In July, Troop 221 went to Camp Alexander in Lake George, CO.  Camp A has to be one of the top 3 Summer Camp destinations in the country; they don’t call it Camp Awesome for nothing.  Keeping our tradition, the text that follows are the trip reports sent home each day along with a dozen or so pictures from camp.  Click the image to see the whole gallery.

Day 1

So far, it’s everything they said it would be…  We woke up to 46 degrees this morning; it was awesome.  They say today will be the hottest day of their season so far…87.  We had to contain ourselves.  We had an uneventful bus ride and made it to Colorado Springs early Saturday morning.  After completely overwhelming a McDonald’s (with 4 other troops), we went to the Air Force Academy.  It was an awesome campus.  We found a scenic spot along the Chapel trail and Zach led us in a church service.  There is a little extra sweetness to serving God with mountains in the background.  We visited the Chapel and took a few pictures and went over to the gift shop and watched a video about what it’s like to be a cadet at the Academy.  They take 1,300 students a year and we talked about what a difference being an Eagle Scout could make in that endeavor.

We loaded the bus and headed towards camp.  After we swamped another fast food restaurant, we headed to camp and arrived at 1:15.  We were recognized multiple times along the check-in process for our extreme preparedness (thank you Dee!).  Our troop guide said that despite being a large group, we were the most efficient group he’d dealt with so far.  Another topic we were sure to talk to the boys about…

We went over schedules last night and prepped the boys for their first big day.  So far this morning, they’re doing well.  We’ve done a few last minute escorts to class but by and large everyone knew right where to be.  Sunday was a very long day and a few of the boys were feeling it last night.  We encouraged them and sent them to bed and today was a brand new day.  To a very large degree, this experience is about being stretched.  That’s not always easy but the end result will make it all worthwhile.  As I write this, the boys are in second period and I’m anxious to get out of this building and go take some pictures.

Day 2

We survived our 1st full day of camp.  Survived is the key word; it was a tough day.  Going from our elevation of 600 feet to this one at 8,300 has been tough on a few of these guys.  Everyone is working thru it and I couldn’t be prouder of the progress that they’re making.  The boys are engaged in their MB classes and doing the extra work when they get the opportunity.  Watching 17 boys exercise this much independence and make their own decisions is really something to see.  At times, I also think it would be great material for a reality show…

A whole bunch of them participated in the open activities last night; it’s great to see them making the most of their time here.  The camp is very scenic, aside from the mountains on all sides, we have deer, geese & plenty of mini-bears (chipmunks) roaming around.  The camp staff sang Happy Birthday to Adam & Ryan yesterday at evening flags; that was pretty cool.  We attended the opening campfire last night and it was really well done.  The staff performed tons of skits, sang songs, etc.

Today most of the boys are getting into the fun parts of their classes.  The archery, rifle & shotgun guys are shooting stuff and the climbers will be climbing & rappelling.  Our Troop was in charge of serving breakfast to the entire camp this morning and the boys did a great job getting organized and serving.  We’ve had very little free time in camp so far but tonight we’re planning to get our in-camp tournament started.

Day 3

Yesterday was a great day at Camp A!  The boys are rocking along and doing fun stuff in class.  Our camp is beginning to look like Garden Ridge with all of the baskets and other projects going on.

We finally had a bit of free time in camp yesterday, which was very welcome.  The boys played bean bag toss & ladder golf, cards, and just sat around and goofed off.  Most of the boys went to do activities last night but most of them were cut short because of the rain :-(.  Everyone stayed dry and we really didn’t have any issues with leaking tents or wet gear, yay.I’ve included a few pictures of the boys serving breakfast yesterday.  It was pretty cool to see all of them enjoying that opportunity.  We only had two very minor issues yesterday that required a trip to the Med Lodge, so I think we’re over that hump.

As of this morning, all 35 of them are smiling and the adults are doing well too.  If I told you how much fun we’re having, we wouldn’t have enough room for boys on the bus next year.  Mr. Sims is handing out cash like no one’s business and Mr. Virmani is staying really busy running the boys to the Quack Shack for meds twice a day.  As a group, we took nearly 600 pictures yesterday and still managed to make a stop for ice cream in the afternoon (some people who shall remain nameless; Frank & Mike, went twice).

Tonight we’re surprising the boys with Pizza for dinner in our camp (shhh..), I think that will be well received.  The camp food here has been ok; about what we’ve experienced that last 3 summer camps.That’s all for now.  Sorry to overwhelm your inbox; there were too many good ones yesterday not to share with you guys.

Day 4

Yesterday was the day that we’ve been looking for…  Summer Camp started winning the battle for the hearts and minds of our scouts; it was a magical day.  We had some of those moments that make all of this worthwhile: scouts are working together & nudging each other to finish merit badges, the patrols are working together to complete in-camp duties, the boy leadership has been outstanding.

It’s a very busy time for a Senior Patrol Leader; he has his own meetings to attend in addition to his classes, he has to move the whole troop around to attend meals, ceremonies, make sure the troop’s camp duties get completed.  I couldn’t be prouder of the older boys, they are setting a great example with their work ethic and their willingness to put the other boy’s needs before their own.

Quite a few of our guys have finished Merit Badges already and are attending other classes to see what they’re like.  Our Troop Guide is a middle school teacher and has been the best example of camp staff that we’ve ever had.  He came into our camp last night and ate pizza with us and helped the TFC boys by completing the first class requirement involving citizenship.  Mr. Buercklin & Mr. Sims setup an orienteering course yesterday and that is on our afternoon agenda.  On the advancement front, we’ve got 1st Class BOR’s scheduled tomorrow morning for Thomas & Scott.  If all goes as planned, they’ll be recognized at the closing campfire tomorrow evening for earning a rank while at summer camp.  How cool is that?

