Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2010 Summer Camp Recap and Thank You

There have been several events that occurred over the past several weeks that have caused me to reflect on the events of my life over these past 12 years in scouting, 18 years at Grace Baptist Church and 20+ years with my children. I can give you more specifics to the church and family, but wanted to focus on scouting in this note.

For summer camp this year, we came to the Arapaho campsite as we have for the past several years and there at the head of the dining fly area was a picnic table with a star and Lewisville, Texas router-ed into the center board of the table. This was one of the 2x10s that Troop 451 donated to the camp in 2002 for the old council ring. The camp had asked troops to donate boards rather than sit on the ground for opening camp fire and Wednesday night activities in the old council ring. Bill Webber and I routered a couple boards all those years gone by. I can still remember the hot afternoon and the sawdust all over the place as we worked behind the campmaster building (now the new trading post area).

This was just a start of a great week. We soon realized the tasks for the week was going to a little larger than expected as we were asked to build the tapping fire, the handicap deck was replaced by two elevated shot gun decks on the new course, and of course we still wanted to add our annual flag pole. This time the flag pole was to be installed in the new campsite, just reopened, at the end of the ridge (Navaho). As in true Troop 451 spirit, the adults quickly jumped into action. With the help of the John Clawson and Larry Means, the projects were quickly underway.

Leo and others drove to a sawmill in the Penske and picked up a load of skirting material, several took there turns on the chain saws (after proper training of course), and by Tuesday evening the tapping fire was pretty much complete awaiting on the final touches by our four firebuilders.

Richard led another group of adults on the decks while we worked on the tapping fire. As we had time, we joined in to drive lag bolts, etc. After taking a little break on Thursday, the team got almost complete on Friday with both decks. Larry Means would have other volunteers put on the final touches and handrails later in the camping season.

Other activities were the normal supervision duties – banking, medics, advancement, communications, photography, sun watcher, etc. Leo took care of the flag pole. I am sorry to say I do not know who helped on that effort. All these tasks took place as normal with care for the boys.

Finally, as we came to the tapping and advancement ceremonies, I believe the camp really put forth a tremendous effort to recognize our troop. 15 youth and 4 adults were added to Mic-O-Say, Richard and Scott were awarded the White Coop for service to scouting and Mic-O-Say, Ethan and Brad were awarded the Silver Coop for leadership in the ceremony team/dance district, Josh was advanced to our first Keeper, and finally, I was advanced to Sachem. As I stood there before Ken Baker, Chief Little Pack Rock, I could not help but think of the teamwork from the week and the 10 years that we have been attending Camp Geiger.

From my first days with Kevin Gibson and Bill Webber, those that have been added and left over the years, to the excited group of youth and adults that are our current active troop members; thank you. Thank you for your participation, your efforts, your mentorship, your leadership, your teamwork to add to the scouting experience we have been able to provide to the many youth that have been part of Troop 451. As I have told many perspective parents as they visit out troop, I believe the key to out troop is the comradeship of our adults over the years. To a person, I believe each has put the program for the boys above their own glory or recognition. Again, thank you.

The week ended just as high as we had started and progressed during the week - with the individual scout awards, clean sweep award for the troop, sharpest unit for the troop and safely returning all scouts home (with no hospital runs this time).

Thanks again for a great summer camp.

Gary Lueking

Assistant Scoutmaster

‘Sachem Big Spirit Mist’


Here are just a few stats on the concept of teamwork for our troop:

39 Eagle Scouts (per Mr. Moore, several more in line for 2010 and early 2011)

126 Mic-O-Say members – 82 youth, 44 adults

103 OA members – 86 youth, 17 adults, 19 brotherhood

14 summer camps (10 Camp Geiger, MO; 3 Camp Dobbins, CO; 1 Camp Cherokee, TX)

Many other exciting trips – Philmont, Big Bend, Arkansas, Colorado, Sid Richardson water camp, etc.

