The text below was the daily Scoutmaster’s blog from Gorham Scout Ranch, Troop 221’s Summer Camp destination for 2012.  Click any image to go directly to that image. Once you’re in the day’s album, you can click next/previous to view all the images.

Day 1 

Good Morning from Gorham Scout Ranch.  Yesterday was a looong day, but a good one.  The only bad part of driving all night is that the first day is an exhausting one; for everyone…  Our drive up was easy: we changed drivers in Wichita Falls and the second driver took us all the way.  We arrived in Santa Fe around 6:00 am and went straight to McDonalds.

We had about 4 hours before our airport pickup, so..we went into town and walked around the state capital building.  Unfortunately it was closed so we didn’t get to tour the inside.  From there, we spent about 45 minutes doing patrol line drills.  The boys use patrol lines to organize before every meal, assembly, campfire, etc.  From there, we went to visit the San Miguel church.  It’s the oldest church that is still in regular use in the U.S.  It also was closed, so we used the area in front of the church for a Scout’s Own Service.  After church, we grabbed Adam, Jordan & Reagan at the airport and headed to Bandolier.  Bandolier was pretty cool, we visited the ruins and hiked the 1.5 mile loop trail.  It was a pretty quick visit, but I think the boys enjoyed it.  From there, we ran up to Espanola for lunch and finally rolled into camp around 3:30 pm.

Our somewhat late arrival made for a really busy evening.  We had to skip the opening campfire just to get ourselves squared away and prepared for Monday morning.  We ended the day with a brief meeting and a PLC and got to bed around 10:30 pm.  That’s it for today, although Monday is well under way, I’ll save it for tomorrow.

p.s.  53 degrees & awesome when we woke up this morning.  As I type this, the skies are blue, we are surrounded by mountains & life is good.

Day 2

Good Morning,

It is a great day to be at Summer Camp!

Monday started really early; the boys that had to do swim checks had to be at the pool at 6am.  Despite the early wake up call, our boys were the first ones down there.  Monday is always interesting because everyone has to figure out where things are and the boys have to start learning to manage their time.  We helped the 1st year patrol move around camp today and we will set them free tomorrow.

The view from our camp is pretty amazing.  We have two camps but they are close enough that the boys have done a good job staying together in one group.  From what I’ve seen so far, I think we picked the best two camps on the ranch.

The boys are being stretched, most of them were up at 6:00 am yesterday and the astronomy boys returned to camp around 10:30 pm last night.  They’re managing their time, their diet, their hydration & their hygiene…

Each patrol also has their share of camp duties and the boys are managing those very well.  The best part of the week for me is watching the boys come together as a group and start actually taking care of each other.  Glimpses of that are starting to appear and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of that.  We have a great group of boys (I don’t have to tell you that) and I believe they get it.

We started our 22 team, double-elimination bean bag tournament last night and it was awesome.  Thanks to Mr. Meagher for sending his bean-bag stuff for the boys to use.  For every picture we upload, there are a dozen more that I wish you could see.

The cell phone reception here is 99% non-existent and the “wi-fi” is sketchy at best.  It was ok when I sent out the update yesterday morning but gone after lunch yesterday. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Day 3

Good Morning Campers,

Tuesday was a great day at camp.  The boys are getting into the routine.  Everyone knows where they’re going and their doing pretty well at managing their time.  I realized yesterday that I’m grateful for the trading post.  It can be a source of frustration because it frequently distracts the boys from what they’re supposed to be doing…  But, without the trading post, they wouldn’t have anywhere near the challenge that they have  managing their money, their priorities (getting to class) and all the fun physical things that occur when you eat too much sugar.

The boys are really doing well with their merit badges.  Most of the 1st Year Scouts are well into production on baskets and leatherwork. It’s great to see all of that stuff strewn around camp.  The clutter and mess at least represents progress.  We’re having a great time and as of Tuesday evening we’ve not had to make any visits to the med lodge.  The boys are all doing a great job of staying hydrated.

The first day of camp, our Scout Spirit was a bit low at assembly.  Despite being the largest group, we were the quietest.  Chris has led the turnaround effort and the boys are really beginning to make sure everyone can hear the troop from Plano.  Well at least the larger of the THREE THAT ARE HERE.  There are about 190 campers here and ~ 140 of them are from DFW.

Tuesday was our first mail day and the other troops were a bit jealous when the entire stack of boxes went to our troop.  I can’t tell you how big some of the smiles were when the boys handed out the mail last night.  Some of them just couldn’t stop smiling.

Mr. Weiner has done an excellent job of teaching Communications and filling in some Citizenship gaps for the Spartans. Mr. Holland has been busy doling out the cash and Mr. Cleckler is transporting boys to and from the med lodge for morning & evening meds.  Mr. Buercklin and I are wandering all over camp taking photos and Mr. Kosofsky & Mr. Sims are being the swing men; doing anything and everything that is needed. Our adults stay busy serving the boys and that’s one more thing I love about our tradition. In case I forget, thanks a million for sending your men to camp!

Until tomorrow…

Day 4

Good Morning,

What can I say, Wednesday was another excellent day.  Several of the boys have already finished some of their Merit Badges and are starting to participate in the open activities like swimming and rifle.

The boys taking Communications started giving their 5 minute speeches and they should continue with those tomorrow.

