Day 1

Sun, Jun 23

Off to Camp Buck Tom’s!  After leaving the 17 acres a little earlier than expected, we were on our way.  We cruised Legacy to 75 to George Bush and finally to I-30, which was our road of choice for the next 5 hours.  Our 1st break was a Love Fuel Stop in Hope, Arkansas about 3.5 hours into the adventure.  This must have been the stop of choice on previous trips as it was said many times, “I remember this place!”  After restocking up on the sugar of choice (candy, soda, in some case coffee or even chocolate milk), we were off again.  We hit Little Rock and switch to the I-40, which for the most part brought us to camp about 12.5 hours later.  We had 2 additional stops overnight one for the bus driver at a rest stop and then next to change drivers about 5 am in Jackson, TN.  The bus driver that brought us to camp, will be the driver to start our journey home on Saturday.

At 7 am we pulled into a city park in Lebanon, TN, again a Troop 221 destination.  Breakfast was apple, cherry, and cream cheese danishes, apples, oranges, Sunny D, coffee, nuts, and even some beef jerky.  Mrs. Henry’s brownies even made an appearance.

Even though we just ate breakfast, brunch was served at 10:45 in Crossville, TN.  The troop was given an hour for lunch and the boys disbursed between Krystal burgers, Subway, Wendy’s, and DQ.

Next it was off for the final leg of the adventure into Camp Buck Tom’s.  The roads to camp were small and very twisty.  When we arrived at camp, the parking lot was small so we were directed to a large lot away from camp.  The camp staff helped bring the luggage down to our campsite #8 and shuttled us down to the main camp.  Once at camp, staff member Donny gave us a brief tour of camp, the medical building, the dining hall, and the swimming area.  Then we were off to set up our campsite.

We are sleeping in Adirondack cabins.  We have 6 cabins, some sleep 4 others sleep 8.  For the most part we are in cabins by patrols.  I believe everyone has settled in as the hammering as finally stopped.  No the Panthers were not remodeling, but it took quite a while to hang the bug nets.

Our troop is in the 1st of 2 meal times, as the camp is about 85% full with 515 campers and adults.  Dinner was at 5:45 and the meal tonight was Lasagna, steamed veggies, garlic bread, and raspberry cake.  We also had a salad bar, and drinks consisted of water, bug juice, and lemonade.  It was nothing exceptional and we were a little rushed for dinner before the flag ceremony.  The flag ceremony will be between the 1st and 2nd meal times.  After flag ceremony we return to camp to finish setting up camp, cornhole practice and basketball.  I did see a few people napping before camp fire at 8:30.

Opening camp fire was a very interesting event.  We met the staff of the different area.  Each group came out to a unique song with appropriate theme or lyrics for their particular area.  This was followed by a variety of skits, some of which went on a bit to long.  The evening ended with the Staff singing the vespers song.

It is now 10:00 o’clock and the camp site is winding down as it has been a very long day.  The  rain so far has held off as we had sun all day.  It is very humid and unfortunately not much breeze.  Hopefully this will change.

It would not be a Troop 221 blog without a few things that adults and Scouts say.

  1. Where is the Admiral’s club?
  2. Where is the cool weather?  This doesn’t feel like 60 degrees.

Day 2

Mon, Jun 26

Yesterday, I mentioned we were in campsite #8.  Our site shares a bath house with campsite #9.  It has 2 sides, with flip signs to distinguish who is currently in that side.  It is definitely better than some of the campsite bathrooms at the Texas camps.  I only mentioned the bathroom because the shower is really cool for those that have sons that like to take long showers.  To shower, you push the faucet button and the water comes on for about a minute and then goes off.  Each side has one indoor shower and then an outdoor.

Breakfast this morning was at 7:30 AM with flags ceremony following at 8:10. Get up was 6:45 for those that were not already up.  Breakfast consists of a waffle (think Eggo waffles or if you got lucky a Belgian style), round scrambled eggs (not sure if they were really eggs), and a variety of cereal.  Yogurt and mixed fruit was also available.

After breakfast and the flag ceremony, we had free time back at camp for about an hour.  This time was spent practicing cornhole, basketball, sitting around and the bank was open to make withdrawals.  We also had a troop flag ceremony in the camp site so we are now displaying the Stars and Stripes as well as the Lone Star.  We have also hung the troop flag from the campsite pavilion, so others will know who we are.

At 9:20 classes began.  The adults made sure the TFCs made it to the correct class.  Most of the boys will have 3 class sessions this morning.  Some will be in the same class for 2 sessions.  The only exception is the Titans as most of them are in COPE (Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience) which teaches advanced team-building and problem-solving skills.

