Get your popcorn ready…
We made it to Ben Delatour Scout Ranch (BDSR) in one piece! Needless to say, we had a LONG day yesterday. Sleeping on a bus counts as a continuation of the previous day. I was thinking since I was going to have 2 seats instead of 1 I would have slept much better. The answer is no. So yea, Satursunday is a new day for T221. We left CRUMC promptly at 656p (4 minutes ahead of schedule). Mr. Buercklin (our SM) runs a tight ship. We stopped in Wichita Falls for our snack stop. Your scouts seem to always buy a haul. I am still amazed. We did a driver change in Amarillo around 1a. At the Pilot, we had a high school church group stop in as well on their way from Houston to Colorado. I think they had 2-3 buses. We had some movie entertainment on the bus. We watched the Amazon show Bosch. Oh wait… that was me on my phone. The rest of the bus watched movies consisting of a raccoon (could be related to the one I ran into in Carlsbad Caverns), a DeLorean, and some dude who kept on saying “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die!” We ate breakfast in Pueblo, CO and lunch in Ft. Collins, CO. Ft. Collins is only an hour away from camp.
We rolled into BDSR around 1245p on Sunday. The camp is very pretty. There are a lot of woods and I would say small mountains (not the true big Rocky Mountains). Off in the distance, you can see higher mountains with snow still on them. Our campsite elevation is 7700 ft. Mr. Buercklin said it’s prettier here than Camp Alexander (Camp A) which is around Colorado Springs, CO. Our campsite is the furthest campsite away and the camp is spread out. To give you an idea – I have walked over 13,000 steps today at 245p. Yesterday, we did a quick tour of the camp (since we walked by everything), did our medical check-in, and setup camp. The animals that are around here are brown bears, moose, elk, deer, and mini bears (chipmunks). The mini bears have already been spotted in our campsite. So, we need to make sure all smellables are in our bear box otherwise they will get it and tear your stuff up in the process. Our dinner was “hamburgers on the lawn.” Actually, hamburgers on the rocks. We had our opening campfire. We were told we were the largest troop here (38 scouts) and I believe we are the only troop from TX. This camp is smaller than last year’s which is fine. Last night was a clear night and stars were out. It was beautiful. No lights from the city and just quiet. This is why we like to get away from TX for summer camp.
The weather is intense. They say it’s not supposed to get above 80 this week. But being in the sun, it feels like it. And when the sun starts to go down and you are in the shade, you get cold quick. It is more humid than I thought, but less than in Dallas. And what the heck – there are mosquitos here?!?! (My wife asked me if I wanted to take Off. I of course looked at her like she was crazy and said there are no mosquitos where we are going. Yea….) Last night should be the coldest night while we are here. It got down in the low 40s. But by the end of breakfast, we were in shorts again. It did snow here 3-4 nights ago. But it melted by the time the sun rose. Hydration is important here due to the altitude and sun. The rule is 4 by 4 – drink 4 liters by 4p. You know what that means??? You got to pee – a lot.
Our typical day is we wake up at 630a. However, our SPL had an issue with his alarm clock and the scouts got up a little late this morning. Cameron F. is now the backup alarm clock. We have camp flags at 745 and breakfast at 8. First class is 9-1130 and lunch at 12. Next class is 130p-4. Open activity time 4-515, evening flags at 545, dinner at 6, and taps at 10. So, we have full days. The scouts help out in the mess hall. Each patrol has to do duty to prep the tables before meals and clean the area after each meal. Each table has to get their food and bus their tables. The food is pretty good so far. No complaints by the scouts so far.
I do have to give you an update about something very important. Bathrooms. The bar was set high last year at Woodruff, which if you recall, I said they were “spa like.” Well, they aren’t spa like here. The compostable toilets (you know, hole in the ground with a structure around it) in the campsites are nicer. The showers don’t have as a good of a setup. They have multiple shower/ changing rooms and water is hot (which was nice last night since it was chilly). But then you have to go into a separate bathroom (same building) for a sink and toilet. I know I’m being picky, but hey! Bottom line – there should be no excuse for your scout not get clean. Just not one stop shopping.
