Thursday, June 1, 2017

Spring 2017 Cub Scout Campout

The spring camp out with our Cub Scout Pack was fairly laid back. Held in the later half of May, most of the scouts were already done with their requirements for advancement. The only specific goal we had was to have fun. The pack typically camps from Friday night to Sunday morning. We typically show up on Saturday. Usually it's because religious education is Saturday morning (which has higher priority than Scouts) but this time we came the second day since my daughter was a first time attendee (family members are welcome). We wanted her to have a good experience and didn't want to overextend her.

We found the camp ground (about an hour and a half away without traffic) and I set up the tent with my son and daughter helping. I also had help from the toddler (who was there with Mommy in a separate car). We wanted to expose him to camping as well, trying him out with an afternoon nap in the tent. More on that later.

Our gear and almost finished tent

Getting feedback from my supervisor

The campground had a lot of wooden pallets for underneath the tents, which kept things extra dry. Two pallets next to each other just about covered the area of our tent.

The pack planned a hike before lunch. I stayed at camp to finish setting things up. Mommy took the three children on the hike, which was short and fun by all accounts.

Toddler and daughter on the hike

Trying to pose for a picture

A much better pose

Falling behind the pack (luckily Mommy was even further behind)

I only brought two inflatable mattresses, so we went to the camp store to see if they had anything available/on sale, since the pallets, while keeping us dry, would probably not be so comfortable for sleeping. All we discovered was candy that the kids wanted to buy. We also discovered the swimming pool (not yet open) which had the biggest Connect 4 game I've ever seen.

Normal-sized building or normal-sized Connect 4?

Back at the camp we had lunch which was sandwiches and chips, with water and fruit punch in big coolers. We took a few pictures while we were hanging around.

Toddler on his own

The scout in his Orioles cap

After lunch, the boys (along with my daughter) were divided into two groups to learn two activities: building a shelter in the wilderness and starting a fire without matches.

Sitting around waiting to be divided

My children were both in the second group and started with the shelter (Mommy and the toddler went for a nap in the tent). A nearby tall tree stump provided the foundation for a shelter. The boys and girl collected big branches for the skeleton and leafy branches for the cover.

First part of making a shelter

Bringing in branches

Scout in shelter

The shelter half-way done

Adding more cover

Coming out the "door"

A happy worker

The two groups changed stations and my son and daughter started learning how to light a fire without matches. The leaders brought various flint and steel combinations to try, along with dryer lint and twine rope to make kindling. The kids had a tough time getting the fire to start but eventually both were able to do it.

Watching a demonstration

It's impossible to deliberately get the sparks in a photo

Working with a little kit

Blowing to encourage the fire

Flame on!

By this point my wife and toddler had come back to the activity area, unable to fall asleep. I took the boy back to the tent and repeatedly sang him the same lullaby until he conked out. Yes, I bored him to sleep!

Mommy got a picture of us napping

After nap time, the toddler got up, had a snack, and asked to go home. To ensure the positive experience, my wife took him home right away, which meant they missed dinner. Well, they missed the camp dinner--they stopped at Chick-fil-A on the way home for their supper!

The camp dinner was "walking tacos." Diners received a bag of Doritos which they crunched up and then opened. They then had the option of putting the chips on a plate or leaving them in the bag. The servers added beef, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and taco sauce (or a combination thereof) to the chips. The bag makes a handy container and enables the diner to walk and eat. Most everyone elected for the plate. Usually I am up for the exotic style but I figured I'd get more toppings if I used the plate, so I used the plate.

After dinner, preparations were made for the campfire, which included skit practice and more lighting of fires without matches or lighters.

Getting some more practice in

Cubmaster working on the big fire

The big fire going

My daughter had a star part in one skit and told a few jokes. My son was in a different skit and also had a joke or two. We sang songs and made smores. It was a fun night.

Roasting marshmallows, of course!

Sleeping at night wasn't too bad for the kids. My son got up twice to go to the bathroom which was typical. I had a couple of blankets under my sleeping bag and slept about as well as I ever have while camping. Our big problem was the slight tilt to the pallets. In the morning, we woke up on one side of the tent.

We woke up early (just before 6 a.m.) and wandered over to the toilets one more time. Another dad was up and had coffee and hot water going. The kids had some hot chocolate while we waited for the rest of the campers to get up. Breakfast was leftover pancakes and sausage along with bagels and juice. Everyone started packing up and the boys played some more games by themselves, which actually made packing up quicker. They did help toward the end.

At the former campfire

A good time was had by all, and a good rest that night back in our own beds.

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