Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Friday, June 22nd, 2018 The longest day of 2018 was the day of our tapping fire. Tapping fire is the most elaborate of the tribal ceremonies for the tribe of Mic-O-Say and it is a public event. Everyone in camp and their friends and family are welcome to attend the ritualized process by which candidates for membership are recognized. This great event started with all the campers who are not yet tribesmen assembling at the Handicraft Corral towards dusk, about 8:20 pm. As noted earlier this week, Camp Geiger is full this week and this meant that last night's spectacle was the largest your correspondent has yet had the privilege to attend. Once everyone is ready, four Honorary Warriors in full regalia guide the campers as they process, single file, from the corral to the site of the Story Fire. This year, once again, two members of Troop 451 were accorded the honor of escorting the campers. Village Blade (our Scoutmaster) and Spirit Paint (your correspondent) walked along with them as the walked in silence, arms folded, one after another. In single file, the campers stretched perhaps a quarter mile, start-to-finish. This meant that some had already arrived at Story Fire while others had barely reached the halfway point! A hike across camp as the day draws to a close is a pretty, peaceful experience, even with several hundred of your closest friends along. By the time we reached the wooded clearing where the Story Fire was burning, the ground was dark though there was still much light in the Western sky. At Story Fire, the gathered Scouts and Scouters are treated to a tale of Mic-O-Say. This inspiring story speaks to the virtues of trustworthiness, bravery, service to others, and reverence. That is, it reflects values embodied in the Scout Oath and Law. Delivered by a tribal chieftain in full regalia - buckskin shirt and leggings, bedecked with beads, and a full plains war bonnet, the tale transfixes most of its audience. As with all tribal ceremonies, the 21st century was not in evidence. The only light (once the sun had set) was from the eponymous fire's flame and the speaker's voice had to be sufficient to reach all in attendance - no amplification of any kind is ever used. Of course, this requires that the audience listen if they want to hear, much as our ancestors did for thousands of years before the present day. No casual chatter fluttered among the audience to interfere with the speaker's message. Then, again led by the Honorary Warriors, the Scouts returned to single file to proceed to the tapping fire itself. I have described the experience of walking up the long valley in the early nighttime and seeing the tapping fire kindled in the distance many times before and the sensations and feelings remain the same. I will spare regular readers (and myself) yet another attempt to capture this experience in writing. Instead, I refer you, dear reader, to a previous year's description. Some photographs of these proceedings may be seen here. The ultimate purpose of the tapping ceremony is to publicly recognize Scouts who have been accepted as candidates for admission to Mic-O-Say. This year, three members of our troop were tapped: Kevin Koonce, Jopseph Paroski, and Ryan Turner. CONGRATULATIONS!! Today, they face the challenges of the Foxmen's Ordeal, which includes a service project for the improvement of the "Geiger Reservation." Each year, more Scouts are eager for induction into the tribe than are actually inducted. Those Scouts who are disappointed are not forgotten in the hustle and bustle of getting the new Foxmen off to their ordeal. Scouts and Scouters who remain after those who have been selected have been led off are addressed by chieftains of the tribe. Their feelings are acknowledged and they are encouraged to strive to redouble their efforts to serve their units and their communities and to advance in Scout rank. They are assured that simply failing to be selected this time does not put a black mark against their name. They are invited back to try again next year. Many a Scout who has left the tapping fire with a heavy heart one year has left elated the following one. Members of our troop who are already members of the tribe have advancement within the tribe to anticipate and we will learn about how they have progressed this evening. Thus, there will be more to include in tomorrow's post


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