316

Chapter 01

7:00 sharp, "Reveille, reveille, reveille! Let's see those bright shining faces.  Up, up, up!  You're wasting Daylight!" Nick Stokely the SPL projected with amazing enthusiasm, as he walked by the tents.  Grumbles were heard from most of the tents.

Jeff Alexander, the acting Scoutmaster got up, put on clean clothes, straightened his tent then emerged, smiling, ready for the first day.  His first stop was to light the stove and start a pot of coffee, then off to the latrine.  He then posted the Merit Badge assignments on the bulletin board.  When Nick came by Jeff handed him the fire chart that needed to be filled out and posted.  "The Commissioner told us last night that he would find things wrong today, so let's make his job as difficult as possible."

Nick grinned, "I like the way you think Mr. A.!"

Nick went and organized the boys and they policed the site. (They lined up and walked across the site picking up any trash.)

When they were done, Preston came to Nick, "Earl is still in bed and his side of the tent is, well, a mess."

Nick nodded and motioned to Tom and Matt and they approached the tent.  Nick had grabbed a large pot and wooden spoon.  The rest of the boys followed not wanting to miss this.  A quick glimpse in the tent and Nick went to the end of the tent where Earl's head was peacefully sleeping.  Suddenly the three older teens were screaming Earl's name and Nick was pounding the pot.  Earl came flying out of the tent like his Smiley face boxers were on fire.  Everyone got a good laugh, except Earl, of course.  While Earl took care of business the others cleaned up the tent. 

At 7:30, Nick lined up the troop and they set off for the Mess Hall.  All the Troops lined up facing the flag pole.  At 7:45, Mr. Denson, the Camp Director, stepped forward, "Attention!  Color guard, advance!"  Seven staff members advanced from the Mess Hall.  One carrying a folded American flag, another a Boy Scout Flag and the other a State Flag.

The Leader ordered them, "Halt.  Color Guard, Post The Colors."  He then faced the Troops, "Scouts Salute!"

The Staff member with the American Flag and his escort moved to the center, tallest flag pole, attached the flag and briskly pulled it to the top of the pole.  When they had completed that, the other two pairs raised their flags on the other poles.  The leader then ordered, "Two! Color guard Retreat." The seven walked back to the Mess Hall.

Mr. Denson then had a few announcements about the day, a brief weather report and he turned the dismissal to the mess hall over to the Program Director.  He walked over to Troop 316.  "Jeff, I've been on the phone with Capt. Henry.  He can't come back today.  He has found a replacement.  He should be here soon, he had to get a Physical and he's bringing his boys too."

"That's great, John.  The more the merrier."

John laughed, "I'm glad you can say that, he's bringing a patrol!"

"Who is this guy?"

"I think Eric said his name was Richards, from Haven Manor.  I must have heard wrong, that old recluse wouldn't come out here in a million years."

"Well, we'll find out soon enough."

316 got called and the boys joined the line.  By 8:45, everyone was finished and after the Head cook inspected the tables he dismissed the boys.  The campers rushed back to their campsite and got the things they needed for the morning.  Jeff refilled his coffee mug and sat talking with several other Scouters.  After about fifteen minutes, a van pulled up and a man and a bunch of boys got out and John Denson took them into his office.  A few minutes later, they left the office and John took the boys over to the Troop Baden Powell site and dropped off the man with him.

"Well, Tom, welcome to Troop 316."

"Thanks, I can honestly say that this time yesterday, I never thought I'd be here."  They laughed and walked towards the van.

Tom and Jeff drove to the campsite after Tom had made arrangements for John to pick up some things from Scout HQ.  They put the boys' gear in their tents.  The empty three tents were soon claimed, Neal and Ben in the first tent, Jimmy and Stephen in the second tent, and Todd and Monty of course together in the third.

Jeff explained that he wasn't the Scoutmaster, just acting Scoutmaster for Summer Camp.  His real position was called Charter Organization Representative.  His description was that he was the guy that was caught in the middle.  He was the go-between for the Church, Troop and Council.  He had to represent the position of the other two to which ever he was talking to.  Lunch time came and the two adults met the boys on the Parade Ground, in front of the Mess Hall.  The six new boys were very excited, and they were all trying to talk to Tom at once.  Attendance was checked, and once again the Troops were dismissed to the Chow line one at a time.