We split up and watched some of the activities today. The kayakers had a really fun morning. They got to do the swim test again in the lake here (it’s actually a pond – not a TX type lake). The water temp is in the 40s. And then they were kayaking within an hour after they started class. The pond is fed from glaciers and snow melt. The TFCs were split between Woodworking and First Aid. The Blackhawks were at COPE which is the high ropes and leadership course. I will need to check that out tomorrow. We have the tournament brackets complete and our Annual Cornhole Tournament will begin today! We have a scout bracket and adult bracket. The adults have already started the trash talking. The scouts will catch up and surpass us quickly – don’t worry. We also had a mail call today. Yes – I could “feel” the quantity of food in the packages. We may need another bear box…
We have a few things that are different from previous years at this camp. We started a tent inspection each morning. The winning tent gets $5 to spend at the trading post. Steven K. and Collin G. won today. I sense we will have cleaner tents tomorrow morning which will make it harder on me. J We will be doing a hike up Monster Mountain (mountain is a strong word) Tuesday night. It has an elevation of around 8,000 ft. We will sleep up there and watch the sunrise. It will be chilly but we will have fun. There is also a horseback overnight Wed. night. Wilderness Survival MB does their overnight Wed. night as well. If it’s anything like my Wilderness Survival MB overnight, they are probably in for a long night.
Communication up here is more “primitive” than last year’s summer camp and Dallas. We don’t have cell phone coverage. We don’t have WiFi. There is one computer in the Trading Post with a computer and it’s not a fast connection. Therefore, I will be doing things a little differently this year. I won’t be able to send pictures during camp. We will upload pictures to SmugMug after we get back. And the Trading Post closes at 8p. So, I will be sending out this blog after lunch and before dinner each day. It will be a combination of days, but I will state that in the email title. Think of it as your afternoon pick me up!
Our award-winning “Things Scouts Say” is back this year. Since it is early in camp, it is a little thin today. But that will change. We also have “Things Adults Say.” So far, that is going strong. All the adult items were done before 715a this morning. I guess coffee and some sleep does that to you.
Things Scouts Say
“Are we camping on the bus?” (said as we were waiting to get moving while on the bus)
“I can’t think right now. I hit my butt on the seat.” (it was 1a – enough said)
“When’s the popo going to let us go go?” (ummm… not really the police, and everything was fine)
“Dude, you can barely tie a square knot!” (said by the ASPL about the SPL)
“How long is the drive back home?” (followed by a Titan saying the time is the same as when we drove down here and the table laughing. The Titans crack me up!)
Things Adults Say
“I think my voice got deeper with this coffee.” (I think the troop coffee is brewed stronger on this trip)
“But coyotes are brown. They have feelings too.” (a discussion on Wil E. Coyote)
“Do you have any extra cards? I already lost mine.” (said by an adult who had lost is troop MB card before 7a Monday)
“It’s called Neptune’s kiss.” (not touching this one)
That’s it for today. I will talk to you again tomorrow.
We are getting into the groove of things now at camp. The first day of activities is always hectic. Not sure where you need to go. Running behind. I think we are in “Camp Mode” now. Today is the last day of their first rotation (what???). If you recall on Monday and Tuesday they do 2 merit badges. Wednesday and Thursday they do 2 different merit badges. Make sense now? I do think everyone is a little tired. A lot of walking and the altitude. The conversation at breakfast and lunch was much less at the tables I sat at today. I think this will perk back up in the next day or so.
Apparently, our Scoutmaster is perfect and duly corrected me on items that wasn’t correct in yesterday’s blog. COPE was changed from Monday/ Tuesday to Wednesday/ Thursday. The horseback overnight will be Thursday night (not tomorrow night). We are going to try and do Monster Mountain tonight as a troop as opposed to going with the whole camp on Wed. night. The reason for this is the TFCs have Astronomy Wed. night and they want to go do the hike. We will make a “game time decision” tonight after dinner if the weather is nice and we can see the stars. Plus, we have to ensure our Cornhole Tournament is not impacted. I mean come on – we have our priorities here.
Today the TFCs finished up the First Aid merit badge. They learned some very important first aid skills.
- It’s NOT OK to wrap a sling around the injured person’s neck (like a tourniquet).
- It works to immobilize both arms instead of just one arm (like wrapping up a hostage).
So, you TFC parents should feel safe and secure now when they come back home.
