Welcome to the 2013 edition of the Troop 221 Summer Camp Blog.  You can read the daily updates and view a few images from Camp Daniel Boone, our Summer Camp destination for 2013.  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.

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Good Morning from Camp Daniel Boone.  After a solid week of rain here, everyone is happy to see blue skies this morning.  Hopefully, we’ll have more sun than rain this week.  Our trip up was pretty easy, we had great drivers and a nice bus.  We stopped in Benton, AR at 8:30 pm for a stretch and snack break.  If you could see the snacks and drinks that your boys buy when we turn them loose, you’d probably freak out…  It’s a lesson in digestion that I guess they need to experience once a year to appreciate.  We stopped again in Memphis around midnight to pick up our other driver and finished the drive without any issues.

Since our rafting trip was cancelled, we decided to drive thru the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Despite the fog and light rain, the scenery was still really nice.  We drove up to the summit of Clingman’s Dome with the intention of hiking to the top.  It was raining and so foggy that we couldn’t even see 15 feet in front of us…so, we decided to setup breakfast instead and we ate and ran.

We took our time coming down out of the park and stopped in Waynesville, NC for lunch.  After lunch, we took a slight detour to the urgent care clinic in town to have 2 boys with sore throats tested for strep.  Thankfully, they were both negative and we could move on without having to worry about that.

We rolled into camp around 2:30, unloaded our gear and started the always arduous check-in process.  By the time we got our medical checks, swim checks and our camp tour, it was 7:00 pm.  We had about 30 minutes for dinner and then we were right into the evening flag ceremony.  Unfortunately, we had to skip Vespers and the Opening Campfire so we could get our camp setup and get the boys organized for Monday.

From what we understand, the lake here is usually pretty cold and with the large amount of rain that they’ve had in the area, it’s now really cold.  Because of the water temperature, about 1/3rd of the boys bailed out of the swim check and will have to find another merit badge.  The camp is super flexible with the class signups so we don’t anticipate any problems getting the boys into another choice.

The camp is very scenic.  There are foothills/mountains in every direction and a raging river (right now anyway) flowing right thru the middle of camp.  We can hear the river roaring by from our tents; not a terrible way to fall asleep.

Day 1 was a grind, as usual, and I’m glad it’s behind us.  I’m really looking forward to our first full day of camp.  Enjoy the pictures, we’ll have alot more to choose from tomorrow.

Day 2

Monday was a good day. Kendall got the boys up at 6:50 so we could have our 1st team meeting of the week. We did our thing in camp and went to morning flags and breakfast.  The boys started their classes at 9:00.  After a little bit of a struggle to find everything, they seem to be hitting on all cylinders.

While the boys are in class, the adults spread out all over camp.  Mr. S stayed pretty close to the TFC patrol today and the rest of us bounced around.  We took a short break this afternoon for our first “staff meeting”; a cleverly disguised excuse to eat ice cream.  If you can eat one of every available ice cream throughout the week, it’s called eating for the cycle…   And then there’s the hat trick; it’s rare but someone will pull one off this week I’m sure.

After the last class period, we started our bean bag tournament. We got quite a few matches in before we had to stop to take care of some camp duties.  The boys cleaned the shower and bathroom facilities closest to our camp.  It went pretty quickly and they did a nice job; check that one off our list.

We had two small downpours today, otherwise the weather was great.  It was about 50 when we got up this morning and it’s nice and cool out there now.  Tomorrow the boys will be in the groove; they know where they’re going and they have a feel for how much time they have to get there.

One thing we’re really liking about this camp is that there are several hours of free time in the afternoon.  During free time, all the program areas are open for them to work on merit badges or experience pieces of the MB’s that they’re not taking.  It’s a great balance…

Good night from CDB.

Day 3

Good Morning Campers.  We got off to a slow start on Tuesday but it picked up nicely and was a great day.  The boys are tearing thru their Merit Badges.  Some will start finishing some of their classes today.  Many of the boys taking: Archery, Rifle & Shotgun have already qualified.  Logan H was the first Scout at camp to qualify on the rifle range.  He recieved a patch (& bragging rights) for his marksmanship.  Now he’ll be coaching the rest of his group.

The climbers started climbing today. The wall is challenging but they’re loving it.  It’s pretty awesome to watch the guys that aren’t exactly comfortable with heights get past it and make it to the top of the wall and then rappel back down.

Three of the boys were able to get into the Animal Science MB and they went over there last night for the 1st of two classes.  Among other things, they watched a sheep get sheered & a chicken get hypnotized.  What more could you ask for…

The bean bag tourney is well under way, we’ll be chipping away at more of that this evening.

We also took a trip last night to the top of camp and went to Boonsboro Village.  It’s an area of camp that is set in the late 1800’s.  The boys had root beer and participated in the unofficial “Pirate Awareness” Merit Badge.