Finally, here is a thought from one young man that that was in our troop for only a short time. He did not make it to eagle, was not in OA nor Mic-O-Say, came from a broken home and related this to another church member in his neighborhood (I may not have this word perfect) – “The adults from the scout troop that meets at your church took us to summer camp at Camp Geiger. We had a great week. It will be a time I will never forget.”

Friday, July 9, 2010

Camp Geiger July 9th 6:00pm

Tonight, after a long and excting week, this year's journey comes to an end. We go to the dining hall tonight for dinner, then the scouts who are not involved in Mic-O-Say will attend the closing council fire. The foxmen, who have been silent all day will complete their journey to become Mic-O-Say braves, and the adult foxmen will become Honorary Warriors. The weather for tonight's ceremonies should be spectacular, cool and clear, with temps in the low 70's to upper 60's. Tomorrow morning, we wake up, load the truck, and head for home. We'll be taking home souviners from the trading posts, new achievements and merit badges, and lots of good memories.
I'd like to say thanks to the folks at Camp Geiger HQ for all their paitence, hospitality, courtesy and freindship, especially at times in some challenging circumstances.
That's all folks, don't forget to tip your waiters on the way out.
Tonight's dinner - pulled pork, and mac and cheese.
Weather - Mostly sunny and 78.

Camp Geiger July 9th 1:15

The nature here in the bluffs of the Missouri River is amazing. The deer footprint above is evidence of the abundance of it around here. The men who are doing the service project by the new shotgun range have seen several turkey, and today at the swimming pool, I was standing there minding my own business, when out of the woods popped this...

There are a lot of tired bodies around camp today. Naps seem to be in more than a few people's future. The candidates from last night are doing their daily merit badges as well as working on a service project. The candidates are now called Foxmen, their first status in the tribe of Mic-O-Say. They are not allowed to speak with anyone today, unless of course they are working on a merit badge or a project and need to communicate. Our Foxmen have been treated pretty well by the rest of the boys in the troop as far as they're not trying to make them talk.

We spent a lot of time showing you the tapping fire we built. The fire was lit about 8:30 last night and as of 1:15 this afternoon, it was still burning.

Now that's a fire.

And now, this will be the last video from camp, as we are coming home tomorrow, and tonight will be another late night. I will try to post one more time before the day is out. It is a perfect day today though, at Camp Geiger.


Lunch - Chicken tenders, pasta salad, and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

Weather - Mostly sunny and 82

Camp Geiger July 9th 9:00am

"I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink..." - John Lennon/Paul McCartney

Lots of sleepy eyes around camp this morning. It was long and glorious night. Boys and many of the adults were up until 12 to 1am. The tapping ceremony lived up to all the expectations, and then exceeded them. I'll have a lot to report on that, but first lets' take care of some business from yesterday during dinner.

We talked a lot about the King PeeWee contest held after dinner. Leon Jacob was the reigning champ from last year. After careful deliberation throughout the day, and like George Washington, who decided the time he spent in office was enough, Leon decided his reign should end after a year, and would pass on the opportunity to be king to another worthy champion. The young man who stood up was Trey Stevens. The competition was fierce, and Trey weighed in at 69 pounds (although 4 of that was his shoes). But at the end of the day...

Trey, brought home the title for troop 451. Hail King PeeWee! As king, Trey got to make a proclamation. Trey decided on something big for the whole troop. The Geiger staffers, about 8 strong tried and tried to steer him in a different direction. But Trey wouldn't budge. After several long tense minutes...well...let's just say Trey really came through for his troop. We'll give you the lowdown when we get home. Needless to say the former king was very proud of his successor.
Now the biggest event of the night. The Tapping Ceremony. All tribesmen dressed in full regalia and prepared for the ceremonial dances and for all their other parts of the ceremony. I'll try and describe what the scouts who are not in Mic-O-Say, and the potential candidates witnessed, and I'll hold you in a little suspense to find out who was tapped out.