The kayakers finished their merit badge. They had to swamp their kayaks and go under the water. I was corrected again – the water temperature was the lower 50s. So, if you felt bad about them yesterday – don’t.
We did have a rescue situation yesterday. A Titan went to use the “bathroom” (the compostable toilets we have in each campsite) in a campsite that is not being used across the road since all of them in our campsite were occupado. He tried to open the door and it wouldn’t open. He yelled, screamed, kicked, but had no luck. Luckily, a couple TFCs heard his screams for help and opened the door for him. He was in there for 30 minutes. He is fine. A little embarrassed, but fine. I don’t believe there will be permanent scarring.
We had tent inspections again today. A big improvement from yesterday. The winners today were JJ and Jake. So, they will get their choice of some cold hard cash or some relief of doing kitchen duty. The TFCs had the biggest improvement. Working with one of the Troop Guides was a big help in this area. We are planning a troop conservation project on Friday afternoon at the camp. We will be moving some gravel that has migrated down the hill in front of the mess hall and distribute it better. It’s always good to give back to the camps.
We had our first mail call yesterday. Again, I didn’t do it to Mr. Buercklin’s satisfaction and he has banned me from ever doing mail call again. He made me cry. The boys got a lot of loot. We didn’t have 1 mail call, or 2 mail calls… We had 3 MAIL CALLS yesterday! The staff even commented on the amount of mail. Our bear box is full. We may have to sacrifice things to make room. If we leave it up to the boys, their toilet articles will be sacrificed.
The weather has been good. No afternoon rain showers yet. It was a warmer night last night. How warm? Don’t know – my weather app isn’t working (remember – no cell coverage ☺). My feet were warm all night so I will let you do that math (don’t forget to carry the 2). I did see a sticker in the Trading Post that says “Keep calm. I’m a Boy Scout Leader.” That’s definitely for Mr. Buercklin.
I asked one of the Thunderbirds if he heard or seen anything funny today. Here is the gist of the conversation.
Me: “I am just curious. I like to hear about them.” (I didn’t tell him it was being published in an award-winning, worldwide blog)
Scout: “Is this like an inquisition or something?”
And now for the “Things Scout/ Adults Say.”
Things Scouts Say
“You need help from Snap, Crackle, and Pop?” (the ASPL bragging about his “guns” and abs)
“Is that Scoutmaster speak for put the rock down?” (as a matter fact, yea…)
“That boys a pimp right there.” (OK – this isn’t what you think. This is boy scout camp. We believe there was a staff member walking around camp last night in a suit with LED lights all over it that changed colors and would also blink. We called him LED man. The first time I saw him (he had the green LEDs going) I thought it was someone in a Gumby suit. I thought it was hilarious. And I mean the Eddie Murphy SNL Gumby).
“Mom orders a bunch of stuff from Zappos.” (a scout saw one of the care packages and immediately recognized that it was his. I don’t’ see an issue here. Zappos knows me very well, especially lately)
“I have cornhole elbow” (apparently, someone’s arm wasn’t functioning well at breakfast)
“I don’t believe in oatmeal.” (disdain for oatmeal)
“We’re not here to teach you merit badges. You are here to work the farms.” (as said by a staff member to a scout. Again, it is Colorado where a certain item is legal. And yes, he was kidding.)
Things Adults Say
I would like to point out most if not all of these are said by 7a as we wait for the coffee.
“The med shack has a green cross on it. We don’t know why….” (It is Colorado. And yes I’m kidding.)
“Mrs. Ben Stein is teaching woodworking.” (You know, the teacher from Ferris Bueller who says “Bueller… Bueller…” His wife.)
“I need to go back home. I mean my tent.” (didn’t take a day to get used to camp)
“How’s your cornhole arm?” (an adult giving a scout who lost the first round a hard time)
Well, we have had an exciting past 24 hours. Not sure if it is epic, but fun and interesting nonetheless.
Last night, we went up to Monster Mountain as a troop (the camp is going up tonight). Monster Mountain
is about a 1,000 ft. climb above the camp. It’s called Monster Mountain because some of the rock
formations jutting from it look like the back of a monster (don’t you like simple meanings to what things
are called?) It takes about 45 minutes to make the ascent. We had 24 scouts go with most of the adults.
