October 15-17, 2010
The 2010 Seven Rivers District Fall Camporee was a very organized and successful event. It started with a weather surprise when a storm came in on Friday. With a forecast for 40 MPH winds throughout the night, the district and council decided it would be best to cancel camping that night and start the Camporee out on time early Saturday morning. So Friday night we met at the usual time to pack up the truck but then we all went home and had a good night’s sleep.
Saturday morning came early and we were on the road at 6:00 arriving at the Cracker Barrel Fairgrounds around 6:30. We were the first to register and began setting up the site. Once again the boys did great job organizing the tents by patrol and getting them all secured. The wind presented a good challenge for them as they learned the importance of staking the tents down as they were putting them up. After a few “parachute events” everything was safe and secure.
Each of the patrols had their own schedule with half the troop spending the morning at the main area that had the four Centennial merit badge classes (Carpentry, Tracking, Pathfinding and Signaling). All of the areas were very interactive and had lots of hands on activity. The Carpentry area had all of the tools needed to practice some skills; they even had a board set up so every scout could practice shingling a roof. The Tracking area also had a great set up complete with animal tracks in several “gardens”. The boys were able to make a plaster cast of the animal tracks that were there.
There were several other activities at the main area as well. The National Guard brought a fully armored Humvee that they boys were able to climb into and explore. Bass pro had some casting practice with some nice rods and reels and there were several Jumbo Jenga areas set up where the boys could play a game of Jenga with 2×4 blocks.
The Orienteering and Geocaching Area was about a mile away and is where the other half of the troop spent the morning. The volunteers teaching these skills did an amazing job and the boys all felt they learned a lot. Both of the programs started with some classroom teaching and exercises. Once the boys were fully briefed and taught how to use the equipment they were able to head out as a patrol and find their way to certain points using only a map and compass or finding some geocaches using a handheld GPS.
The boys all came back to the site for lunch where we had constructed a wind break so the boys could cook on their stoves. After each patrol made their lunches (hamburgers, hot dogs and soup) they cleaned up and headed out again, this time switching areas.
The wind never let up. Although all of our tents remained secured we did have a few of some other Troop’s tents blow by like tumbleweeds. A few troops tried to put up some shelters, but most of those ended up crumpled in a mass of broken metal and canvas.
Our campfire was in a half barrel and provided a lot of warmth for the boys. Saturday night got pretty cold but all of the boys stayed warm in their sleeping bags. The wind died down by Sunday morning and the fire helped get everyone up and going. We packed up, loaded the truck and had a small interfaith service. We were on the road by 9:30 and back at the Elks by 10:00.
Once again the boys did a great job working as a team. Each patrol was having fun and working together and the entire Troop seemed to be working more closely as a team. All of this team building and cooperation will be really important for our hiking trip in November.