Hot dogs, baked beans, chips, salad and 'bug juice', for those who didn't like the fare, there was PB&J (Peanut Butter and Jelly for those living in caves).  Two boys were waiters, and had come ten minutes early, to set up and they kept everyone in bug juice, and after eating, they had to clean the tables.  When everyone was done, there were a few announcements.  The head cook once again released the clean tables and there was an hour 'free time' before the afternoon classes and activities.  they returned to the campsite.  The new boys were excited about the 'big' 2 man wall tents.  Tom told them he had asked someone to stop, and pick up some sleeping bags, and they should be back before dinner. 

While Tom was busy with his boys, Jeff had a talk with Nick and Matt, "Okay guys, I'm sure you noticed we have six new boys.  Capt. Henry isn't able to come back and Mr. Richards is filling in.  All those boys are new to scouting and even the two older guys went with the Troop Baden Powell Program.  I want you to watch out for them as much as you can.  I'm getting a feeling that they may need some TLC and I think they would be a great addition to the troop.  I don't know that we have ever added so many boys in one year.  Also watch Brett, he may be pretty upset about his Grand-dad not coming back.  Any questions?" 

"No, sir, Mr. A.  We'll keep an eye on them.  Do they have a Patrol Leader?" Nick asked.

"Yeah, the kid with the buzz cut."

"No, you're kidding.  He looks like the youngest."

"Mr. Richards said he is the leader and that the others follow him so we'll see."

Matt shook his head, "I'll make sure he does alright, I'll back him up as much as I can."

"Thanks, I knew I could count on you two."

Soon, Nick, started yelling for the boys to get moving, Classes in ten minutes.  Then suddenly, Jeff and Tom were alone.

Jeff and Tom sat and were shooting the breeze, when some remark reminded Tom of Monty's concern.  "Jeff, I need to fill you in on my three boys.  Neal, was an orphan and misplaced, into juvenile detention, where he was raped repeatedly, by the older boys.  He ran away and ended up in my apartment, the night I found out about inheriting Haven Manor."

"Whoa, hold on.  You own Haven?  I thought some old recluse owned all that and about two thirds of the country around here."

"That was my late Uncle Philip.  I'm his only remaining relative, so, ta da."

"Lord you must be �"

"Loaded?  Yep.  I've been here less than a month, so it hasn't really soaked in yet.  But Neal was real beat up, they really abused him bad.  Then on our trip here, we literally found Jimmy.  He had been on the run for a year, from an abusive father, who had beaten his mother to death."

"Jesus."

"Neal found him at a rest stop.  He was naked, and passed out from a trucker gang bang.  He had been surviving by selling himself.  Then Social Services brought Monty.  He has been kicked out of foster homes, for the past three years.  His Foster father, caught him exploring with his Natural son, and has made it his life's work, to make Monty's life a living hell.  Monty has thought he was gay, ever since, but no one has ever taken any real interest in him.  He was worried, on the way up here, that he couldn't do Scout stuff because he was gay."

"Look, Tom.  This is where my role in Scouting comes in.  There is a lot of press coverage about the BSA being anti-gay.  Well, it all hinges on this, 'On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, to obey the scout law, to help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.'

"Now first, the youth are pledging to do their best.  No one is perfect, and I don't expect to see it.  The lesson I want the boys to take away, is that you try to do the right thing, and when you screw up, make it right, figure a better way and try again.  Now the issue has been the adult leaders.  We are supposed to be the role models.  We get held to a higher standard, and rightfully so.  No sane parent wants their son modeling on a felon, drug abuser, or a sexually deviant / promiscuous person.  It is the Charter Organization that has to make the call on morally straight.  BSA backs them, as they should.  Some organizations only allow their members to be in the troop.  The Mormons are that way; they even require all boys in the church to be Scouts.  As far as homosexuality goes, I don't feel any different about that than anything else.  If two men are monogamous and good parents, aren't they being moral?  Aren't they setting a good example?  I've got no problem.  Now take a single father, who is running around, a different woman every week, now that, I have problems with.  As a matter of fact, I can't think of a single case in our council, where a leader has been asked to leave because they were gay, however, I can think of four, because they had kids' out-of-wedlock, while leaders, and three cases because of promiscuity."

"I thought it was the BSA national policy." Tom said.

"Well, they get sued and they don't settle.  They have gone the distance about a dozen times, all the way to the Supreme Court.  They have not lost there.  I have no idea if you are gay.  Furthermore, I don't want to know.  As long as you are a good role model for the boys, you are welcome in my troop.  I would say rescuing those three makes you a hero, and a terrific role model."

