Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dutch Oven Cooking

Dutch Oven Cooking


     This week, we had a skill session on cooking with Dutch ovens. After tent inspections were finished (around 7:30), we fell in for the opening flag ceremony, put on by the Dragons. Some Cub Scouts were visiting, and introduced themselves to the troop. Then we began the skill session. Ryan Z. and David D. taught us how to cook a few types of cobbler in a Dutch oven. Delicious! Then Mr. Zink took us outside to demonstrate putting coals on the Dutch ovens. Then we went inside for one of those classic, crazy games of dodgeball. We had a fairly long game, and then fell in and circled up. Mr. Smotherman announced that four Scouts had passed boards of review, and then Mr. Todd gave his Scoutmaster Minute. Afterward, Mrs. Haught gave out eagerly awaited popcorn prizes.  For once, though, when the meeting was over, it just wasn’t quite over. Everyone had to get some of that delicious apple, cherry, and peach cobbler. Ask just about anyone, and they’ll say it was amazing. Yum!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Color Wars

Color Wars


     This month, the troop had a classic campout at Camp Achewon. Yes, you guessed it, Color Wars! This troop tradition is all about teamwork and patrol competition. It’s a weekend of Scout skills, unknown challenges, and unexpected judging.


     When we got to Achewon on Friday night, it was already getting pretty dark. Once we had finished the unloading of the trailer, it was time to get rolling: literally! The trailer drove to the parade field, and the three small carts were taken to the beginning of the trail to the back campsites. Patrol boxes, personal gear, tents, and much more were unloaded from the trailer and loaded into carts and people’s arms. The Scouts worked quickly on getting their things to the campsites so they could set up. This continued for most of the evening. After everyone was done, they relaxed a little at their campsites and then went to bed.


     Saturday was packed full of activities. After everyone cooked their breakfast, we had our morning flag ceremony. Then we had some time to finish up at our camps, and then the fun began. It started with a round-robin. The patrols did activities like a Scout quiz, a chariot race, soccer, and much more. It was all for points, with many things being timed. Then the patrols prepared for flag stealing, though it was eventually canceled due to it not working out. Lunch, luckily, still happened. We had some free time before cooking dinner. Dinner was going to be judged. Patrols made everything from quinoa salad (a brave thing to try) to chili dogs, and many other dishes as well. After a dinner that was anything but pointless, we had a little bit of evening time, followed by a campfire with skits (for points) and some Improv. Then Seamus shouted from the top of the hill behind the chapel. He announced the coming of the long-awaited game of camp-wide hide and seek.


     Confident, nervous, and everywhere in between, the Scouts discreetly slipped into the shadows, hiding in fields, behind trees, in ravines, and any other place one could possibly think of. At nine o’clock a cry went up to announce the beginning of the hunt! Youth staff members and adults grabbed their flashlights and charged into the eerie, desolate woods. They searched everywhere they went, some roaming around at random, others running here and there to places of interest. For the duration of a long, slow hour, the camp was in places lifeless and deserted, while in others it echoed with the occasional cry of someone being discovered. Oh, what a strange phenomenon, a time of both safety and heart-pounding terror, of both boredom and thrill! Yes, this was surely the game that everyone had so eagerly anticipated; a chance at glory and points or miserable failure!


     The Sunday morning sunrise announced an end to the previous day’s competitions, and the beginning of the packing process. The troop put away their sleeping bags and took down their tents. Scouts ate a simple breakfast. Some cleaned up the campsites, some took their things to the trailer, while others traveled to the staff campsite for their morning meds or to get Scoutmaster Conferences. Once most of the work was completed, we all met in front of the trailer to pack it up. This process was executed in a fairly quick manner, and we fell in. Seamus announced that the winners and point breakdowns would be revealed at an upcoming troop meeting. We went to the cars upon being dismissed. Then it was off to the Lock-Up, and eventually, home.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pioneering and Color Wars Planning