The troops form a long line, and follow an honorary warrior leads them on to the story trail. The scouts and adult leaders walk the long trail, until they get to a fire, where a chief awaits them. He tells them the story of a young brave who gets lost in the woods, and finds his own way to survive. Then they all get up from sitting down and follow the chief towards the tapping fire. As they head towards the fire, they hear the tom toms and yells from the dancing braves and warriors, as the rest of the tribe forms two lines for the waiting candidates to pass through.

When the two lines are formed, the braves and warriors stop their dance and run to fill out the rest of those same two lines. It's then that the chief leads them towards the tapping fire, through the members of the tribe. They walk until all the candidates form a giant circle around the fire. When they finally finish the circle, the tribesmen form an outer circle around them.

Medicine Man Walks Tall greets the candidates and informs them that some may be eligible to join the tribe of Mic-O-Say, and a tapper will decide who those candidates are. A yell is heard at the top of the hill. The Tapper, strong and steady, carrying a torch held high in one hand and a hatchet held high in the other, descends from the top of the hill towards the circle of hopeful candidates surrounding the fire. He runs around the entire circle, sizing up the potential tribe members and on the second time around he begins to tap the worth candidates. He runs around the circle, then slows to eye the candidate. He pauses, looking intensely at the candidates face,

the candidates eyes widen, their heart begins to beat a little faster, and after a determination is made, he taps the candidate with his hatchet, once, twice...and the candidate runs to a spot inside the circle, where he awaits his instructions and begins his journey into the Tribe of Mic-O-Say.

Okay, here's what you've been waiting for. These are the boys who were tapped into Mic-O-Say:

Robert Arnet, Matthew Bach, Evan Curl, Michael Hooks, Trevor Kay, James Koonce, Matthew Larsen, Erik Lowell, William McKinley, Christopher Modrall, Conner Osborne, Lee Pederson, George Petagrew, Ben Reineck, Adam Stephenson, and Nicolas Verdi.

Adult leaders tapped into Mic-O-Say were:

James Cole, Mark DiCiaccio, Michael Kay, and Bill Reineck.

Congratulations to all.

I'll have some more pics up later. It's an absolutely beautiful day here at Camp Geiger. The weather is perfect, and we'll be in for a great Mic-O-Say ceremony tonight.

Dinner last night - Cheeseburgers and French Fries.

Breakfast - Biscuits and gravy, hash browns, cold cereal, yogurt and fresh fruit

Weather - 73 and sunny.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Camp Geiger July 8th 5:30pm

"Tonight's gonna be a good, good night." - Black Eyed Peas

The air is full of excitement. I know it's a cliche, but you can really feel the electricity. Tonight's tapping ceremony? Well , yeah, but...It's time to crown King PeeWee! Last year our own Leon Jacob was the winner, and made his proclomation. This year he's looking to repeat, and he thinks he's got a great shot.


We'll let you know later how it turns out.

In all seriousness, there is an electric feeling in the air. All the kids, especially those who are in their third year coming here are really starting to feel nervous. It is truly an honor to become a part of the Mic-O-Say organization. It is a program that really gives young people confidence and teaches leadership, while helping to maintain the excitement of scouting that they had when they were much younger. The camp truly transforms tonight. It really does go from a scout feeling to a tribe feeling, and it will be that way for the rest of camp.

The finishing touches are being put on as we speak for everyone who will be a part of tonight's ceremony. There is a lot of pride and care that is put into every aspect of the ceremony, from regalia, to dance, to the fire.

As tonight's ceremony may go past midnight, I'll have to give you full details tomorrow.

Camp Geiger, July 8th 1:20pm

This is the new COPE tower at Camp Geiger. COPE stands for Challenging Outdoor Physical Exercise and consists of many high wire activities. You can challenge yourself to walk across cables, climb giant rope ladders, climb the rock climbing wall or take a ride on the zip line. COPE is for older scouts only, although on occasion the have open rappelling and zip lining.

Here's Tristan Goodnight taking off down the zip line.
Also, all over camp scouts are finishing up merit badges. There will be some opportunity to finish some things tomorrow, but everyone tries to get finished up today, as some scouts will be tapped, and they will have different things to do. So they're getting that final paperwork done to complete their merit badge...