Tom was greatly relieved; they relaxed some, and then decided a hike around camp would be good.  The boys would see them, and it would give Tom an idea of where things were.  Jeff saved the Troop Powell area till the end.  There were about thirty boys there.  They were in groups of six each, with an older boy in a camp staff shirt.  Jeff explained to Tom, that each group was a patrol, just like in the troop.  They are learning the basic Scout skills, knots, first aid, citizenship, cooking, and safe use of knife, ax and saw.  By the time they finish the week, they should be close to earning the first three ranks.

"Wow, it took me a couple of years to get to first class." Tom commented.

"Sorry if I ran on too much.  I didn't know you were a Scout."

"I was in a pretty good troop, for a couple of years, and then we moved, and the troop I was in was not what I was interested in.  There was a lot of hazing and the older boys would strip and humiliate the new guys.  They were working to get me, so I stopped going." Tom explained.

"We try real hard to make sure that doesn't happen.  I'll bet the adults in that troop spent as little time with the boys as they could.  They offer the basic adult training this week.  I think you should go.  As a matter of fact, they just updated the course, and I'll go with you."  Jeff offered, as they were spotted by Tom's crew. 

They said something to their counselor, and he told them to take 5. Buffalo could get some pointers on stampeding from these guys.  From the barrage of comments that all the boys were making it was easy to guess they were having a great time.  When they were called back, the adults waved, then walked back towards the Admin. Building.  Just as they reached the building, two vehicles pulled in.  One was a crew cab pick-up that had 'Haven Construction' painted on the sides that was used to carry supplies, and work crew.  He pulled up next to Tom.  Captain Henry was riding along.  The back of the truck had what looked like the whole camping section of Wal-Mart�.

The driver, Samuel, explained, "I and the farm credit card, and Capt. Henry advised me what the boys would need.  I hope we got everything."  Jeff was going through the goodies already. 

The other vehicle held John Denson.  He got out and surveyed the goodies.  "Did you get pocket knives for the boys?"

"I told them to wait and let the boys pick-out their own."  Captain Henry said.

"Good.  Are you back, to stay?" John asked.

"No, I'm just going to be here for a few hours, if that's okay? This case just exploded.  It seems Gunther and the deputies, are behind a string of hate crimes, over the past five years.  It is going to take some time to straighten out.  The Governor has put the pressure on, to tie it up, before the press gets it.  I should be back sometime Friday afternoon, and maybe for a dinner or two."  Capt. Henry was not too happy about his time being taken up with this case.

Detective Dubois, another passenger in the truck, asked, "Could I get a few minutes with Jimmy.  I just need to get his picture, and prints, for the file.  I'm so glad this has a happy ending.  How is Gunther's boy doing?"

"Pretty good; this is a great distraction for him." Tom said.

"Jeff, could you take Samuel to the campsite, and help him get this stuff distributed.  I'll go get Jimmy, if they will give him parole." Tom joked.

John Said, "Let me do that, I want to talk to each of the boys anyway."

When they were alone, Capt. Henry said to Tom. "I can't thank you enough.  If you hadn't spotted that tire iron, we might never have broken the case.  Now we will be able to close at least eight other murders.  And you are filling in here, so the boys can stay.  I would have been heart broken if they had to leave because of my work."

"I'm glad it's all working out.  When you get a chance, you can bring your grandson and family, to Haven for a vacation.  I've got a nice pool, horses to ride, and lots of land." 

"I just might take you up on that.  I bet my daughter-in-law would love a week like that."  He said, as the boys arrived. 

They greeted Detective Dubois, and wanted to know what had been happening. 

John pulled a couple of sacks out of his car.  He came back, got a box out and asked which boy was patrol leader.  Tom almost broke out laughing, Neal looked around at them, and the other five boys were all looking at him.  "Well I guess that was a silent election.  Come with me, Son." He said, indicating Neal.

In his office, John quickly reviewed the Requirements for joining Scouts, with Neal.  He asked Neal if he understood the oath, and law.  Neal said yes.  John asked him if he thought he could live by those rules.  Neal said they seemed to be a pretty good set of rules.  Then John explained, how a patrol should work, and that as leader, it was his job to represent his patrol, to the troop leadership, and to keep his patrol up on troop business, as well as running the patrol.  Then he reached into a sack, and pulled out a scout shirt.  He gave it to Neal.  "Wear this shirt with pride; when you wear this, you are part of something big.  Almost two million boys in the US are scouts.  There are Scouting programs in almost every country in the world.  You are now a brother to every Scout."  Neal was kind of overwhelmed.  He put on the shirt over his T-shirt and beamed.