They hiked up after dinner and got to the top before sunset. Most of the scouts were going to climb back
down before dark while the remaining scouts slept on top of the mountain overnight. And yes, they had
sleeping bags, tarps, coats, etc. We’re Boy Scouts – Be Prepared! They got to the top and the views were
spectacular. The weather was actually warmer than in the campsite (it was about 45 degrees overnight in
camp). They got some amazing pictures of the sunset. Some of the boys that were hiking down were
bummed because they didn’t bring their gear to sleep out. Most of the TFCs stayed on top. The TFCs did
a great job. They got their gear setup quickly, found spots to sleep, and were in their sleeping bags before
Mr. Buercklin said a word. And then they looked up. The stars were amazing! They could see satellites all
over the place. They could see the lights of Ft. Collins (about an hour away) and Denver (2 hours away)
as well. It was a great adventure for the scouts. Mr. Buercklin got some amazing pictures of it.
Have you ever been to Poudre Valley Hospital? It’s really very nice. New ER. Nice part of town. I wasn’t
able to try their menu but I’m sure it was good. They had WiFi (which we don’t have at camp). Oh, you are
wondering why I am including this in my award-winning blog? What else should you do on a Tuesday
night/ Wednesday morning? Well, if you didn’t get a call at 130a this morning, you have nothing to worry
about. We did have a scout twist his foot hiking and the EMT at camp wasn’t sure if it was sprained or
broken. So… an adventure to the ER was had by one scout, an ASM, and a scout camp leader. It turned
out to be only a sprain. But, he is on crutches. And being on crutches is not fun at summer camp,
especially here with the rocky and very hilly terrain. And the other item he is experiencing now, as
Clubber Lang said to Rocky Balboa – “Pain.” The scout obviously needs extra assistance getting things
done. I think I am now his personal butler.
Today we had the older boys start COPE. And as one scout said “It is the best!” They do several different
exercises that builds teamwork. One of the activities is they each picked a nickname or had one assigned
to them. They are now called this nickname during COPE class. They moved into the next activity that
had 3 soccer balls and they started throwing the soccer balls to each other simultaneously, but they had
to call out that person’s nickname before they threw the ball. Another exercise was they had boards with
ropes tied to them and they had to move around using the boards. Some of them were too smart for their
own good and just decided to pick up the board and carry it (the merit badge instructor didn’t say they
couldn’t do it). He caught on and made sure they had to have their feet on the boards. Another exercise
was they had to help each other up a big wall just using a belt. Please note some of the scouts are much
bigger than others, but this was done successfully.
I thought I would share some teenage logic with you today. As you may know, teenage logic is an
There were a couple of scouts at COPE that needed to measure 12 feet of rope. So, they put the
rope on the ground and walked foot to foot to measure out 12 feet. One of the T221 adults
commented that how do you know that’s 12 feet. He said he measured it with his feet. He was
asked his show size (an 8). The adult then said do you think your foot is 12 inches long – you
could be short a couple of feet. The scout responded if he’s a couple feet short that’s no big deal.
Also at COPE, they were using belts to help pull people up over a wall. One of the T221 adults
loaned them his belt. One of the scouts cut his hand and blood got on the belt. The scout wanted
to be courteous and give him the belt that didn’t have blood on it. He didn’t think that the size of
the belt has something to do with things as opposed to having a clean belt.
The Cornhole Tournament is progressing very well. We only have a few matches left in the Winners
Bracket, and more in the Consolation Bracket. We might be able to get finished with one of the brackets
tonight. It is really a lot of fun seeing all the scouts hanging out together (older and younger scouts),
watching the matches, encouraging each other, giving each other a hard time, and just having fun. This is
a great T221 tradition. One thing we have to do we haven’t had to do in previous years is lock up the
bean bags in the bear box. They are filled with corn. If we left them out, the mini-bears would have a field
day and we wouldn’t be able to finish the tournament. That would be a major bummer.
And now for the “Things Scout/ Adults Say”.
Things Scouts Say
“This is the best trip I have ever taken!” (TFC responding to looking at the stars and the hike up Monster
“I love ERs! They smell so good!” (a scout responding to the other scout’s trip to the ER. I have no idea
why he likes the smell. Some things will always be unknown in this world.)