Lunch is the only meal of the day that is not divided into 2 sessions.  With 515 people in camp, lunch took a while to get through.  Lunch consisted of hamburgers w/cheese (think school hamburgers), green beans, French fries (I couldn’t tell the difference), and chocolate ice cream for dessert.  Salad and fruit was also available.

After lunch, the boys had a few minutes before their next class started at 1:50.  They will have 2 classes this afternoon.

The last class ended about 4 and all the boys came back to the campsite.  We gathered them together for mail call and this consisted of about 10 boxes and a few envelopes.  The mail was distributed, and we were about to begin the cornhole tournament, but Mother Nature had other plans.  The dark clouds rolled in and the thunder crashed and delayed the start of the tournament.  It certainly did not dampen the Scout spirit as the boys played cards, talked, and ate under the pavilion or in the Adirondacks.  It stormed for about an 30 to 45 minutes, then it was time to head up for dinner.

Dinner was different this evening as the camp has a Scout Master dinner that all the adults attended (think parents night out leaving the children at home) and the boys ate in the dining hall.  According to the menu, the boys ate chicken tenders and the adults were treated to a steak dinner with baked potatoes, vegetables, rolls, salad, and cherry cobbler.  The dinner was at the location called the Pinnacle, which is where the bus drop off was yesterday.  The boys were supervised in different activities after they ate by the staff.

The cornhole tournament began tonight and a few rounds were played before it was called because of darkness.

And now for the Day 2 installment of things that adults and scouts say:

  1. Setting: Sunday night before bedtime.  “Mr. Buercklin, Mr Buercklin.  I cannot find my stringbag with my wallet.”  Update:  the bag was found in the scout’s luggage the next AM.
  2. Setting: waiting for lunch (dining hall dumpster being emptied) Scout 1 “That smells like poo.”  Scout 2 “I grew up on a farm…I know what poo smells like…and that is NOT poo.”
  3. Setting: Monday mail call from a recipient, “Hey, that’s from my dad’s beer making kit.”
  4. Setting: Monday mail call, “You’re going to share your beer kit with us, right?

Day 3

Tue, Jun 27

Everyone is starting to get into the groove.  We know the schedule, get up about 6:20 to 6:30.  Troop announcements, and then up to breakfast.  Today’s troop announcement included a little song for Mr. Buercklin, as today is his birthday, so we sang Happy Birthday!!  But the fun did not stop there.

Breakfast today was interesting.  It consisted of scrambled eggs (not the round like yesterday, but probably boil in bag type), sausage links, a biscuit, something masquerading as gravy, and cereal.  Yogurt, blueberries and black berries were also available along with milk and OJ.

Morning flags was next.  The ceremony went off as usual and then camp announcements, ……. then remember the fun I mentioned earlier….The program director, Amy, mentioned that someone was having a birthday.  She then went on to mention Troop 221, Scout Master, and asked Mr. Buercklin to come forward.  The look on his face was priceless.  He was a trooper and went to the front as did 2 others, a Scout and another leader, that also had birthdays today. Then the camp staff took over.

The staff surrounded all 3 and started chanting and then singing the camp birthday song (think of a death march):

Chorus – Happy Birthday………. Uh (grunted) X2

People living in despair, people dying everywhere,

Chorus – Happy Birthday……… Uh (grunted) X2

One year closer to death,

Chorus – Happy Birthday……… Uh (grunted) X2


Followed by high fives all around.  So, it was quite memorable.  Video has been uploaded.  I think Mr. Buercklin really enjoyed the attention.

We returned to camp so 2nd shift could have breakfast.  The time was spent cleaning up the Adirondacks, practicing cornhole, basketball, and the bankers were also on duty.  Today was also our day to clean the bathroom, which the boys did with some adult supervision.  I would not recommend this cleaning method at home as it involved a water hose and spray nozzle.  Needless to say, the bathroom is clean enough for government work.

Classes began again at 9:20 and everyone made it to class on time.  Classes seem to be going well as one of the TFCs showed us a bowl that he created in metal working.  We also heard the archery guys were making arrows.  The COPE guys are still working in the field by the dining hall but were heading to the COPE area this afternoon.  Here is a quiz for the Titan parents.  Each Titan taking COPE has been given a nickname, which I think in some cases fits them.  So below are the nicknames and see how many you can guess.  The answers may be given in a later blog or will have to be figured out once we return.  Here are the nicknames:

  1. Warden
  2. Economy
  3. Skittles
  4. Wazowski
  5. Multiple Lamps
  6. Rake Breaker
  7. FBI


With morning classes complete, lunch was served.  Today’s menu had a Mexican theme…. Tacos or taco salad.  Each plate was given taco meat, Mexican rice, shredded cheese and then the option that made lunch a taco or taco salad – soft tortilla or tortilla chips.  Other condiments and salad were on the cold bar.  Dessert consisted of orange sherbet bars on a stick.