The Spartan patrol is taking COPE which is like a ROPES course on steroids.  They started the high ROPES today.  One element they did involved climbing to the top of a telephone pole, standing on a tiny platform and jumping out to touch a rope hanging down.  The picture of Adam standing on the top will give you some perspective.  They also did an element where they climbed what looked like a hanging ladder.  COPE is mentally & physically challenging; they’re tired when they finish and they are absolutely loving it.

The guys taking horsemanship are also enjoying the course.  They spent a good deal of time working with the horses: leading, bridling & saddling them.  Most of them have also been on a trail ride already.

Mr. Kosofsky measured a few distances today because we were curious about how much we walk each day.  From our campsite to the dining hall/trading post is a little over .6 miles.  From our campsite to COPE & the Corral is about 1 mile.  From the Corral to the Shooting Range is about 1 & 1/4 mile.  We figure that most of us are easily walking 8 miles a day & 10 is probably not out of the question.  That is just one of the reasons that the camp is pretty quiet by 9:30 each evening.

Thomas R has been waking up each morning at 5:45 am to do the Mile Swim and PJ wakes up at 6:00 am to play the Bugle and wake up our camp by 6:15 am.  We usually have a troop meeting in the morning at 6:30 am, perform our in-camp flag ceremony at 7:00 am and head down to assemble on the parade grounds at 7:15 am.

Wednesday evening we had an inter-troop campfire and our boys performed two great skits.  I’m hoping the videos turned out so you guys can see how well the boys did.  The Spartans sang a Boy Scout Parody song with choreography & props and the Falcons performed their original Defense 101 skit.

As I write this, it’s 9:00 am and we’ve already had a few magical things happen this morning.  Little things that make all of this SO worth the effort.  I’ll save those stories for tomorrow.  Have a great day; we definitely will.

Day 5

Thursday started off with a real bang.  Thomas R. completed his mile swim around 7:00 am and along the way, several of the boys went down there to cheer him on.  When he finished, Mr. Cleckler radio’d ahead and the entire troop lined the trail, cheered and made a tunnel for him to run thru (it’s not just for 1st grade soccer).  Will A also had a birthday on Thursday so we had him stand in the middle of our circle after our morning flag ceremony and we shouted happy birthday to him (Gorham Ranch tradition…).  All throughout the day, the adults yelled happy birthday every time we saw him on the trail.  And then…the whole camp sang to him at lunch.

Evan said the grace before lunch and dinner in front of the entire camp and did a great job both times.  How many 12 year-olds have stood up in front of 200 people and said anything?

The Spartans also performed the closing flag ceremony before dinner last night and did a great job.  After dinner, the boys continued with the bean bag tourney and as of last night there are two teams remaining.  The championship game will be Friday evening.

Thursday was a record setting day for mail.  We had so much that the Camp Director drove to our camp twice to deliver boxes.  He commented that he’d never seen anything like that.  So…good job parents.   As of now, we have so much snack food, candy, etc. that we have to hoist 3 full trashbags up the flagpole each evening.  We’re starting to get concerned that we’re going to break the flagpole.

The majority of the boys finished the majority of their merit badges on Thursday and will have a pretty easy day on Friday.  Alot of them have big plans today to participate in open swim and open shoot.

Tomorrow morning, we have a really early start and it will be 100% crazy until we get on the bus.  I’ll do my best to send out the update but it will be late and probably be sent from our lunch stop.

See ya soon!

It’s a Wrap!

Our last day of camp was a scattered one.  About 1/2 the boys ran around camp in the morning turning in projects and attending makeup classes for their merit badges.  The other 1/2 played & hung out in camp.  A few of the first year guys convinced Mr. Holland to go Geocaching and their trip was fruitful.

We had a handful of boys that developed some sort of stomach bug and we did our best to keep them out of the med lodge with all of the other sick people.  We setup our own quarantine shelter in camp and Mr. Christian pushed water and electrolytes on the boys until they were hydrated into submission. I’m certain that they would run now at the mere site of electrolyte tablets.  It wasn’t all bad, they played cards all afternoon and most of them were in pretty good shape by lights out.

Spencer & Zach S. won the bean bag tournament. Over 40 games were played in all and the boys really enjoyed the competition.

Mr. Kosofsky & Mr. Sims made a cobbler in the afternoon to compete in the dutch oven cook-off. Although we didn’t win, we still think ours was the best…

After dinner, the healthy part of the troop performed a one hour conservation project for the camp and then attended the closing campfire.  We could hear them cheering from our campsite so it must’ve been a good one.  The Spartans were recognized for completing the COPE Course and Mr. Buercklin got to go up and do a little dancing on stage (sorry I missed that).

After the campfire, the boys packed up their gear and we went to bed around 10:30. Saturday morning we woke up at 5:30 am and the boys did an excellent job packing, moving gear and cleaning up our campsite.  After a continental breakfast and some check-out activities, we boarded the bus and rolled out just after 9:00 am.

The First Year Boys did really well on their first summer camp and, as a troop, this group was very diligent about getting to class and finishing their merit badges.  I’m extremely proud of everyone’s effort.

We’re headed home after a great week at Gorham Scout Ranch.  Thanks for sending your boys and your husbands into the great outdoors for a week of practical application.