A Fantastic Finish!

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

Happy Birthday to the United States of America!

Our week at Camp Geiger has come to an end. It was a fun, exciting week filled with vigorous activity, learning, and inspiring ceremonies. It went by far faster than we wish it would but we are eager to return home and be reunited with family and friends.

In recognition of our intense week of Scouting, by the way, there will be no Troop Meeting this coming Monday, July 6th.

Saturday began even earlier than usual, just as the sun was rising, owing to the need to strike camp and load our gear onto the truck. Some of our Scouts, especially this year’s new Braves, were moving rather slowly in consequence of the late night of ceremonies that followed their 24-hour ordeal. Others were up and at ‘em right away.

The striking of camp began last night, after the final campfire, with disassembly of our campsite gateway and the temporary flagpole we erected to permit us to perform our daily flag ceremonies (raising in the early morning, lowering as sunset approached). Some folks took the time to get mostly-packed-up but others, occupied elsewhere in the later evening, had to move extra-quickly in the growing daylight.

Several adults, led by the able direction of Mr. Koonce (Guards Falcon), got the truck loaded carefully enough that all of our considerable impedimenta made it safely on board. We loaded foot lockers, cots, sleeping pads and bags, dance and regular Mic-O-Say regalia, and the miscellaneous gear we bring to enhance out campsite (such as the poles and lashing ropes for our campsite gateway).

This giant game of jackstraws is quite the challenge, even in the civilized context of the parking lot of First United Methodist Church, Lewisville. It is that much more challenging  after a week of camping. Nevertheless, many hands pitched in to make light work of this daunting task. By the time all the gear that was going on board was on board, the 20-foot truck was filled floor-to-ceiling, front to back. It was an incredible job and everyone (adults, at least) gave a grateful sigh when the door came down smoothly and locked in place. One more of the tasks required to bring our Troop home safe and complete, was finished. Whew!

Then it was time to feast on the homemade cinnamon rolls that are Saturday breakfast at Camp Geiger. These are delivered to campsites by one of the camp commissioners so that Troops needn’t delay their departure with a trip to and from the dining hall. Our boys made short work  of those rolls, accompanied with water or Gatorade.

Next, the newly-inducted Braves left to attend an important meeting at Tribal headquarters, while the rest of our Tribesmen retired to a certain spot for our Troop’s own recognition of last night’s achievements. There are several such sites around Camp Geiger and all are beautiful but in differing ways.

At 9:30 AM, each of the 22 troops in attendance for this, the fourth session of the 2015 camping season, gathered, along with the camp staff, at the Handicraft Corral for closing ceremonies. Most of the 483 people in camp this week attended. There, after a few final remarks from the camp Activities Director and Director, the week’s awards are distributed.

Just as in previous years, Troop 451 was well-represented among the session’s honors. The Leatherworking Award went to our own first-year Scout Ethan Gardsbane, while Jace Westfall garnered the Metalworking honors. Recipients of the Mile Swim award from our troop were Steve Kral, Rusty Miller, Samir Rahman, and Darryl and Thomas Sorensen. Congratulations to our physically strong Scouts and Scouters!

As for the Shooting Sports awards, Kevin Lee won the 5-stand Shotgun Powder Puff award. Brady Jones won the ‘Lock of Hair’ award from the COPE Area for his rapid and able ascent of the (big) COPE tower.

Several of our leaders earned their Camp Geiger “Scoutmaster ‘Merit’ Badge”. These were Kevin Bryant, Eric Bussey, Jessica Harris, Kevin Hollenshead, Steve Kral, Darryl Sorensen, and Jay Turner.

The capstone of this week at Geiger was winning the ‘Triple Crown’ of weekly recognition once again. Just as we were last year, this year we were recognized as the “Sharpest Unit”. This came despite much stiffer competition than we faced 12 months ago. Intriguingly (and gratifyingly) we won the “Cleanest Campsite” award. This, despite the somewhat disappointing results we faced in each daily contest. We all should be pleased with our Scouts and they should be proud of themselves. They didn’t slack-off on keeping the campsite ship-shape even when the daily recognition was not forthcoming. They focused on our goal of keeping camp neat and clean, leaving the recognition to look out for itself. For this, they were rewarded with the week’s top honors. Congratulations and thank you Scouts!

Lastly, we were again honored with the “Spirit Award.” Thus, we made a clean sweep of the big three weekly awards. Again, congratulations and thank you to everyone who was able to spend the week at Camp Geiger with our troop. We have set ourselves a very high bar for next year.

This was a fantastic finish to a week filled with fellowship and fun!

AT 10:30 on the nose, our bus appeared. After a role call to account for everyone, we boarded the fancy transportation. Now, we look forward to an uneventful return trip, punctuated by our traditional stop at Pizza Ranch. This all-you-can-eat buffet offers much more than simply pizza, such as fried chicken, vegetables, a salad bar like that at Camp Geiger, and (brace yourself) FROZEN CUSTARD! Doubtless, our Scouts will return home well-fed, if not that well-rested.

It has been a delight offering the many friends and families of Troop 451 a glimpse into our week of Scout camp. It is my fond hope that, for those who have not had the good fortune to share a session at Camp Geiger with the troop, this meagre effort at describing our week may afford them some sense of why we love coming back summer after summer.

Best Wishes!


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