Day Two at Geiger

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Tuesday came very early for some members of Troop 451. For example, those seeking to earn the BSA Mile Swim badge were at the pool by 6:00 AM for practice. This morning’s breakfast was the traditional Camp Geiger cheesy eggs with hash browns. Afterwards, our boys and adults left well-fueled to enjoy another day of summer camp.
Our first year Scouts have been keeping busy at Camp Geiger’s ‘Trail to First Class’ program. Some of the information is review for our boys, most of whom are well on their way to becoming First Class Scouts, having all earned the rank of Tenderfoot .  As the week progresses, however, more and more of the items will be new to them. TTFC occupies the morning here at camp but the afternoons are available for earning various merit badges, such as swimming and cooking. Other popular topics include leatherworking, pottery, and Chess. There is free time for them too, and heading to the Trading Post for a slushie is a popular choice of what to do with it.

Our older Scouts are taking merit badge classes too. Environmental Science and Sustainability are among the classes on offer, as are first aid, camping, crime prevention, finger printing, rifle shooting, climbing, kayaking, and wilderness survival. That is to say, our Scouts have a broad choice of merit badges they can work on earning. Most will come home having earned three or four new badges. Check out our September Court of Honor if you want to see all that our boys achieve this week.

Our Scouts who are members of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say continue to employ their free time to improve or repair their elaborate costumes. This holds true for our adult tribesmen as well.

This year, we are once again in Sioux Lookout camp site. This is one of the campsites that have a brand-new storm shelter facility, meaning that every campsite will have a shelter capable of holding everyone in camp. five more are scheduled for completion by next camping season.

These tornado-proof refuges are built to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards (with some  help from a FEMA grant) and can shelter everyone in the campsite. They are constructed into the hillside with thick, steel-reinforced concrete walls and heavy steel doors and vents. They are engineered to withstand 250 mph winds or an impact with a 15-pound object traveling at 67-100 mph. That may sound like overkill at first but if one knows what tornadoes can do, it sounds like simple prudence. Believe me, if the need for such a shelter ever arises (this is the Midwestern United States after all, so severe weather is not an unlikely possibility), we will be grateful that they are there.

Because such shelters may be needed for an extended period, the FEMA standards require that they have bathroom facilities. Thus, our campsite has both flush toilets and sinks, and a hot shower. This alone would greatly enhance our camping experience. As a real plus, however, our shelter is topped by a very nice pavilion. With this included, these new shelters enhance the Geiger experience 100%.

The pavilion at Sioux Lookout is about 25 x 40 feet. Because it sits atop the tornado bunker, its floor is concrete. The roof is supported by well-braced, rustic wooden beams that are tied to the shelter by means of metal stirrups cast into the concrete. This provides a large space of welcome shade from the midday sun. Because of its location, it is often favored by a cooling breeze.

In years past, our troop has carried two large, custom-built dining flys to camp to afford some of the functions the pavilion now provides. In fact, setting up those flys was a major activity for the boys that first Sunday of camp. Knowing we were assigned to a campsite whose pavilion was complete, we opted to bring only one fly and, in the end, we decided we did not need even that.

The pavilion easily accommodates six picnic tables and all of our troop tribesmen’s regalia. Since the regalia includes the fancy feather bustles for those tribesmen who dance, these boxes can be quite bulky, The regalia pile is a not inconsiderable mound of luggage. We also bring along supplies and tools for costume making. All of this fits easily under the pavilion and provides ample workspace for all who need it as well as acting as a gathering place for those who merely wish to sit and visit.

Miscellaneous other activities happen in the pavilion too. For example, I am writing this blog there now.

When the shelter project is completed, Camp Geiger will have 14 new shelters and the money for these has already been secured. Unfortunately, FEMA understandably views the pavilions as a luxury and no grant monies can be used to finish these. Only two of the shelters now have pavilions. Thus the camp is working on raising funds to complete these structures. Those who camp here are anxiously hopeful that donors will come forth to help our favorite camp become even better than it is now.

Today, Jim Koonce organized many of our adults for this year’s 451 service project for the camp. We are installing benches of the 3-D archery range so that each station has a spot for participants to rest. Gary Lueking prepared the bench seats by routering in our Troop number and staining and sealing the wood. Six stations are getting benches This requires digging 18 30-inch-deep holes and setting 18 posts so that their tops are perfectly level. The seats are then bolted to the posts. Among participants were Kevin Bryant, Eric Bussey, Richard Covington, David Gonzalez, Dennis Goodrich, Jessica Harris, Lynn Hatter, Kevin Hollenshead, Roger Miller, Rusty Miller, Venkata Saripells, Chris Samson, and Paul Williams. If you were there and I missed your name, let me know so I can add you to the list. Marc DiCiaccio ran to get supplies. Thanks to Kevin Bryant for supplying some of this information.
Tonight, we look forward to the Geiger Games, including the newly-introduced "Human Foosball"!

More on that later.


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