The senior boy leadership is doing a fantastic job.  I couldn’t say enough good things about them.  The commissioners came into our camp last night right as Kendall had called a troop meeting to discuss some things.  The commissioners were blown away by how that was handled and they were equally impressed by our campsite.  They thought it was extremely nice and organized..especially with the large number of boys we brought to camp.

We have 8 Boards of Review to do while we are at camp and Mr. Holland will kick those off tonight.

Have a great day; we surely will.

Day 4

It’s Wednesday at Camp Daniel Boone.  Boy, this is a great camp!  The program has been outstanding.  The staff here is well coached, friendly and they really seem to get it.  A tiny example; when the boys finish one of the Handicraft MB’s, like Art, the staff rotates them into another one.  Several of the boys are picking up bonus MB’s as a result.

Other Scouts have also signed up for additional merit badges. Christian W is going to complete Metalwork because of his own initiative.  He started talking to the blacksmith in Boonsboro Village and has been going up there during his free time to complete the requirements.

The adult leaders were treated to a Trout bake at lunch today.  It was pretty awesome; the fish were caught a few hours earlier in the day.  We also had what turned into a banana pudding eating contest.  Mr. Cleckler won; he’s our version of Joey Chestnut.  We can’t figure out where he puts it; but man, he can eat.

Today was the first day that we received mail and we started off with a bang.  The Buercklin’s are the leaders in the clubhouse so far; the adults decided that Mr. Buercklin sends himself mail.  There were 13 letters among the packages and 10 of them belonged to the Buercklin’s.  Well done Buercklin Family!

This evening we had the famous CDB Hoedown.  They serve cheeseburgers outside on the lawn with live music and highlander games.  It was also visitor night, so there were tons of families walking around.  Our hoedown turned into a downpour so we ate inside and had to settle for Rita’s Italian Ice.  The games were cancelled but the boys were ok with that because it meant we had more time for our Bean Bag tourney.  But…then it really started raining.   Our night ended pretty quietly; some boys were playing cards in their tents when we came down to work on this update.  The rest were either showering or sleeping.

Amidst the rain, we did manage to hold 3 BOR’s tonight.  Thomas C has earned the rank of Life and Thomas R & Andrew D have both earned the rank of Star.  Way to go boys!  We have 5 more BOR’s on the week’s schedule.

Despite the daily showers, we are having a great time at camp.  The boys would definitely like to come back to this camp.

Until tomorrow…

Day 5

Thursday got off to an early start.  We had a 5:45 wake up call for the Polar Bear Swim.  We had 9 boys participate and 1 adult.  Aside from the participants, we had about 10 “supporters” go down.

For the 30 boys that participated, the object was to get from the beach to the “iceberg” floating in the water by the pier.  The iceberg was a watermelon that was kicked off the pier once the boys hit the water.  Aaron M. was an absolute BEAST.  He came off the beach like he was shot out of a cannon and then swam like Michael Phelps.  He reached the watermelon first, grabbed it and turned around.  About that time, Thomas R. got into full hockey defensive mode and escorted him back to the beach.  There was quite a celebration when they came out of the water.

The boys carried the “iceberg” around camp for the entire day.  Great stuff!

For the adults, they had to jump in and tread water for 1 minute and then swim to shore.  Mr. S represented our boys along with 2 adults from other troops.  The boys went nuts when Mr. S made it to shore.  What a great start to the day.

At this point, the merit badge activity is peaking; there are tons of them that are complete and hopefully everything that can be completed will be on Friday.  That’s our direction to the boys anyway…

In the afternoon, Mehul and Evan participated in the Canoe Race and finished 2nd by inches.  Incredible finish among 15+ boats in the race.  The person with the camera had a runaway nap and arrived a few minutes too late to get pictures :-(.   After the canoe race, the boys participated in the tug o war competition.  They won 1 and lost 1.  They didn’t take the defeat too hard; they dropped the rope and headed back to camp to make some more progress on the Great Bean Bag Tourney of 2013.  As of Thursday evening, there are about 12 matches to be played.  It has been tons of fun and fostered an equal of community; JACKPOT!

We had another epic mail call yesterday.  We had 4 separate deliveries and tons of fun handing it out…  Thanks parents for putting the effort into get something out to your boys; mail call is something to behold.

We had 10 boys participate in the Wilderness Survival Outing last night.  They left camp with a trash bag, an emergency blanket and their survival kits.  They arrived back in camp before sunrise this morning.  It was nice to hear their voices and know that everyone made it.  I look forward to hearing the stories.  Not many can say they slept overnight with only the basics in a shelter that they built.

One final note about the boys.  I sat in on the Cooking MB yesterday and when it finally came time for them to cook, our boys were at each of the 4 stoves.  You can tell how comfortable and experienced they are; each one of them really stood out in their groups.