"Go get your patrol, and bring them in.  Oh, your Dad too."

Tom didn't recognize the grinning Scout that came out on the porch.  Then the boy spoke and Tom almost fell over.

"Okay, you guys!  Don't just stand there, line up and come into the office."  He had authority in his voice, wow.  "Oh, you too, Dad."  That was a little timid.  Tom followed the rest, into the small office.  As each boy entered, John handed him a shirt.  Tom was surprised they all had the patches sewn on, and the troop number 316.  Neal's had a patch under the number, which said Patrol Leader.

John spoke as the last boy got his shirt.  "Boys, we wear our Scout Shirts to Dinner every night, also to the Camp Fire on Friday.  Try to keep them neat and reasonably clean.  Tomorrow morning you will be working on knife ax and saw safety.  If any of you can pass your Tot'n Chip, come here after lunch, and show me your card.  I have something for you.  I don't do this for other boys, but you six are special, and I want to do something special for you."

"Mr. Richards, it would be a disgrace to have a troop leader, that couldn't show a good example.  He handed Tom a shirt.  It had the Committee Member Patch on the sleeve.  "Now, there is one more thing you boys need.  He reached into the box and handed each boy a Boy Scout Handbook.  Put your name in it, so it can be returned, if found.  Now tuck those shirts in, and look like Scouts. Let's go get dinner.  Go line up with your troop."

The boys all thanked him, and hurried out to the parade ground.  "I thought I was going to spend my week sewing patches on shirts.  I don't know how you did it, but thanks." Tom told him.

"Just raise those boys in a safe loving environment.  I'm glad Council office was slow, and Mrs. Gussmont was willing to go home and sew them on.  She made some comment, about how she could do it in an hour, and it would take some man all week."  They laughed all the way to the parade ground.

The flags were lowered and folded, and soon everyone was consuming meatloaf, green-beans and French fries.  Salad and PB&J were available.  Tom sat at the table with the adults, and the two biggest and oldest boys.  Tom introduced himself to the boys. 

"I'm Nick Stokley.  I'm the SPL, ah, Senior Patrol Leader.  I run the troop.  If you see a problem, please let me know.  My job is to run meetings, and be sure everything is done and safe on camping trips." The boy who had taken charge after lunch said.

"I'm Matt Little. I'm the Assistant SPL.  I do what Nick can't." The other boy said.

Jeff Jumped in, "Yeah, it's great, we get to blame them for everything.  We just sit around all day getting a nice tan."

Nick came back with, "From the looks of those pale knobby knees, you need it."

They all laughed.  Then Nick said to Tom, "Mr. Richards, I saw one of the new guys has a PL patch.  Can you tell me a little about him, and the others?"

"Neal, is the patrol leader of that crew.  He is just turned eleven, but will be in sixth grade in the fall.  He is my adopted son.  Jimmy and Monty are my foster sons, who are in the process of being adopted by me.  They have a pretty grim history, so if you see any problems, don't hesitate to get me.  Todd is Monty's friend, and just escaped a pretty bad home situation.  He may have some nightmares, if he does, let him come get me.  Ben and Stephen are the boys' friends, and live in Havendale."

"I don't ever remember getting a whole patrol at once before.  Okay, well I guess I'd better go meet Neal, and get him up to speed.  Bye."  The two cleared their places, and went and sat by Neal.

After being dismissed, the boys headed back to camp.  It was like Christmas for the new guys.  Sleeping bags, mess kits, compass, pack and frame, and lord only knows what the boys were busy showing each other their stuff (they never realized they all had the same stuff) Jeff came over with some sticks he had cut, with a piece of cord.  He showed the boys how to tie the stick and make a hanger for their shirt so it would stay neat. 

After things settled, all the boys gathered at the fire ring, and Nick got everyone's attention.  "Guys, Troop 316 grew today.  We have a whole new patrol."  The boys cheered.  "Neal Richards is their Patrol Leader.  Neal, how about introducing your guys."

