Monday, June 18th, 2018

Our first full day at Camp Geiger has been a rousing success. This is just as expected, so far, but it is always a delight when reality actually matches our high expectations.

Sunday was warm and sunny, with highs in the mid-90s - not different, really, from Flower Mound at that same time. So why go to all the way Missouri? The answer becomes obvious as the evening approaches and things cool down noticeably. By bedtime, it was still warm but sleep was reasonably comfortable under a single bedsheet on top of one's sleeping bag.

Our day started sometime before reveille as folks rose and headed to our in-camp showers for a refreshing, reinvigorating rinse. Reveille sounds across the camp at 7:00 am, well after the morning sun has risen past the horizon, and the campsite is fully lit by then. At 7:15 sounds the "waiters' call," summoning the day's table waiters to the dining hall.

Dining at Geiger is done 'family style.' The tables in the dining hall seat eight, two to a bench, one bench per side. Each table's waiter's duties include laying out the plates, glasses, and flatware, and filling two pitchers for each table (water and juice.) They also need to be sure that the appropriate condiments and such are present, as well as napkins. Then, they bring the serving dishes full of that meal's offerings to the table.

This session, the camp is gratifyingly full and the large, polygonal dining hall is at capacity (it is a dodecagon, the 12 sides corresponding to the points of the Scout Law). This means that about 570 souls are served at each meal. You can see how family style service really speeds up mealtimes. When the camp is this well attended, some of the campers, adults only, are invited to dine on the veranda surrounding the dining hall. Having partaken of Sunday's fried chicken and mashed potatoes with corn and gravy that way, your correspondent can attest that this is a pleasant experience.

Table waiter duties are assigned to our Scouts each day on a rotating basis. A waiter's duties start with breakfast and continue through dinner that night. Each day, new Scouts assume these duties. The mathematics of the situation demand that some Scouts serve in this capacity twice during the week but it truly is not an onerous onus and our Scouts discharge their duties well, without complaint. Each day two, three of our adult Scouters are also there with our table waiters to supervise and assist the them.

Once done with the prep chores, the waiters then called upon torepair to the Cloud L. Cray Flag Plaza to rejoin the rest of their troop for the morning flag ceremony. There is a certain ritual even to this quotidien directive: "Staff, fall in! Table waiters, when you are done waiting your tables, please join your troops on the Flag Plaza. The place of the flags, where the flags hang out and blow in the wind, all day long, right side up." This is said with exagerated, drawn-out diction, by all the staffers present, in unison.

Once the Starts and Stripes and Missouri state flags have been raised with suitable pomp and circumstance (and respect from the assembled Scouts and Scouters), we then, with out hats off, enter the dining hall.

Wearing one's (non-religious) head covering in the dining hall is a notable faux pas and will unfailingly draw the notice of the well-informed in attendance, such as returning campers or staffers. One will remove said hat in consequence of these attentions.

Each troop in camp is assigned its own set of tables, the number depending, naturally, on the size of the contingent the troop has brought to camp. For meals, we are joined by Camp Geiger staffers, typically two per table. For example, Troop 451 has 35 campers for this session and we have six tables assigned to us.

We broke our fast on French Toast and sausage. Preparing food for so large a crowd is truly challenging and the necessity to do this in advance of its being served means that camp food is not always quite the same as that we know from home. For example, this morning's main course was best cut using a knife. Still, the hungry crowd consumed it with gusto.

After breakfast, the boys headed over to "the bank" if they wished to withdraw some cash for the day. Our bankers, Jessica Harris and Babak Razavi, handle this process with aplomb and efficiency.

There remain about thirty free minutes before the scheduled activities commence. Andy and Jay Turner led our first-year Scouts (Dylan Beaver, Max Brooks, Noah Carillo, Jack Gaven, Landon Pratt, Kaleb Rutherford, Winston Smith, and Christian Woehler) to the Trail to First Class sessions. These occupy most of the time between then and lunch.

Our older Scouts head to merit badge classes or other activities they have selected.

We lunched on chili dogs with Fritos. Such simple, hearty fare actually hits the spot after a morning of vigorous activity in the outdoors. After the meal was consumed, we learned the results of the morning's campsite inspections. You can be proud that your Scouts once again earned a top score, tying with another troop that also scored 99/100 possible points.

Past perusers of this blog know that our troop has a proud tradition of earning "cleanest campsite" honors and it felt great to know that we are off to a good strat this year too. Clearly, however, we cannot rest on our past record; we have competition!

The afternoon again grew nearly Texan in temperature but the campres' enthusiasm remained undeterred. One of the chief duties of a camper is to have fun while at camp Geiger and our Scouts take this injunction to heart.

For breakfast and lunch, as with most of the camp day, we wear our class B uniform (officially refered to as the "activity uniform") of red Troop 451 shirt, and Scout shorts and socks. For dinner, by contrast, we are requested to show up in our class A's (aka "field uniform"). Ours id a full-uniform troop and our Scouts look snappy attired in their BSA best: class A shirt, red shirt underneath, Scout pants, socks, belt, and a Troop 451 ballcap.

Tonight, we garnered another of our traditional recognitions as the day's "sharpest unit." It is great to uphold a long and beneficial tradition.

Tonight, rain showers are forecast and your writer must needs tend to battening down a few hatches in preparation.  Although the weather is not expected to be severe tonight, it is comforting to know that we have a sturdy, storm proof shelter (more of a concrete bockhouse, really) right here in our campsite. Were the need to arise, we could all seek shelter just a few feet from our tents and we have already run a storm drill so we will know just what to do.

The time grows late and the day was packed; this poor post scratches but the barest surface of our exciting experience today. Now, I must prepare for the oncoming rain and thus, must sign off for the nonce. Look for more updates upon the morrow.


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