Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Another long, fun day at Camp Geiger draws to a close. The boys are (mostly) in their tents, on their cots, trying to sleep. A few are still lined up to take their showers and one is working an unexpected repair to his Mic-O-Say costume. Thus, comparative quiet has descended on our humble campsite, Sioux Lookout.

For several of your Troop 451 Scouters, the day started earlier than usual, as they arose to volunteer at the dining hall at 5:00 am. Yes, preparing pancakes and bacon for 570 souls requires more hands than the kitchen staff routinely employs. Thus, traditionally, this affords an opportunity for spirited Scouters to render some service to other people. Your troop provided four volunteers: Jessica Harris, Kevin Hollenshead, Phillip Pratt, and your correspondent. Jessica allowed as how she understood the ins and outs of food service wrap (which, in truth, can take a bit of doing to handle successfully) so she assumed duties at the wrapping station.

Kevin Hollenshead and Phillip Pratt manned the griddle, a 2' by 5' expanse of searing steel. They also manned the pancake plopper. Yours truly mixed the batter and filled the pouring bucket (and the plopper when it ran dry). Together, we produced pancakes from 20 gallons of batter. This amounts to something on the order of 2500-or-so flapjacks. Along with the bacon platters, Jessica and helpers wrapped perhaps 240 serving vessels.

To reassure those among us who concern themselves with such momentous matters, no pancakes were patted in the making of this breakfast.

Gratifyingly, for those of us who assisted in its preparation, the meal was a hit. Most of our Scouts partook of the abundance of hotcakes and the more-than-sufficient supplies of bacon. Seconds were consumed, and, in a few cases, even thirds! No one left hungry for cause.

Before we left the dining hall, we were treated to a trivia contest involving two lucky campers and a couple of hapless staffers. Each camper was assigned a staffer who was charged with answering an NFL trivia question. The assigned camper would then determine whether to accept or reject the staffer's response. Should the camper accept the staffer's answer and that answer was correct, the next staffer was posed a question. Conversely, should the staffer's accepted response prove incorrect, the staffer would receive a pie in the face, courtesy of his camper. The first staffer to be hit with two pies was declared the loser.

The staffers showed a more-than-respectable familiarity with the nitty-gritty of NFL history and the campers were good at accepting correct answers. In consequence, the game lasted rather longer than expected. Nonetheless, one poor staffer eventually received his second pie. Accordingly, we were then dismissed to head to the impending morning activity.

Today's weather was cloudy but we were spared the predicted rain. The temperatures were mild, barely reaching the 80s and dropping to the mid-60s. Yes. the mid-60s in mid-June! Now you see why we take sleeping bags with us. The previous nights, a single bedsheet seemed a bit too much.

At lunchtime (grilled chicken breast, buns, and baked beans and, as always, the delicious salad bar), we learned that we once again garnered "cleanest campsite" honors. Regular readers of these posts may have noted the absence of such a report from Tuesday's entries. This is because on Tuesday, we did not even finish in the money. For reasons that remain incomprehensible, we received a disappointingly low score, though the only substantive comment involved one detail with the facilities we share with two other troops.

In any event, much as we enjoy the recognition, we keep a clean campsite because we like it that way. We believe in the Scout Law: a Scout is clean. A tidy campsite just feels right. It is our home away from home for this week and we want our home to be pleasant. Keeping it clean is one way to help ensure that we can enjoy it. Similarly with the "sharpest unit" competition. We like looking like a Boy Scout troop. The Scout uniform is one of the pillars of the Scouting program; Baden-Powell considered it essential to his program. When we turn out looking sharp and uniform, we simply reflect our commitment to being a first-rate Scouting program. The recognition is merely icing on the cake. But, hey. Who doesn't love icing? And who doesn't love raising their troop's flag 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).

Undeterred by Tuesday's inexplicable result, our troop resolved to redouble our efforts for today. We were gratified that our efforts were once again worthy of top marks.

Wednesday evening is Family Night at Camp Geiger and for the great majority of campers, this means families coming in bearing food from outside. Thus, Wednesday's dinner is consumed in various venues throughout the camp. Most of us from Troop 451 dined in the dining hall, either on food their families provided or on pizza from the local iteration of Pizza Ranch (more on PR later in this series).

The highlight of any Family Night at Camp Geiger must be the Wednesday night campfire in the Running Horse Council Ring. This spacious arena is built into the hillside in the center of camp, using large blocks of local limestone. It easily accommodates all 570 folks in camp this session, as well as an even greater number of family members and friends in attendance.

The program opened with some standard silliness involving acrobatic stunts by the camp leadership and quickly moved on to the main event: skits from the Scouts. We were treated to an array of OLD favorites ("Ugliest Scout on Earth", "Throwing Skittles off a Cliff") to some that may well have been wholly original ("Superhero Wax Museum").

Your Troop 451 Scouts presented two entries: "Raisin Bran" and " ". The former starred Jai Nagenini, Joseph Paroski, Robby Paul, Julian Razavi, and Austin Reid. The latter revolved around an Audience participation song involving rare bogs, trees and branches and atoms shaking and rattling in a valley. Kaleb Rutherford did an outstanding job leading his crew and the audience in the intricacies of the atom on the speck of dust on the aglet on the shoelace on the feather on the branch on the wing on the bird in the nest on the stick on the twig on the branch on the tree in the hole in the bog in the valley.

He was ably accompanied on stage by Dylan Beaver, Max Brooks, Noah Carillo, Jack Gaven, Landon Pratt, and Christian Woehler. Their performance was a hit and, if I do say so myself, the outstanding skit of the campfire! There was, however, palpable relief that Kaleb stopped short of muons and quarks.

But now it is just shy of the witching hour when one might hear the chimes with Sir Falstaff and your correspondent has been going strong since rising at 4:45. Faced with another day's Kitchen duty, he must cut short his poor efforts to share the joys of summer cam with the men of Troop 451 and retire to his humble cot (quite literally!)


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