...or finishing up that last project. Non merit badge activities are reaching a climax today too, as competitions in the buckskin games heat up. While those are going on, Marvin, a fixture at Camp Geiger, who is the tomahawk king, regales the boys with stories and shows them his collection of ornamental tomahawks.

We're hours away from the tapping fire and the staff has been very complimentary of the job our adults and firebuilders have done on the tapping fire. They tell us it's the biggest one this session and may be the biggest one in years! Here is what we can see of the final product (with the tarp still on to protect it from rain.)

It stand at nearly 16 feet and is 8 feet by 8 feet at the base.
A few things I forgot to mention this morning, we have two tents to win the cleanest tent award again and the winners are...(drumroll)

Ethan Brown and Joseph Martin....and....

...Matthew Perez and Trey Stevens. They all get to enjoy a free slushie each, courtesy of Mr. Koonce and Mr. DiCiaccio.
If you are interested in a sample of what the fireworks looked like last night, Mr. Kunamneni has provided a link to facebook to see a little video of the show. Go to http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1515339769430
Here are a couple of more "hi, mom" videos.
Lunch - Bean burritos, Spanish rice, and snickerdoodle cookies for dessert.
Weather - as of 1:30 - Mostly Cloudy, 77 degrees and less humid.

Camp Geiger July 8th 8:30am

"Tonight's the night..." - Rod Stewart

As we awaken to a misty morning on the bluffs of the mighty Missouri River, the air is thick not only with moisture, but with anticipation for tonight's tapping ceremony. Several of the boys have actually said the nerves are starting to take over as they contemplate being tapped out to join the Mic-O-Say tribe. A light rain fell all night long, leaving the camp with more mud, but as we left the dining hall, a cool dry breeze greeted us. The feeling was wonderful. The camp is also still buzzing about last night's incredible council fire and fireworks show. All of our boys who are currently in Mic-O-Say work hard all year long on their dance, and on their regalia, I thought I'd include some pictures of how their hard work has paid off.

Some tribe members are very serious and intimidating...

...others, not so much.
A Scout is...Kind
A great moment yesterday at camp that lived up to one of the tenets of the Scout Law. One boy took a tumble and bent a finger back further than it should go, causing a strain or sprain with some swelling. The scout came over to the adults and asked for some tape for a splint. Amazingly, there was no tape in the first aid kit, but along came Ellis Covington to the rescue. He said, "I've got some in my tent. Come with me, I'll fix it," and off they went. One splint in hand, one act of kindness administered.

...and now for something completely different.
Every in the meal in the dining hall someone winds up with Sitting Bull. Sitting Bull is a small dowel rod that is planted on an unsuspecting individual while they are sitting and eating. At the end of the meal, Thomas, the program director starts the chant, "Who has Sitting Bull?" Everyone checks to see if they have it. If they do, they get to go to the front of the dining hall and draw from a hat. Some of the things that the possessor of Sitting Bull can win are really great, like ice cream for your table, some are a fun, like a race around the dining hall, some are odd, like getting to spit shine camp staff member Jordan Elo's head, and some are not fun at all, like getting to wash the camp truck (no one has won that so far, although the staff always yells for that one.)
Now, here's a few kids with some messages back home:

Breakfast - Scrambled eggs and sausage patties, cold cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit.
Weather - Cloudy and 72 degrees.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Camp Geiger July 7th 9:45pm

Yes, this is how our night ended. I know, you wish you were here. I'll get into more detail in a minute.

Sorry for the late post, but a busy day and I confess, I took some time to sit around and tell stories with the rest of the dads. No video today, but I promise a bunch tomorrow. Today the boys continued their hard work on their merit badges.

Like Archery...


Leather work...
And Trading Post. Although Trading Post is not an official merit badge, the boys have become very good at it.

