Monday, June 29th, 2015
Our Monday at Camp Geiger began with an early wake up, courtesy of our friend Mr. Sun and his gorgeous rise. At these more northerly latitudes, sunrise comes a bit earlier than it does down Texas way. The difference is not huge but it is noticeable (5:53 this morning here, versus 6:21 AM back home).
After morning ablutions had been performed, we headed to the dining hall for breakfast. Actually, nine of our boys reported early to serve as our table waiters. In the dining hall at Camp Geiger, our meals are served family style. The table waiters’ responsibilities before the meal include making sure cups, plates and flatware are at each place and setting out the serving dishes.
Today, we broke our fast with sausages and French toast. A day at summer camp requires a lot of energy and a hearty breakfast helps ensure that everyone is adequately fueled for their morning activities.
After what feels like 5 minutes of eating, we move on to the “two minute drill”. This effort is to assist the table waiters with clean up. Everyone scrapes plates into one bowl, empties drinks into one of the serving pitchers, and sorts the flatware into one of three glasses drafted for that purpose. Trash goes into yet another serving bowl. After the meal, the table waiters clear the tables, delivering the sorted dishes to the appropriate cleaning stations where the dining hall staff takes over. Then, the table waiters wipe down the tables and benches, sweep the surrounding floor and otherwise leave their tables prepared for the next meal.
Today, lunch was chili cheese dogs and Fritos. A highlight of the lunchtime program is the announcement of the winners of that morning’s camp inspections. Regular readers of this blog may know that Troop 451 prides itself on “owning” the cleanest campsite recognition, which includes flying our state’s flag on the flag plaza the following day. Last year, for example, we won four of the five times and thereby earned the overall cleanest campsite award.
We work hard to have a campsite that is not only neat and clean but also attractive and functional. For example, we erect a gateway of lashed poles that tells the World that we are Troop 451, We also have signs indicating where the various troop youth leadership are tenting. Many Scouts add a personal touch to their tent areas, putting out picket fences, flamingos, palm trees, lights, etc. I kid you not! If you don’t believe me, check out our SmugMug page (http://troop451.smugmug.com/) or our Facebook page.
Imagine our surprise when Third Place was announced as a two-way tie, at 97 (of a possible 100) points! and Troop 451 was one of those tied for third. Third! Second place required 99 points and, with one hundred points each, SIX troops tied for first.
We were happy to have placed, of course, but this result was certainly surprising to us. One may infer from a six-way tie that today’s inspectors may not have been among the most experienced we have known. In fact, later, our Camp Master, Kevin Lee, went to inquire into reviewing the score sheet so that we could see where we needed to improve our efforts.
Before handing it over for a look, the person handling this paperwork paused and said that there was a math error on the sheet. The judges had added up 100 points to a total of 97! There had been, in fact, a SEVEN-way tie for ‘first’. The correction was announced at dinner (chicken Alfredo!), just after today’s “Sharpest Unit” was announced. Just as we did yesterday, Troop 451 garnered this prestigious prize. Again, it came down to Scout Socks. But Troop 360 remains serious competition and I, for one, cannot rest assured that we won’t be second-best next time. Whatever happens, it is great to be part of so sharp a unit!
We surely face a challenging field here this session and we will redouble our efforts, striving our best to keep a proud troop tradition alive.
After dinner, many boys attended a non-denominational vespers service or Catholic mass before heading off to more adventure (free rappelling, rifle and shotgun, etc.) Others returned to camp to work on their tribal regalia.
Tribal regalia is a sight to see and watching our Troop 451 members of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say build their own is fascinating. For those new to the experience, many veteran costume builders are always willing to lend a hand.
A challenge for some of our Scouts is to create a beaded headband. This must be constructed on a beading loom using the aptly-named ‘seed beads.’ Although they are made of glass, these beads are tiny! It can take 120 of them to make a square inch of finished beadwork. Clearly, creating a pattern that is at least 1 x 6 inches, is a detailed, time-consuming task requiring good fine motor skills. Again, our veteran tribesmen are there to offer advice and demonstrate technique.
The end results are impressive and range from the deeply traditional, strictly following authentic styles, to the modern and humorous. Imagine, for example, a beaded headband, sporting the warrior’s two feathers but displaying in its beadwork the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street! This latter creation is the work of Life Scout Ben Bryant, known affectionately to his peers as “Cookie.”
Other Scouts completed rattles to dance with, or the great feathered bustles that make the native-inspired costumes so impressive. Even if a Scout tribesman has already completed his costume, once it arrives at camp, the costume may be found to need repairs of some sort. Thus, our new pavilion is filled with busy boys diligently working of their regalia, even well past sunset.
The new tornado-proof storm shelters and accompanying pavilions that grace camp this year are a story in and of themselves. We will explore these fantastic additions to the Camp Geiger experience in greater detail in a future post.
And so to bed.