Wednesday mid-day, June 28th, 2017

This morning started early as we woke the boys early, a little before 6:00 am, in light of oncoming weather. As lightning flashed miles away and the thunder rolled, our Scouts and Scouters sheltered in the storm shelter or the pavilion. Although the storm looked awesomely powerful as it headed our way, we were fortunate that the worst of it passed many mile to the west of us, sparing us all but a briefly-torrential rain. With appropriate advanced preparation, everybody and their things stayed safe and dry.

The 'all clear' sounded just before 7:30 am, meaning we would make it for breakfast. Today's fare was pancakes, carefully prepared with care by volunteers from Troop 451, including Richard Covington, Mark DiCiaccio, Jim Koonce, and Gary Lueking. Bacon rounded out the morning's menu. Recall that almost everyone last ate at 6:30 pm, Tuesday. Hungry as almost everybody was, seconds was a popular offering. In the post-meal announcements, we learned that we again were awarded 'Sharpest Unit' honors and this was for our class B uniforms! It is fantastic to be a part of such a great troop!

With the weather clearing, Scouts were soon off to the first of their days' classes.

The morning passed with surprising speed - the days at Geiger may be long but they slip by quickly. Soon it was time for a lunch of grilled, boneless chicken breasts on buns, with baked beans on the side. After lunch, we learned that we once again garnered second place in the Cleanest Campsite contest. This was a disappointment, given the hard work that went into cleaning up camp after the earlier storms. We all can be proud that our Scouts demonstrated genuine Scouting values by offering warm applause when Troop 21, of Saint Joseph, Missouri, was again honored with this recognition.

We have not yet heard the outcome of last night's cooking contest.

Now it is time for afternoon events to begin and our Scouts are far too preoccupied with camp activities and classes to have time to share their thoughts with us. One hopes this trend will reverse itself this evening. Tonight, however, is Family Night. Many folks are making the long trek from Texas to Camp Geiger to join their Scout(s) for dinner and to enjoy the campfire program in the Council Ring. It should be a fine show. Traditionally, the visiting families treat their campers to a meal not available at camp, such as fare from a local restaurant. Brought to camp, this is consumed either in the dining hall or al fresco, as suits the family. For those whose families were unable to spare the time for a visit, the dining hall staff served pizza and ice cream.

This year, Troop 451 is again sharing a campsite with Troop 1028 (we shared Arapaho with them in 2014). They have kindly invited the Troop 451 'orphans' to join them in a chicken dinner! This sounds quite appealing at this point in our week and we are duley grateful.

As promised, we will view a little bit about the honor camping society of Camp Geiger and the Pony Express Council of the BSA.

The Tribe was founded in 1925, as were many other honor camping societies of the Boy Scouts of America, such as Ku-Ni-eh, and the Tribe of Gimogash. The National Capital Area Council had the Clan of the Mystic Oak. In common, these organizations sought to promote Scouting’s ideals by offering recognition and encouragement to particularly-promising Scouts. Similarly, the Order of the Arrow (OA) was also founded in 1922 as the Tribe of Wimachtendienk. Unlike Mic-O-Say, it did not become affiliated with the BSA until about ten years later. Many other honor camping societies appeared at BSA camps around the country. Almost all of these emphasized native American-inspired themes.

By the late 1940s, the BSA recognized a need for greater coordination among these organizations, and to extend the opportunity of becoming a member to Scouts whose camps and Councils did not have such a group. Thus, the Order of the Arrow became the official national honor camping society for the BSA in 1948 and, over time, subsumed most of the various such societies around the country. Ultimately, all but a small handful of local honor camping societies, such as the Tribe of Mic-O-Say continued to exist. Other survivors include the Tribe of Tahquitz, and the Firecrafters.

You may be wondering, why the native American-inspired themes? What is the connection between the BSA and American Indians? Well, the link goes back to the very origins of Boy Scouting, in southern Africa at the end of the 19th century. We will revisit this topic later in the week - be on the look out!

A key component of the Mic-O-Say program is that each Scout create a costume in the style of American Indian tribes. Each Scout spends many hours in this occupation and this effort pays off. 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 inched 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 a beaded headband, sporting the warrior’s two feathers but displaying among the beadwork the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street! This latter creation is the work of Senior Patrol Leader 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. It is fortunate that so many of our Scouters bring complete sets of the necessary tools and needed supplies, as well as their afore-mentioned experience and skills.

Now, your faithful correspondent must attent to other obligations.

Until next post, be well!

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