Pioneering and Color Wars Planning


     This week, the troop did a few things to get prepared for Color Wars. After the opening flag ceremony, which was put on by the Dragons, we went to our patrol corners. Meanwhile, the Sharks, who were in charge of putting on the pioneering skill session, came around to each patrol to give them rope, sticks, and an assignment. The patrols had to make different structures using lashings. After there had been enough time to complete the assignments, we fell in. Patrol leaders got their planning forms, we were all informed that dinner would be judged (Dun-dun-dun!), and then everyone got to work planning for Color Wars. Once the forms were filled, the meals approved, and the signup sheets turned in, it was time for another wonderful game of dodgeball. For nearly ten minutes, you could hear the SLAM! BANG! WHOOSH!!! of the epic battle raging. Then came the cry that instantly put it to an end: “Troop, fall in!!!” We followed the command, and soon found ourselves circling up. Mr. Todd gave his Scoutmaster Minute about the bond between Scouts, and then everyone left.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Veterans' Dinner

Veterans’ Dinner


     This Saturday, the troop held a special dinner at the church to honor veterans. The Scouts arrived throughout the afternoon, and they prepared the room for the big event. Curtains were put up, flags were placed in their stands, and lights were positioned. Tablecloths were spread, candles were placed, silverware was laid, and salt, pepper, dressing, and butter were set out. Meanwhile, carrots were cut, salads were made, food was prepared, and then the salad was put on the tables. The Scouts rehearsed their roles in the ceremony, and then, since they were quite hungry, went to room 123 to feast on boxes and boxes of pizza.


     Once the preparations were made and the Scouts were fed, the clock indicated it was nearly time for the doors to open, at 5:30. After this, veterans and their families came in and found tables to sit at. As this was happening, table hosts were greeting their guests, Danny C., the Scout organizer of the event, was rushing about, Mr. S., the adult organizer, was also going here and there doing things, and Scouts started to serve drinks. Around 6:00, Pastor Mark Rowland said an opening prayer, and then the boys sprang into action, serving plates of chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes. Before long, everyone had their dinner in front of them. While the guests ate their food, Scouts such as Gunner T., Bryan C., and Michael G. went around refilling drinks.


     After the veterans and their families had finished eating, the Scouts cleared all the plates and took them to the kitchen so the adults could wash them. Once this was over, the server-Scouts brought out a delicious dessert of tiramisu. And once those plates were cleared, it was almost time for the ceremony to start.


     The program began with the opening flag ceremony. Alex S., Andrew B., and Austin M. presented the American Flag, and then the National Anthem was played. Then it was time for the presentation of the flags for each branch of the military, with the armed forces medley. The Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Marine Corps flags came forward, each during their song. The veterans stood as their branches were announced.


     Then Seamus G. called Jackson T. forward to give his address to the veterans. Once his speech was finished, I came up to give my speech on sacrifice. After I called for a moment of silence at the end, the lights were turned off, and I joined Jackson and the other Scouts. We quietly and quickly formed two rows, making an aisle way. Then a solitary light was turned on and aimed down the aisle, operated by Aiden H. The light shone on Alex S., who held the black POW-MIA flag. The only light in the room was the spotlight, and the image of a flickering candle on the projector screen. The only sound was a slow, somber song beginning to play. After a few moments, Alex slowly walked down the aisle, the Scouts saluting as he went by. He made his way to the stage, eventually posting the flag in its stand by the others. Then, as he walked back down through the aisle, the Scouts walked out of their formation and followed him slowly out of the room.


     After the last Scouts had walked through the door, “God Bless America” was played, along with a slideshow of pictures of our country. Then Mr. Siebenburgen came onstage to give some final thoughts. He presented Danny C. with the Spirit of the Veteran Award, for his hard work planning the dinner. It was placed around Danny’s neck by the oldest veteran at the dinner, who was 95. A tribute to American heroes was played (with “God Bless the USA”), and then Pastor Rowland offered a closing prayer.


     As the guests left the room, the Scouts quickly set to work cleaning up. As the tables were cleared, we rabidly scavenged what leftovers there were, stuffing delectable dinner rolls into our mouths and pockets. We also made quick work of the chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans left in the kitchen. Many, including myself, had their eyes set on those mashed potatoes all evening. Just when we thought that we had devoured everything, my mom remembered that there was an entire cart of leftover tiramisu in the walk-in fridge. And to think, we almost forgot about it! I’ll just let you imagine what you missed if you weren’t there. I think the Scouts of Troop 281 would have their lives enriched if Mr. S. provided his wonderful dinner rolls at every meeting and campout!


     I believe that the veterans and their families enjoyed this special evening as much as we enjoyed putting it on. We look forward to holding this event again.


Special thanks to Mr. Siebenburgen, Danny C., Mr. Reid, and all of the other adults and Scouts who contributed to making this dinner a success.