Tonight was family night at Camp Geiger. Most of the troops here have families that live close by and can come visit. Our troop, as you know, is a little further away, so we mainly bring most of the dads, and sometimes some moms too, for the whole week. On family night, the routine of the dining hall changes and the bring food in from town to feed whoever is in camp. I'll post the usual dinner report below. Another treat tonight is the big fire in the council ring. This is an amazing show. It's also the first real appearance of the tribe of Mic-O-Say.

Our troop left for the council fire looking very much like the Spirit of '76. All the troops line up to go up the path into the council ring. Along the way we are flanked by members of the tribe.

We all come in and walk around the fire to our seats. Then the show begins. The camp staff performs many skits as well as the troops. Our troop performed "the car."

Scoutmaster Perry is the driver of the car and the boys are the parts of the car...the tires, the door, the spare tire...and they get an unsuspecting camp staff member to be the engine. And the whole skit leads to..."kill the engine!" where the boys get up and do their best to shut the engine down.

Later we get the first real introduction of the tribe of Mic-O-Say. They perform a narrated play backed by the tom tom beaters and all the members of the tribe from the troops dance during this drama. The outfits are amazing and the dance and story are intensely entertaining.

After the Mic-O-Say dance, there is a very moving tribute to the United States, the Boy Scouts of America, and to Camp Geiger. That tribute alone should inspire these boys to stay in scouting and to want to belong to the tribe.

And this year for a special treat, since we had rain on the 4th of July, we closed the night with a fireworks spectacular!

Okay, a late and a little long, I promise video tomorrow and to have better posts during the day.

Dinner - Flatbreads from Fleishman's, two choices, Italian three meat, or Buffalo chicken.

Weather - Humid and 82. Possible rain overnight.

Camp Geiger July 7th 1:30pm

Just before lunch, a mysterious sign showed up on our gate. We don't know how it got there or who put it up, but let it be known that if the men in this troop were for sale, it would be for a very high price. Pranks do happen around camp. Last year someone "borrowed" our Texas flag, this year it's the For Sale sign , and, oh, a there are a few things we pull on ourselves.

Like I said a couple of days ago, you can't fall asleep around these people.

Tapping Fire update

Here's how the tapping fire is coming along. If you're wondering exactly what the tapping fire is, I'll start by saying it's no ordinary campfire. This is a 16 foot tall fire that is lit the night of the tapping ceremony. That is the ceremony where certain kids who have earned their keep in camping and scouting will get "tapped" into the tribe. Basically they have been deemed worthy enough to join by the Mic-O-Say council. Mic-O-Say is a very traditional tribe, and has been around since 1935. It is an excellent program for anyone to be a part of.

The ceremony is tomorrow night, when the boys walk many of the trails around camp and stop at certain fires along the way to hear from the tribal elders about the journey they are taking. When they complete the trail, they come through a welcoming comittee of current tribesman and circle around the fire you see above. After words from the chief and the medicine man, the tapper comes down, and taps the worthy scout, who is taken by a runner up a hill, and then they begin their path to Mic-O-Say. The discussions have already begun among the boys. "Do you think I'll get tapped?" "I think you'll get tapped." "Boy, I hope I get tapped." etc.

Camp Geiger Feature of the Day - The Slushie

What is a Slushie? A dollar of deliciousness, four flavors of fun! I know to you it looks like a simple Icee or Slurpee, but no! At Camp Geiger, they are more valued than gold! To get the kids motivated to make sure they get their things done, all you have to do is mention a slushie and you'll see a kid move faster than you ever have before. The flavors change from year to year, and this year's offerings are blue raspberry, orange mango, kiwi, and cherry.

...and now for something completely different.

James Koonce successfully completed his mile swim again this year! Congratulations James!

Best line heard from a scout.."I never do what I'm supposed to do with magnesium."

Lunch - Meatloaf, cinnamon apples, and baked beans.

Weather - mostly cloudy, humid and 83 degrees.