“Hey, he gets a camp Uber.” (in response to the scout with the sprained ankle getting picked up in the 4x4
to take him to breakfast)
“Call me Dog.” “You haven’t earned that yet.” (a Staff member responding to a scout’s nickname request
“Call me Rosey.” (a scout’s nickname he selected at COPE)
“Your hair looks like an Oompa Loompa who forgot his hair gel.” (it is hilarious seeing this scout’s head of
hair without a hat. I wonder if it’s been washed yet????)
“We’re lucky we didn’t get rained on or eaten by a bear. It was a best case scenario.” (a scout
commenting on the success of the Monster Mountain hike)
“Putting ketchup on your chicken fingers as opposed to dipping them in ketchup is like pooping in your
pants. It’s just gross.” (I don’t follow this logic. I dip and I put ketchup on things. What’s he really saying?)
Things Adults Say
“We don’t win the Spirit Log. We get the Stick of Ambivalence.” (we are not the most spirited troop at
camp which has resulted in us getting in last to the mess hall)
“If you fall back and break your head open, I’m telling your parents you were a dumb dumb.” (the scout on
crutches describing things he might/ could do while on crutches and an adult’s loving response to such
So, they say we are in bear country. Well, we have had a couple encounters with some bears. Monday
night one of the scouts heard a ruckus in the campsite – the fire extinguisher fell over. He looked outside
his tent and saw a bear standing on his hind legs making a little noise. The scout went back to bed and
the bear went on his merry way.
Last night, a scout had to pee during the night (remember – hydration is important) and he saw 2 bears
and a cub. He quickly moved back to his tent. They went over to the bear box (that’s where we keep all
the goodies that smell and stuff that keeps us clean). And they went on their merry way.
Now this is my theory. The bears were spotted close to where we have Cornhole setup. It is obvious there
is probably some food remnants left on the ground which attracted the bears. But, they saw the Cornhole
boards. So, they want to the bear box to get the bean bags (which are actually filled with corn) and they
wanted to play. But they couldn’t. After pondering this theory, we knew it would be challenging for them to
throw the bags since they don’t have thumbs. Hence the need to practice. It’s just a theory, but a strong
one if you ask me.
The shower building has many individual shower rooms. The building uses on-demand hot water and the
4 pumps are pretty large. The more people that take a shower allows the hot water to flow. If you only
have a couple people taking a shower, it will be cold. Apparently, someone turned on multiple showers to
get the hot water flowing last night and they didn’t turn them off (there are signs on the doors that say 3
minute shower). All the water was drained from the tanks. This was occurring while I was “trying” to
shower. I turned on the shower and it was hot, but it was dribbling out of the showerhead. I decided to go
ahead and shower and the water flow kept decreasing as I showered. I was having to cup the water in my
hands for 10-20 seconds to get enough water to throw on me to rinse off. It was the most un-satisfying
shower I have had in my life. When I was done, they locked the building. So, we have quite a few stinky
people in camp at the moment. The showers should be back to normal tonight. As long as we get
showers Friday night before we board the bus, we should be good.
Today is the last day for regular merit badge classes. Tomorrow morning is make-up time for anything
outstanding. Tomorrow will be a very busy day. In the afternoon, we have our troop service project. We
need to pack up all of our stuff. We have our camp bonfire. It’s hard to believe camp is almost over.
Last night we had our troop Order of the Arrow (OA) Call Out. OA is like the National Honor Society for
scouts. They are a service organization. Members are voted on by the troop. We had 2 scouts called out
last night. I will let them share the news to you when they get back in town.
The Cornhole Tournament will be completed tonight (we have no time after tonight). We have a couple
games left in the Winners Bracket and several more in the Consolation Bracket. We had a great game
going last night. The game was down to the wire. Matthew and Will W. were on one team and they were
playing against Wyatt and Brian G. Most of the scouts were watching the game. Will was throwing and
put one on the board (which had them at 20 points – game is to 21). Wyatt threw a bag that knocked of
Will’s bag (which deducts a point) and everyone went wild. Will was able to come back and put 2 more on
the board which won the game. It was a great moment seeing everyone react to the end of the game.
Did you know mosquitos blow up when you hit them with the jet boil?
And the scout with the sprained ankle has been nicknamed “Wobbly” by the camp staff.
