Monday, Monday (How we LOVE that day . . .)

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Our boys had busy days Monday as they settled in to the week’s routine. Notionally, the day begins with reveille at 7:00 AM but most folks are up and about well before, owing to the early sunrise. At 7:30, all troops in camp gather at the Cloud L. Cray Flag Plaza outside the dining hall to raise the Stars and Stripes. Then, it is in to the dining hall itself to break our overnight fast.
After a breakfast of French toast sticks and sausage, the Scouts headed out to the first activities of the day. Our first-year Scouts attended the Trail to First Class session. This program is designed to train new Scouts in all the skills required to earn their rank advancements from Scout through First Class.

For our first year Scouts, the first day or two’s sessions are largely review as they have covered significant portions of this material in our troop’s own program. Nevertheless, reviewing these skills is productive as it helps Scouts retain what they have already learned and they will need these skills throughout their Scouting careers. Each of our five first year scouts reported having a good time, and claim they look forward to Tuesday’s long hike.

In the afternoon, they tackled an ambitious program of merit badge courses, taking classes such as swimming and cooking. Both of these merit badges are required to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
They finished their day with a surprising amount of energy left! This is all the more striking in the face of the unusually hot, muggy weather. Both the high and the humidity were in the 90s. Our experience was less what we have come to expect from a Missouri June and more like what one might associate with Equatorial Africa. Maybe we should have gotten a clue from the fact that the next nearest place on the map here is Amazonia!

Our older Scouts had their own full schedule of merit badge courses, including pottery, environmental science, first aid, and Nature among many others. With as many young men as we have with us here at Camp Geiger, our boys are in most of the merit badge classes offered this session.
We all look forward to the next Court of Honor on Sunday, September 18th, 2016, where their achievements will be publicly recognized in front of their peers and families. We look forward to seeing you then!


The adult members of our troop were not idle by any means. Each year we perform a service project for the camp and this year our volunteers started in on constructing the massive, carefully constructed pile of logs that is the Tapping Fire (more on this later).


Monday’s lunch was simple fare: hot dogs, chili, and Fritos corn chips. As always, proper hydration was emphasized and Scouts are reminded to drink water every hour at least. Our noontime entertainment included a race around the dining hall that featured Troop 451’s Kevin Koonce. Kevin strove valiantly, finishing ahead of two of the four contestants.


The hot afternoon saw our Scouts attending more Merit Badge classes and, for those who have previously been inducted into the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, dance practice in the Running Horse Council Ring, where campfires are held. In the sunny early afternoon, that ring gets rather Saharan in temperature.
A little dancing raises a considerable cloud of dust but our boys gamely met the challenge of rehearsing their steps along with tribesmen from many other troops. Among our dancers are Brady Jones, Jack Tyson, Alex Brock, Jace Westfall, Cameron Breding, Alex Tyson, and Brandt Goodrich. Admire their dedication and their stamina.

Back at Sioux Lookout, many Scouts worked diligently to complete different aspects of their dance costumes. For this activity, the new pavilions that adorn the new storm safety shelters are an excellent venue. It is not all work, fortunately. There is fun to be had as well. Taking advantage of the shade the pavilion provides (and the moving air courtesy of the enormous fans Messers DiCiaccio and Koonce provided), card games were a popular afternoon diversion.

At 6:30, we gathered on the flag plaza to honor the lowering of the flag. A light, cooling shower precluded lingering long outside. Monday’s dinnertime saw us once again garner “Sharpest Unit” honors. Congratulations to our Scouts! We are holding our own against some very sharp units. It is great to be part of such a sharp troop!


We dined on chicken Alfredo and green beans. Again, the salad bar was popular as is ice water. Dining is followed by the evening mail call. Even on this, our second evening at camp, packages from home are greatly appreciated by all and sundry.


After dinner, worship services were offered, both non-denominational vespers and a Catholic mass. A Scout is reverent. The chapel here at Geiger is a beautiful setting. It is an open amphitheater as befits a Scout camp, with a simple open-fronted A-frame shelter for the sacred proceedings. It the dappled light from the setting sun, it is a gorgeous gathering place that makes one mindful of creation and its author.


Following vespers, some of our adults took advantage of the open shoot at the shotgun range to warm up their clay-busting skills. Many Scouts returned to the pavilion to continue work on their dance regalia. Others got up an informal game of stickball. As the lengthening shadows disappeared into darkness, the pavilion was lit by a few of our Coleman lanterns, whose brightness make detail work possible, at least for the younger eyes amongst us.


The brief shower of early evening seemed to have broken the grip of the tropics-like heat and the evening was considerably cooler than the high temperatures of earlier in the day. This afforded the prospect of comfortably cool conditions for sleeping.


For those in the throes of creating costumes, Taps sounded far too early; for Scouters, it couldn’t come soon enough! Your correspondent falls squarely in this latter group.

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