Camp Geiger July 7th 8:15am

Another dry, but humid day at Camp Geiger. We usually start our day getting up at6am to clean up the camp for inspection. There are other boys who get up even earlier. A certain set of boys getting the fishing merit badge wake up at 4:30 in the morning to go down to Lake Richardson to try and catch fish. Up to this point, they haven't been successful, but they'll keep trying! But they were successful at something much more important.

A Scout is...Friendly

This is a group of boys that go fishing every morinng for their merit badge. There is a boy at the end who is not in our troop. Before Mr. Kunamneni took this picture was taking, the boys from our troop were saying,"Wait! Eric needs to be in this picture!" Obviously Eric became part of this close knit group. That's one of the best things about scouting and it's not the only example we've seen at camp. In scouts, and here at Geiger, you can meet friends that you can have for a lifetime. It's kids who all share common experiences, and yet can see how people live in other parts of the country, and in some cases, the world.

...and now for something completely different

Cleanest tent of the day was a tie. And the winners are (drumroll)

Robbie Berry and Tristain Goodnight! and...

Steven Reyna and Hayden Brewer! They'll all enjoy a free slushie today! (Robby and Tristain needed to hurry so they couldn't take a picture.)

Breakfast - Pancakes and bacon, yogurt, cold cereal and orange juice.

Weather - Cloudy, humid and 76 degrees.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Camp Geiger July 6th 8:30pm

This is the entrance to our home sweet home after dinner, the Arapaho campsite at Camp Geiger. There were many fun activities throughout the day today, including an archery contest, and free turns on the zip line or rappelling. Usually after dinner the kids wind up at the Trading Post.

The Trading Post is almost like an old fashioned general store. It's got everything scouts can use while camping, snacks, drinks, and of cours slushies. Kids can buy souveniers there, the most popular being the shoulder satchels, but there are t-shirts, hats, Indian garb, even animal pelts. Lots of times the kids will just hang outside the Trading Post and play cards or just talk. There are nighttime activities also.

Tonight was a big activity night. The boys had their choice of soccer, ultimate frisbee, and a giant slip and slide!

Tapping Fire update

As you saw earlier today, the adults started building the big tapping fire for Thursday night. I'll explain more on the significance of the fire and the tribe tomorrow. The fire is also built by those in the our troop that have attained the paint station (similar to a rank) of firebuilder. They are the ones primarily responsible for having the fire built and built correctly. Below is how far along the adults and the firebuilders have gotten.

The blue tarp is on the wood in case it rains. It's very important to have dry wood for this fire.

And now for something completely different...

There's an ingenious way to find the trail that leads to one of the places you can shower. Look for the trail with the orphaned single socks and abandoned underwear. If you're on that trail, you're close to the shower.
Dinner - Chicken Fried Steak with gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, and pineapple upside down cake for dessert.
Weather - Partly Cloudy and cool, 75 degrees.

Camp Geiger July 6th 3:45pm

Camp Geiger isn't only a fun place for scouts to go, it's actually quite beautiful too. There are so many parts of the camp, it'll take you a few seasons to really see them all. The above picture is from a road that leads to the new shooting ranges, currently under construction, which leads us to...

A Scout is...Courteous

There are always subtle and some not so subtle ways the folks here let us know that they know we're from Texas. I guess we contribute a bit to the good natured ribbing by showing our Texas pride. We put up a Texas flag at camp, have them on our tabled in the dining hall, and when we win the contest for sharpest dressed unit for dinner we usually raise the Texas flag up outside the dining hall. The people in the Pony Express Council have extended every bit of graciousness and courtesy to us, and they have every time we've been here. One small example of that courtesy is allowing us to hang out at the Headquarters and blog. The staff also makes sure we have whatever we need. In return, we usually do a service project for them.

This year we're working on platforms for the scouts to shoot from on the shooting range. When this is completed, scouts will have a nice vantage point to shoot clay targets from.

Between building the tapping fire and putting up these shooting stands, it's easy to say we're doing our best to return the courtesy extended to us.

...And now for something completely different.


Lunch - BBQ'd rib sandwiches, tater tots, and fruit salad

Weather - This afternooon was partly cloudy and humid with a high of 83.