We had another round of BOR’s last night.  Congratulations to William A for attaining the rank of 1st Class, Aaron M for earning the rank of Life and Alec I for earning the rank of Life.  Well done boys!

I realize I’m posting a gazillion photos; we’re doing our best to get everyone.  Some of the boys are easy; some we have to really hunt down.

We’re having SO much fun.  Talk to you tomorrow.

Day 6

Friday was another exceptional day at CDB.  Unlike alot of summer camps, Friday is a regular class day vs. a make-up day.  Almost everyone had to go to at least a couple classes to finish something.  It was definitely the slowest day at camp; schedule-wise.

At the beginning of the week, Kendall issued a challenge to the troop, to earn the Long Rifle Award.  The Award is given to the troops that satisfy a bunch of requirements: complete the orienteering course, visit with another troop, perform a flag ceremony, average at least 90% on all 5 campsite inspections, etc.  It’s a long list and it took alot of focus for the boys to get it all done.  Kendall kept everyone, boys and adults, on task and the troop did indeed earn the award.

Kendall was a leadership machine this week.  Being the SPL during summer camp is the toughest leadership challenge I think there is as a Scout and Kendall knocked it out of the park.  He was really a pleasure to watch.

After lunch, the BOR Team of Mr. Boyd, Mr. Holland & Mr. Meagher completed the final two BOR’s of the trip.  Congratulations to Samuel for earning the rank of 1st Class and congratulations to Corey for earning the rank of Star.  Woo-hoo!  Altogether, we had 8 boys earn a new rank at Summer Camp.  How awesome is that?

In the afternoon, the Scouts taking Space Exploration got to launch their rockets.  Jack’s rocket suffered a catastrophic meltdown and nearly burned down the launch pad.  In the end, it sputtered out, went a foot in the air and stuck nose down in the mud…Jack thought it was hilarious.  The rest of the launches went off without a hitch.

After the last class period, we concluded our Bean Bag Tournament.  The finale came down to Thomas R & Griffin (Consolation Bracket) vs. Jake & Logan (Undefeated).  They had to play back to back games and the team of Thomas R/Griffin won both games to claim the title of 2013 Troop 221 Bean Bag Champions.  Can’t wait to do that again next summer!

While the bean bag tournament was going, Christian & Max built an entryway for our camp.  It is the first entryway that we’ve had at any campout in at least the last 6 years.  It was an outstanding display of pioneering, initiative & tenacity.

Just before dinner, we dragged the boys down to the field near the dining hall for a portrait photography torture session.  We took our troop photo, the last of the patrol photos, siblings & dad/lad photos.  It was worth the effort; Mr. Buercklin got some great stuff.

After dinner, it was our turn to sweep & mop the dining hall.  Kendall organized it; it was a total team effort and we were out of there in an hour.

Our last evening at CDB ended like it began; the final campfire was rained out.  Everyone rolled back to camp for showers and to begin packing.

Final Thoughts

Camp Daniel Boone was fantastic.  Measured by the things that are most important, I’d rate it the best of the 6 summer camps that I’ve had the pleasure of attending.  The staff was top notch and right away we could tell that they were focused on making sure the Scouts had a great time.  It did rain everyday, at least once, but the tradeoff was high temperatures in the mid-70’s.  With mountains surrounding the camp and a river running thru it, the setting was surreal.  Camp food is usually pretty dicey but several of the boys mentioned food this morning as one of their roses…because it was also great.

Summer Camp is a time for everyone to come together.  For the 1st Year Scouts to get to know the older boys and vice-versa.  A week-long camp also offers several significant challenges: leadership, personality, homesickness, conflict resolution, nutrition, budgeting and many more.  Those challenges are the reason that there is no replacement for this experience.

I’m proud of the boys; they really looked out for each other this week and that is always at the top of my list of objectives.  They also worked really hard; the vast majority attended all of their classes.  Most of them went to extra sessions and, in the end, they COMPLETED 154 out of 210 Merit Badges.

I can’t think the adults enough for their service, time and talents.  Thank you so much for sending your men to camp.  I’m not sure who had more fun this week, the boys or the adults…  Thanks to Mr. Buercklin for taking pictures, Mr. Beckman for doling out the cash, Mr. Boyd for staying on top of meds, Mr. S for sticking close to the TFC patrol, for taking the Polar Bear Plunge and just for being Mr. S.  Thanks to Mr. Holland for leading the BOR effort, Mr. Meagher for organizing our Bean Bag Tournament and Mr. Cleckler and Mr. Sims for filling in all the gaps.  Our adults are always very active and visible at camp and I love that about us.  I will miss our daily 2:30 “staff meeting”.

A final thanks to Mrs. Neukranz and Mrs. Barden for getting us organized, scheduled & properly documented.

Summer Camp 2013 = Success!