Afternoon classes ended at 4:00 o’clock today.  Everyone is back in camp relaxing and waiting for mail call.  Mail call was small today, only letters, but the Scouts that received them were excited.  After mail call we had a birthday cake (Little Debbie snack cakes) with 2 candles representing Mr. Buercklin’s age.  We presented his cake(s) to him on a Camp Buck Tom’s Frisbee and reversed the 2 candles.  Mr. Buercklin thought it was awesome.  We sang and then passed out the snack cakes.

Dinner was next.  The entrée this evening was BBQ chicken, green beans, baked beans, a roll, and chocolate cake.  Salad fixings were also available.  Dinner service was slow, and the adults watched the closing flag ceremony from inside the dining hall.

After dinner we had time to relax, practice cornhole, shower, etc. until 9:00 when we held our campsite flag ceremony.  This night is a very special night as it is the OA call out ceremony.  5 Scouts were called out to be OA candidates.  I will leave the suspense of which Scouts for them to disclose.  It was a very special and moving ceremony.

Weather today was sunny, a few clouds, and temperatures in the 80s with humidity and light winds.

And now for the Day 3 installment of things that adults and scouts say:

  1. Setting: Screaming/yelling/chanting from other end of dining hall unintelligible.  “Sounds like a prison riot.”
  2. Setting: Scout shows a big knife connected to a smaller knife. “Look it had a baby!”
  3. Setting: Seeing the COPE course for the 1st time. “The chances of people completing the course is like a flying squirrel jumping the Grand Canyon.  Slim to none.”
  4. Setting: Waiting for mail time. “I hope I get mail today.  I need more soldering iron tips.”  Adult – “Do you think your mom knows you need more soldering iron tips?”  Scout – “Probably not.”
  5. Setting: In camp after PM classes waiting for mail.  Adults sitting on their porch with Bandanas on – “Last time I checked this was Rockwood, TN not Compton.
  6. Setting: Lining up in patrols for OA ceremony.  Adults in one line. – “Look we have the adult patrol called the 40 somethings.”

Day 4

Wed, Jun 28

Hump day and now we are on the downhill side of the week.  Last night 4 boys had wilderness survival.  They left straight from dinner to headed into the woods to make a shelter and spend the night.  The boys took tarps, sleeping bags, and one even took a sleeping mat.  I think some had a rough night, but the good news is no rain and they all came back before breakfast.

Breakfast today consisted of French toast (think frozen style), scrambled eggs (not round), bacon, and cereal.  Yogurt, juice and milk were also available.  Flags ceremony was next (not as exciting as yesterday, no birthdays).

This morning in camp was basically the same as previous mornings, except we did not have bathroom duty.  Everyone headed to class at 9:20, except COPE which did not have to report until 10:00.

Lunch today was chicken sandwiches (think round breaded chicken from Sam’s), corn, tater tots (no comparison to Sonic), and vanilla ice cream as well as the salad bar.  It was not worth the wait we endured to partake.

In the afternoon, COPE finally got to do some fun things today, like trying to get everyone over a 10ft wall without using ropes.  Next, they were challenged with crossing between several stumps with slits into which they placed 2 X 6 boards of various lengths.  The object was to get everyone to the last stump by moving the boards.  Sometime the best path may have been to go backwards.  It really made them think and work together.

Classes ended at 4:00 again and everyone returned to the campsite.  Today was special and 3 TFCs had BORs (Board of Review) and all advanced to Tenderfoot.  I can tell you they were nervous as this was their first BOR, but they all did great and I think having the their 1st BOR at summer camp made it even more special.

Throughout the afternoon and evening the cornhole tournament continued.  We are getting close to its conclusion.  The father/son tournament also got 2 games in today.

