels as fuel, and candy corns for flames. Crushed oreos served as dirt to put out the fire later. J assembled his carefully then ate it gleefully.

J's campfire

A spontaneous activity for the boys was mining near an uprooted tree. They pretended they were getting minerals from the ground and building a house from those materials. This activity was particularly popular.

Near the minecraft mine (which was also the sawing area)

We ate a yummy spaghetti dinner and had the campfire in the evening. Part of the campfire is singing songs, another part is doing skits. J's den leader didn't make it at the last minute because of a family cold, so I was field promoted and led the Tigers in a short skit. It was fun but not really rehearsed. Later, J told me he was a little embarrassed by it but not too badly. Next trip we'll practice ahead of time.

We didn't stay up to make s'mores because J was wiped out by the activities and the long day. He's usually in bed by eight and the campfire didn't end till nine or half past. We turned in for the night, which was a very cold night. The temperature fell to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. We got up once about five a.m. to use the toilet. The stars were amazing and plentiful.

In the morning we were the first up and I had the first cup of coffee from the pot, which was nicely warming.

Sunday morning, almost light out!

Sunday breakfast included oatmeal, fruit, bagels, and some leftover eggs and sausages from the day before. No need for a refrigerator when the weather is in the low 40s! After breakfast was some more minecrafting followed by a short, age-appropriate, ecumenical religious service. We broke camp, helped haul all the pack's equipment back to the trailer, and headed home with happy memories of camping.

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