Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 - The Week We Had!

Home Again, Home Again . . .
Our week at camp has concluded and the Scouts and Scouters of Troop 451 are now back with their families, enjoying the luxuries of a familiar shower and one's own bed. It is great to be home again with our loved ones though it is sad to leave Camp Geiger behind.

Camp Geiger is a special place and it is always good to be there. Those who have attended camp there develope a feeling for the camp that is stronger than many folks feel towards their alma maters. It has that big an impact on campers.

You may find that your Scout, especially if this is his first time at Camp Geiger, talks of little else this coming week. This is normal and, in time, the conversation should return to more mundane matters. The Scouters of Troop 451 strive to deliver a first-rate Scouting program to every boy who can benefit from it and we know there are far more who could than we actually reach. One aspect of that striving is to provide an outstanding summer camp experience for the whole troop. For the best part of twenty years, Camp Geiger has delivered the goods for us.

One reason is surely the Camp Geiger staff. Whereas many BSA camps struggle to meet their summer staffing needs (the pay is less than meager), Camp Geiger has many more applicants than positions to fill. They have their pick of excellent Scouts and it shows. Even though the earnings are so spare, many boys return year after year to be a part of the Geiger staff experience.

Another reason for our great time at camp is Geiger's fine facilities. Because the 'alumni' of the camp support it so vigorously, the camp has some great venues for dining, for swimming, Scoutcraft, etc. It also has some truly outstanding offerings. The COPE program began at Camp Geiger, for example, and the shooting sports facilities are as good as many a private club's.

If the camp is lacking for anything, it is a true waterfront. Watercraft merit badges are offered on the small lake (more of a pond, really) but the experience is limited by the small size of the water available. The mighty Missouri is nearby but a swiftly-flowing major river is not an especially attractive place to supervise Scouts on the water. Thus, Geiger does have a waterfront but many a BSA Camp offers more in this one area.

Notwithstanding, the overall quality of Camp Geiger is exceptional, even among BSA camps.

Weather Preparedness
As with any outdoor experience, especially in the American Mid-West, weather can present problems, such as severe thunderstorms. We were, fortunately, spared any such drama this week but Geiger is well-prepared should the need arise. You can read more about Camp Geiger's marvelous Storm Shelter facilities here.

Sunday and Monday were quite warm, reaching highs familiar to any Texan in June. Owing to the unseasonable dry spell, the humidity was not bad. That all changed with the arrival of a strong thunderstorm Tuesday morning. This occasioned the only time this week when we had to 'shelter in place' from the threat of lightning strikes.

The rest of our week was actually rather cool. As mentioned earlier, the advice to bring something warm to wear was well-heeded. Sleeping bags were welcome, in contrast to the first two nights when a light sheet felt as though it were almost too much cover.

One achievement of the week was that all of our first-year Scouts earned their Totin' Chips. This means that they have learned the fundamentals of safe knife handling and may now carry a pocket knife at Scout events. Thus, it seemed that every first-year Scout was down at the Trading Post acquiring a shiny new knife for himself. If a Scout commits a knife safety infraction, a corner of their Totin' chip is clipped off; if all four are clipped, the Chip is revoked and the Scout needs to earn it all over again. Your correspondent is unaware of a boy ever needing to have his Totin' Chip revoked in Troop 451. We have a good group of young men. They should be proud of themselves.

Our Scouts earned many merit badges this week and this will set them well on their ways to advancing in Scout rank, another pillar of the Boy Scout program. Promoting active involvement and rank advancement in Scouting is the prime goal of the Mic-O-Say program and our troop has a long and highly-successful affiliation with the tribe. You can read more about the long and deep connection between Scouting and Native American traditions here.

Coming Changes
Despite this abiding attachment to long-standing tradition, change is unavoidable. Our World is changing in so many ways. Daily life today is not as it was when we were kids. In ways both small and weighty, our lives have changed. Small ways are almost unnoticeable (we no longer call places; we call people and we are unsurprised to be able to upload a blog post from a bus rolling down I35, for example). Typically, we see these changes as positive but with their benefits come costs - we no longer enjoy the enforced isolation of a long drive, for one.

The welter of changes can bring disorientation and confusion too. Change, by definition, means things will be different and the unknown often brings our fears to the fore. We can take some solace in knowing that we have experienced change all our lives and have successfully negotiated new shoals. We have the strength and experience to make the most of the positive aspects of change and to minimize the negative.

Changes are coming to the Boy Scout Program too. If we focus on Scouting's mission and its fundamental principles, we will accommodate the coming changes and continue to present a meaningful, important experience to our young men. If we eventually deliver this same first-rate Scouting experience to young women too, that really should be all to the good. All of America's youth can benefit from what we have to offer them.

At this early juncture, much of the way ahead is unclear. If your correspondent has anything to say about the policy change, it is this: one wishes that the National organization were more thorough in bringing those of us on the front lines of Scouting up-to-date with the coming changes. This is a challenging time for Scouting and we will do well to be patient if there are still a few kinks in the pipeline. Those of us to whom others rightly turn for information find the lack of clarity frustrating. We want to offer clear answers to your reasonable questions and we will as we have them.

A Word of Thanks
Many thanks to the dedicated Scouters who were able to be with us this week at Camp Geiger: our outstanding Campmaster, Dennis Goodrich, Jessica Harris, Kevin Hollenshead, Mark Lampe, Phillip Pratt, your correspondent, Babak Razavi, Andy Turner, and Jay Turner. Of course, we were ably-led by our wonderful Scout Master, Steve Kral!

Thanks are also due to our logistical support team: Shelly Koonce once again did a fine job handling med forms and medication needs, Cynthia Richards handles our camp finances as well as she handles all the rest of the troop's financial affairs - it's a demanding job and we are ever grateful for her excellent service to our troop. Stephanie Tyson coordinates advancement and so much more too. Thanks go to her as well. We are grateful to Mr. Morales and Tempus Transportation for the fine bus transportation, provided at a very favorable rate. His good efforts really made camp possible this year. Of course, Karen Rawson served as our camp coordinator for the second year. Thank you for that and thanks to all who have contributed in ways big and small, official and casual to the success of our 2018 summer camp experience!

I cannot thank our fellow Scouters enough for their good service to our boys. Without them, there can be no Troop 451 and no Scouting program for our Scouts. Steve Kral has done an excellent job leading our troop as Scout Master for more than the three years we asked of him. He loves serving us and our boys but the time is fast approaching when he must and should pass the mantle on to another volunteer.

Thus far, no one has stepped up to fill his shoes. Though that might seem a daunting task, recall that we have a large and eager group of Scouters to assist whoever our Scout Master is. If no one steps up, we could find ourselves without a Scout Master. Without a Scout Master, we have no troop. Think of that - no more Troop 451 for want of a volunteer. If you can serve our boys as Scout Master, please talk with Rob Rawson, our Committee Chair or Darrel Page, our Charter Organization Representative.

No Troop Meeting
This coming Monday, June 25th, we will have no Troop meeting. We traditionally skip the meeting after summer camp. Scouts and Scouters have had a lot of Scouting this week and many need a quiet evening at home with their families. If nothing else, it will afford some the time to tackle the laundry piled up in that footlocker they are afraid to open! ;-)

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