Dinner tonight was held in our campsite as the dining hall is closed.  At the beginning of the day we were scheduled to have hotdogs and fixings, chips, fruit cups and marshmallows for toasting.  This changed with a chance meeting in the woods when Mr. Buercklin and I were following the COPE guys.  The gentleman we ran into was a Scoutmaster from a troop in Lebanon, TN. He was checking on his scouts in COPE.  As we were talking he mentioned his troop was having pizza delivered from Domino’s.  Mr. Buercklin called the Domino’s but was told due to the demand from many troops in camp they couldn’t accommodate anymore orders.  Upon hearing this the other scoutmaster mentioned a mom and pop pizza place in Rockwood, TN.  Mr. Buercklin called there and ordered 15 pizzas for our dinner.  The gentleman was kind enough to take Mr. Buercklin to Rockwood to pick up the pizza.  The boys were excited that we had pizza instead of hotdogs!

After dinner we started a fire for marshmallow roasting and had mail call.  A few packages were delivered tonight with many cards.  After mail call, Mr. Buercklin and the Panthers went to the dining hall to practice for the morning flag ceremony as Troop 221 is presenting the colors. They have a special surprise for the camp at flag raising!  More to come on that…

The weather today was sunny in the 80s with light winds and high humidity.  No change in the weather is expected tomorrow so we should be able to complete the 2019 cornhole tournament.

And now for the Day 4 installment of things that adults and scouts say:

  1. Setting: In line for breakfast this morning, talking with a Scout about Wilderness Survival. – Leader: “How was it?  Scout: “I hated it…..but it was fun!”(with a big grin)
  2. Setting:  Scout with a box fan in Adirondack tells leader without fan “My fan stopped during the middle of the night.”  Leader’s response: “I do not want to hear about your 1st world problems.”
  3. Setting: Mail call. – “Hey, look it’s my mom’s shoes!”

Day 5

Thursday, Jun 29

Welcome to Thursday.  Everyone is into the Summer Camp routine as we were in patrol lines by 7 and to the dining hall by 7:15. Part of the reason for being at breakfast early today is Troop 221 was responsible for the morning flag ceremony.  Breakfast today was breakfast tacos, sausage links, cereal as well as yogurt, fruits (blue berries and black berries), OJ and milk.

Flag ceremony went well.  Dylan Badowski lead the ceremony and the other Panthers handled the flags.  We received permission and pulled the Troop 221 trick again this year and flew the Texas flag instead of the Tennessee flag.  Once the flags were raised and the troop were at ease, Dylan lead everyone in a verse of “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”  Most people just stood, but the 3 Texas troops joined right in.

Morning activities were the same with the bankers holding hours and everyone getting ready for class.  Today was our day to freshen the bathroom, so that got freshened up as well.  Everyone was off to class by 9:20, except the COPE guys as they had to report by 10:00 AM, since they are in all day COPE and the COPE courses are far from everything (a good 15 to 20-minute walk to the COPE course).

Lunch today was pizza, green beans, potato chips, chocolate cake, fudgesicles, and salad bar.

Afternoon classes are currently in session and will be wrapping around 4, when the cornhole tournament will be resuming as well as a 2 more BORs.

Dinner consisted of pulled pork, rolls, cole slaw, baked beans (we have definitely had our fill of baked and green beans), potato salad, (which seemed like it was made with hash brown potatoes), and cherry cobbler.  Salad was also available.

After the evening flag ceremony, we returned to camp for evening activities.  Good thing we arrived when we did as a thunderstorm popped up with rain and even pea size hail.  We are all safe.  The storm even knocked out the electricity to the camp. (Remember each campsite has electricity on the pavilion)

Once the storm passed, The TFCs began working on a rank requirement and the others just talked in their Adirondacks.  The OA scouts had a party in the STEM building and when they return we will have mail call around the fire being built by the TFCs.

The first pass at cleaning occurred today as we prepare for Saturday’s departure.  Once each Adirondack passed SPL inspection they could enjoy some lava cake prepared by Mr. Buercklin.  The first pass cleaning will hopefully make check out on Saturday easier. (It didn’t….third time was the charm.)

The weather was really hot today with temperatures in the high 80s and humidity about 50%, so it was definitely toasty.  The storm has helped as the humidity has dropped and it is very comfortable.  Hopefully a great night for sleeping.

And now for the Day 5 installment of things that adults and scouts say:

  1. Adult leader – “One time I tricked my sister into wrapping her own Christmas presents.”
  2. Setting: In motorboat class on the lake – “Listening to song while in class with the lyrics – “I’m drowning, I’m drowning.”
  3. Setting: Scout master morning meeting.  Setting up chairs in the back of the room by the CPR dummies and other T221 leaders. – Adult #1 “Do you need some more room?”  Adult #2 “No, I have enough room back here by the dummies.”
  4. Setting: Scout dropped lava cake on the ground.  Scout picked up cake (3 second rule) and said “It’s kinda gritty but still good.”
  5. Setting: a mixed introduction session with both boy and girl Scouts. – “We need to keep an eye on them”…“the Boys”

Day 6

Fri, Jun 30

We made it!!  The final day of classes, meals, flag ceremonies, and the final campfire of summer camp 2019.  You can tell it is the end of the week as we are all tired, but the scouts are troopers and should be able to finish strong.

