Tuesday, December 16, 2014

An Unusual (But Fun) Way to Give Gifts

An Unusual (But Fun) Way to Give Gifts

     This week we had our Christmas party, consisting mainly of our white elephant gift exchange. Everyone who attended this week’s meeting brought some type of gift. (The recommended cost was $5-$10.) All of the gifts were put on a table in the middle of the room. Then we all made a circle-ish shape around the table. Jackson T. explained the rules: we would go around the circle, one person at a time. Each person would choose either to pick a gift from the table, or to steal a previous person’s item. One item could only be stolen up to three times, and someone could not steal something that they’d already had.

     It was a great time. There were some cool gifts, and lots of laughing over the events unfolding. Sometimes, just as someone got exactly what they wanted, it was stolen from them. Some items of interest that were stolen three times were a Gerber knife, a waterproof stuff-sack, a lantern, a poker set, and several assortments of candy and chocolate. There were some stormproof matches, a Whitman Sampler (Mmmm…), and a curiously large can of nacho cheese. This can was by far the heaviest thing on the table. It was first received by Danny C., who didn’t quite know what to do with it. Then Jacob W. stole it, and he was from then on the proud owner of the cheese. (I have the feeling that a lot of nachos are in his future.) Besides the candy, camping gear, card games, and cheesy presents, there were also some gift cards for Graeter’s Ice Cream, Game Stop, and Orange Leaf.

     Aside from this gifting extravaganza, there was a short game of dodgeball, and the winners of the Golden Spoon from Color Wars and Feast Fest (The Panthers and Serpents, respectively) were each given a cooler of Klondike Bars. Also, it was announced that several Scouts completed Boards of Review.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Feast Fest

Feast Fest

    This month, we had one of our traditional troop camping trips… Feast Fest! Feast Fest is a campout dedicated to having fun and good food. Traditionally, the troop holds this event at Boy Scout Camp Oyo, near Portsmouth, Ohio.

     It all started with the long drive (2 to 3 hours) to Camp Oyo. The large procession of vehicles left the lockup in the dark. Before we knew it, we were out of Cincinnati and on our way down State Route 52. We passed quite a few power plants situated cozily along the Ohio River, while seeing rolling farmland and old barns on the other side of the road. We went through several towns with beautiful Christmas decorations and long strings of colored lights along the road. About halfway through our drive, we stopped at our usual Marathon station to get snacks, drinks, etc. and to go to the bathroom. With all of our Scouts and leaders lined up all the way across the convenience store, it was probably one of the most successful business days of that gas station’s year. Three hours and a half dozen power plants after leaving the church, we finally arrived at Camp Oyo. We got to work unpacking and setting up, and eventually went to bed.

     Saturday was leisurely and busy at the same time. The day started out with everybody making breakfast at the dining hall. For a while everyone sat around the fireplaces eating and talking. Once patrols were finished eating and cleaning, they had some free time to prepare for the 5 mile hike. The hike was scheduled for 9:00AM, and left a little bit after that.

     The hikers went off on their adventure, while the rest of us stayed back at camp to have our own. We had some free time, so we passed the time by playing on the new obstacle course, playing cards and a few board games, building fires, and just hanging around. One exciting thing that happened was a soccer game, with Scouts from nearly all of the patrols. Most of those who weren’t playing were sitting outside the dining hall watching the game. Later there was a football game that included several members of another troop staying nearby. When the hikers returned, about 2:15, several patrols ate their lunch, while others got ready to begin cooking dinner. Why, you ask, were people cooking dinner in the afternoon? Well, this wasn’t just a dinner. This was a feast!

     Slowly, the Sun went down, and dinner time crept closer. This colossal meal was going to begin at 7:00. Finally, as it neared seven, the tables and benches were pushed together into a long row…

     At about ten after seven, the masses of people sat down to eat. The tables had been positioned and set; the food was laid out, ready for consumption. Max B. prayed, and then Mr. Zink and Jackson T. announced what delicious food each patrol had made. There were things like fajitas, mac n’ cheese, soup, cornbread, and all kinds of other mouthwatering dishes. For dessert, there were four cobblers and two cherry dump cakes, as well as pumpkin crisp. Everyone soon got in line to heap the amazing food onto their plates. As Nate S. said, there was lots of feasting and festing. Once the meal was over, many people went back to their cabins to relax, while the rest stayed back for the dreaded cleanup operation. (It was a big mess.)

     Once cleanup was over, most people went to their cabins. For a while, wrestling was held at the bunkhouse. Eventually, though, the Scouts grew sleepy and went to bed.

     Sunday morning was (as usual) not as easy-going as the previous day. There was waking up, packing, eating, cleaning, inspecting, loading, and leaving. Once again, we were soon zooming down 52, this time the opposite direction. We passed those rolling hills, houses and old barns, cheery little towns, and power plants yet again. This time we did not stop. A little ways into the afternoon we rolled into the parking lot of the church, most of us a bit tired (probably an understatement). The crowds of Scouts unloaded the trailer with a kind of sleepy but enthusiastic effort. Once it was all over, we got into our cars and left, this time on a much shorter journey: going home.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Preparing For Feast Fest

Preparing for Feast Fest

      This week, our meeting involved preparations for the Feast Fest campout. One of the first things we did after the opening flag ceremony was patrol leader nominations. Yes, that time of year had come again. The patrols went to their corners to nominate their new patrol leaders, who would be sworn in at the January Court of Honor. Then there was trailer loading, accompanied by a nice long game of dodgeball. Later, we had patrol leader elections. After the loading, voting, and dodgeball throwing was finished, we circled up and concluded our meeting. Congrats to all of our new patrol leaders elect!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dutch Oven Cook-Off

Dutch Oven Cook-Off

     This week the troop had a Dutch oven cooking competition. Once tent inspections were completed, the meeting began. After the Eagles put on the opening flag ceremony, everyone went outside. Large tin trays were set up, filled with glowing coals. Each patrol got its Dutch oven and other equipment and set to work. The patrols competed fiercely, making things like cobbler, dump cake, and all kinds of tasty treats. It wasn’t long before ovens were on their coals and producing delicious smells. When it was time to plan meals for Feast Fest (coming up in a couple of weeks), everybody just did it right there, next to the Dutch ovens. Closer to the end of the meeting, the youth staff called for everyone to come inside for the final fall-in, except for two people from each patrol (to tend to the cooking food). After the troop fell in, everyone came inside to participate in circling up. Several Scouts received their rank patches: Hunter M. and Kris H. received Tenderfoot, Josh R. received Second Class, and I received Life. We then crossed arms and prayed. Then the Scouts went back outside to be judged on their food. We don’t know the results yet, but I can tell you that those desserts looked good. The Eagles’ cherry dump cake was delicious. Overall, it was a pretty tasty troop meeting.