We had quite a bit of rain yesterday but that didn’t stop us from kicking off our bean bag toss tournament.  We played a couple hours in the rain before it finally quit.  It was an outstanding evening for the boys.  We had great pizza for dinner and that was also a huge hit.  A few lucky folks even had cold pizza for breakfast.  15 of our guys hit the road this morning for the whitewater rafting trip.  I have no doubt that they’ll come back exhausted tonight with tons of stories to tell.  They’ll be away from camp for 12+ hours today leaving me & Mr. Sims & 14 boys to eat all the ice cream in the trading post.

The camp staff sang Happy Birthday to the Zach’s yesterday.  It was actually just Zach S’s birthday, but we goofed up & put both of them down on the list.  Zach H. went along with it & that made it even funnier.  We also sang to Zach S. in camp last night while he unloaded a box full of goodies that Mrs. S sent him.  Speaking of sending stuff, thanks to the parents that have sent letters & care packages.  You have no idea how much fun the boys have with that.  Special thanks to the Buercklin’s for sending a box full of M&M’s and glo-sticks for the whole troop to share.

We have a fox that visits our camp regularly and does his part to reduce the mini-bear population.  He walked within a few feet of Frank and posed for quite a few photos.

Day 5

Yesterday was sort of a quiet day around camp.  About a 1/3 of our crew was out doing some crazy whitewater stuff and the rest of us hung out around camp and worked on advancement.  Brandon is now thru the Scout rank and most of the way to Tenderfoot and as of about 60 minutes ago, Scott & Thomas are 1st Class 🙂

We had a great time on the orienteering course.  The boys in the boat picture were the lucky participants and that was one of their stops.  The amount of personality in this group of boys is really something.  The boys that remained on “campus” yesterday got to clean the restroom and showers.  It was an interesting experience but they knocked it out without any complaints.  Also in this group of photos is a picture of Brad after he missed the morning wake up call; funny stuff..

There are quite a few photos from the rafting trip.  They had a great time and had tons of stories to tell.  They definitely got their money’s worth yesterday.

This morning, we took 14 boys and 5 adults on a 5 mile hike.  We climbed 1,200 feet in elevation and the coolest part was that we woke up at 2:30 am and hit the trail at 3:30 am.  It was pretty sweet to watch the sun rise from the top of the mountain.  Today will be a long day for several of us.  We’re planning to finish our tournament this evening and start the arduous task of packing up and putting the camp back together.  We’re planning to hit the road around 8:30 tomorrow morning.  I’ll send our final update from the road.

Day 6

Friday was a fantastic day at camp.  19 of us started the day @ 2:30 am when we went on the 5 mile hike to watch the sun rise on Blue Mountain.  It was a great hike and the boys (& adults) did well.  Most of us went to bed around 11 last nite, so we took advantage of the whole day…  The boys spent the first half of the day in Merit Badge make-up session.  It was awesome to watch them prioritize their time to get as much done as possible.

In the afternoon, the older boys put an Iron Man team together to compete in a camp-wide triathlon type race.  The team uniform was athletic shorts pulled up way too high.  The younger guys were running all over camp in “the uniform” trying to get in position to support their team.  Tyler kicked it off in archery, Spencer ran the baton (a banana in a Nalgene bottle) to the pool where Adam & Brandon swam a lap with Adam holding Brendan’s feet.  From there, Spencer ran the baton back to Jordan who was waiting on a mountain bike.  Jordan rode across one side of the camp to the mountain boarding area where Chris took the baton and ran up and over cardiac hill to the lakefront. At the lakefront, Reagan & Brad took the baton and went a lap around the lake in a canoe before handing it to Brian to run the final leg back to the dining hall.  The race ended with one lucky person (me) eating the banana.  We finished 4th but I loved the fact that the boys put all of it together, registered and stationed themselves around camp.

After Iron Man, the boys finished the bean bag toss tournament.  It was a great competition with tons of drama & suspense. In the end, the winning (and undefeated) team was Brian & Reagan.  We had our final mail call in the afternoon and it was quite a finale.  We had such a pile of mail and packages that Mr. Buercklin had to get on the radio and call for backup to get everything back to camp.  After mail call, we put on our Class A’s and took a few troop photos before going to the final Flag Ceremony.

Closing flags were done by none other than Troop 221.  The boys practiced several times throughout the week and they nailed it.   Brad also said the closing prayer in front of 500+.  What a great experience for our boys!  We took a picture in front of the Med Lodge with the two medics.  Let’s just say we kept them busy this week…  Our last big event of camp was the closing campfire.  Our boys put on a crazy skit about how to defend yourself against a “muggler”.  Thomas, P.J., Ryan, Brad, Mehul & Aaron were the stars (and I think the creators).  It was really funny.  We had almost as much fun watching the staff struggle to catch their breath.  Another great story for the boys to remember.

As I write this, we’re at a McDonald’s in Lamar, CO.  The GPS says 10 hours and 24 minutes to go.  Add one more stop for gas and another for dinner and I would imagine we’ll roll in around 1:30 am.  We’ll have the boys contact you about an hour from home.

I just can’t thank you enough for your support.  Thanks for trusting us with your boys this week (and your husbands).  We had a great time, grew alot and made tons of memories.  I could write all day about the great things we’ve seen this week from your boys.  You should be proud.