I have failed you… I have no quotes. Nothing. It’s like they have stopped saying funny things or they don’t
say them around the adults anymore. I think they know what I am doing and don’t want to give me the
satisfaction. I will see if I can get some for the final blog tomorrow (which will probably be pretty short due
to all that we have to do).
It is hard to believe this week has come to an end. It has sped up as the week has progressed. The
scouts have finished all their merit badge activities, and for the rest of today we are doing the following:
- A service project to move rocks back up a hill in front of the mess hall (kinda like a chain gang
without the shackles or guards with guns)
- Clean up the campsite and pack.
- Eat dinner.
- Final campfire.
Showers are an absolute must. Can you imagine being on a bus for 18 hrs. with 38 scouts
who have not showered in the past 24 hrs. (some more that that)? The adults can hence the
“requirement” to shower tonight. I do have to be honest here… I went to boy scout camp at Camp
Cherokee (which is now Trevor Rees-Jones in Athens, TX) several times. We would go in the
middle of June. I distinctly remember only showering once each summer camp. The reason-
there were wasp nests in the shower areas and I was afraid of getting stung especially you know
where. The showers here are much better, and no wasps.
Last night was eventful for a few reasons. We had 6 scouts go on a Horseback overnight. We had 2
scouts do their Wilderness Survival campout. And it rained for the first time at camp. With a little bit of
small hail for good measure.
The Wilderness Survival guys did well. They made a shelter. Made a fire. Told stories. And they stayed
mostly dry. A successful night. And there were no chickens involved.
The Horseback guys had a lot of fun too. They rode out about 1.5 hrs. in the evening. They ate chili and
drank hot chocolate (which you could see on 1 of the scout’s lips). It rained on them and they stayed
mostly dry except for one of them. He rolled out of his tarp in the middle of the night and got wet from the
ground. However, he was in great spirits this morning with a smile on his face. He has a good story to tell.
The bear adventure continues. We had a staff person stay in our campsite last night on the lookout for
bears. He instructed everyone to stay in their tents all night since he would be listening and looking for
bears. In the event he saw a bear, he was going to shoot a “big firecracker” in the air with a shotgun to
scare it away. If that didn’t work, he was going to shoot it with a bean bag. We made sure everyone knew
about this and in the event you needed to come out of your tent, you needed to yell you were coming out
and have your headlamp. We also warned them again about food in their tents and food laying around
the campsite. They must have been a little scared since the bear boxes were so full! The evening was
uneventful – no bear sightings.
And we finished the Scout Cornhole Tournament. The team of Cameron M and Braiden won. It was a
great tournament yet again. The adults are still in process in their tournament, but we aren’t sure if we will
be able to finish tonight. But I will say, the team of Mr. Latham and myself look very strong.
Our plan for tomorrow is to leave BDSR around 830a local time. We estimate we will arrive at 17 Acres
between 2-3a Sunday morning. Please be on the lookout for our text and the Glympse which will give
And now, for the final installment of “Things Scouts/ Adults Say.” And I actually have some material for
Things Scouts Say (and do)
A scout was walking towards the campsite and saw a T221 adult heading the opposite direction. The
scout asked the adult if he was going to the Trading Post. The adult said he was. The scout said he may
have left his water bottle at the Trading Post. But the scout made no attempt to go the other direction to
get it. (Maybe he was expecting the T221 concierge to assist?)
“I don’t use earplugs to quiet the noise. I use them to clean my ears. They came out black.” (do you need
me to say anything else on this one??)
“The bears came on Monday and Wednesday night. Tonight’s Friday – they should be back tonight.” (why
of course. They need to stick to their calendar and schedule.)
Things Adults Say
“Hey Mike! I like your potpourri bag.” (apparently one of our adults wanted his tent to smell fresh and
“I’m leaning towards the Stick of Ambivalence.” (it’s Friday????)
“I’m the Scoutmaster now sucka!” (as would be said by Mr. T with a shout out to Waze)
“I’m going to miss God’s air conditioner.” (we had a cool front come in last night and the weather has
been cooler today. The weather has been great all week. We will miss it!)
“You got 1 hour. Good luck. God speed.” (our thoughts on how we need to move tomorrow)
Until next year, I hope you have enjoyed the award-winning blog. We aren’t sure where we will be headed
next year. We have talked about heading East. But stay tuned!
We will see you all on Sunday morning (early!).