Breakfast was round scrambled eggs, a sausage patty, biscuit, cereal, milk and OJ.  Yogurt was also available with large blueberries.

After breakfast the bankers were open, not many withdrawals occurred as the Scouts are starting to think about the trip home.  Classes started at 9:20 again, except for COPE, which started at 10:00.

Today the COPE boys were doing the swing in the AM and ziplining in the PM.  I was able to witness several of the boys on the swing.

Lunch was sloppy joes, corn, Ruffles original chips, popsicles, and salad bar.

The boys went to their afternoon classes and the adults came back for afternoon siestas.  After siestas, Mr. Retta, Mr. Thomas, and Mr. Morrison, headed out on a hike around the perimeter of the camp, which covers about 8 miles.  Mr. Buercklin and I stayed behind to make sure nothing happened and Mr Jerrell joined us after observing some classes.

I am sad to report that for the first time in 9 years or maybe longer, the adult leaders were unable to have their afternoon ice cream meeting.  Mr. Buercklin is not happy that the tradition had to end, but the Trading Post only had popsicles for most of the week and then added an ice cream sandwich mid-week.

Classes for summer camp 2019 are now over.  The campsite is busy with activity and we are trying to get the cornhole tournament completed.  Once again Mother Nature had other plans.  We quickly cleaned up the cornhole games and the other items around the campsite and got them under cover as the skies opened yet again.  All scouts ended up spending time in the Adirondacks, talking and just being boys.  The timing of the storm was right before dinner, so we went to the dinner hall in the rain.  As luck would have it at we reached the dining hall, the rain stopped, the sun came out, and the humidity went up.

Dinner tonight consisted of turkey w/ brown gravy, mac and cheese, stuffing, steamed veggies, and pineapple upside down cake.  Salad was also available.  The adults agreed this was probably the best meal of the week, especially the pineapple upside down cake.

After dinner was the final flag ceremony.  We then went to the campfire ring and took the traditional Troop 221 camp photo as well as individual patrol photos.  After pictures we return to camp for the final mail call of the summer and instructions from the SPL.  One of the instructions is everyone must SHOWER as 14 hours on a bus is a long time.  Get up will be normal time as we are trying to be on the road by 8:30 AM.  We will have breakfast in camp as well as Roses, Buds, and Thorns.

The closing campfire was skits by the various troops.  It started with a girls troop with a participation song and then skits from about 10 other troops.  Awards were handed out from the staff in a few areas, one of which was COPE.  Our boys were recognized by their nicknames and each received a COPE shirt.  An earlier blog had their nicknames, so this is probably the best time to match the nickname with the scout.  So the answer to the quiz is:

Warden aka Cameron; Economy aka Riley; Skittles aka Matthew; Wazowski aka Jack; Rake Breaker aka Tommy; and FBI aka Mitchell.

Before the final 2019 things adults and scouts say, on behalf of the adult leaders, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to spend the week with your sons.  It has been a great week and it was neat to see how the troop pulls together to make summer camp a great experience.  It was neat to see how the older scouts interacted with the younger scouts and each scout no matter the rank supported each other no matter what the task.  It was also cool to administer BORs during summer camp.  It is such a unique experience for the scouts and the panel as well.  Health wise summer camp was a success in that we only had a handful of visits to the health lodge, mostly for tick removal.  The boys were very courteous all on our stops on the way to camp and do not expect anything different on the return trip.

And now for the final installment of things that adults and scouts say:

  1. Scout says, “There are more bugs inside my bug net than outside.”
  2. Setting: SPL in Adirondacks at night, flags not down. – Adult leader “ Hey SPL, the flags are not down.”  SPL large growl or sigh.  Adult leader “Hey is that a bear?   No it’s just the SPL.”
  3. Setting: Friday after classes. – Scout – “Mr. Buercklin, I am really tired.”
  4. Setting: Tonight in the adjacent campsite eating hot dogs and marshmallows with another troop. – Scout – “This is the best food I’ve had all week.” – Another Scout, “This is the only food I’ve had all week.”
  5. Setting: During the rainstorm in the afternoon – Adult #1 “The sounds and activities reminds me of a fraternity.  Adult #2 “Let’s name it the Alpha Pantha (aka Panthers) Sigma fraternity.”