Neal stood and introduced each boy.  After each introduction, the troop said hello to the boy.  After Neal was done, Nick introduced the other boys.  He said something nice about each one.  Tom was very impressed with this kid.  "Now did everyone have fun today?"  They all cheered.

Jeff then stood, "Great!  Now for some fun tonight."  He raised his hands, "Oh, Great Spirit, bring us light to cheer us in the darkness."

A small flaming ball came from the trees behind Jeff and went right into the fire laid at lunch.  The fire burst into life with proper oohs, aahs, and a couple kewls.  Jeff led the Troop in a couple of songs, then turned to Tom, "Mr. Richards told me today, that he was a Scout, so maybe he can remember some of the songs he used to sing."

All eyes were on Tom.  "Come on Dad, don't wimp out."  That got a good laugh.  Neal was going to pay for that.

"Do you guys know Pink Pajamas?"  Tom should have known better, and probably did.  There was a chorus of, "Pink Whats?  You got to teach us." And much giggling.  So Tom figured they did know it.  "Okay guys, you aren't getting away with that.  I'll go through it once, then everybody sings, to drown me out if nothing else."

By the time Tom finished, his boys were roaring with laughter.  A little risky talk in front of adults could make you feel quite giddy when you were eleven or twelve.  They sang it together, and everyone was laughing and having a grand time.  Then several boys led songs.  Then several told ghost stories.  Finally as the fire burned down, Jeff asked Tom if he knew a good one to end the campfire.  He nodded, and told a story that was complete corn, but a lot of fun.  Basically you pick on the leaders. Until the only one left is the new Scout, in this case Ben, who was grinning ear to ear.  There are plenty of times to suddenly scream, and scare the #### out of them, then you get to the punch line and groans at just how very bad the pun is.

Jeff stood and playfully pushed Tom away.  "Oh, that was bad.  Sorry, boys I had no idea he was like that."  That got a good laugh.  "Now, it's time to circle up.  New guys, we get in a circle cross our arms right over left and hold hands; they all did as told.  "I think we have a good start on the week.  Waiters, be sure to check the schedule, we need three per meal so it's different, and be at the mess hall at 7:45.  The rest of us reveille at 7:00.  Nick."

Nick then led the Scout Benediction, "May the great Scoutmaster of all Scouts be with us, until we meet again." Everyone said goodnight, and went to get ready for bed.

Tom made sure his crew was settled in, and came back to the fire.  Jeff had put some more wood on, and had brewed a pot of coffee, (decaf).  "Good campfire.  I love that story, and you did it so well.  You better think of some more, because I'll bet you get asked again."

"I'll work on it.  And who did the fire ball?" Tom asked.

"The Capt. waited to leave.  I always like to be impressive, helps inspire the boys.  Can't ask then to do something if we aren't willing to do it."  Jeff sipped his coffee. 

Nick made a check, and stopped by, "Mr. Alexander, everyone is in bed.  See you in the morning."

"Good night Nick."  They watched him go into his tent.  He was the only youth with a tent to himself.  Each adult had a single. 

It wasn't long and a flashlight was coming up the trail; soon John Denson was sipping a cup of coffee with them.  "So Tom, what do you think?"

"To be honest, I am overwhelmed.  I'm very happy to be here.  I hadn't thought of Scouting for my boys.  I guess I thought a couple might not be comfortable or something." Tom said.

"Capt. Henry mentioned there were a lot of special circumstances, but didn't go into any detail.  Is there anything I need to know?"  He asked.

"My three have all been victims of sexual abuse, and Todd saw his father commit a murder.  I don't think there will be any problem, but if something comes up, let me know."

"Man I don't envy you.  If there is anything we can do, let me know.  Also there are some good materials at Council, on child protection.  Jeff, you might want to be sure to show 'A Time to Tell', and be sure you use the buddy system, and two deep leadership." John said.

"Hey, you're preaching to the choir."  They laughed, and just talked for a few more minutes, and John left.  Jeff and Tom put out the fire. The cots felt very good and both men were asleep in no time.

Tuesday morning Tom heard some movement outside his tent as he slowly woke up.  There is a special kind of feeling sleeping outdoors.  He was really awake as soon as he opened his eyes, that really isn't him.  He began to sit up and then almost launched into space.

"REVEILLE, REVEILLE, REVEILLE!  UP AND AT 'EM!  LET'S GO MEN! UP! UP! UP!" There was a definite note of glee in Nick's voice.

Tom put on his best cheery voice, "Good morning, Nick.  'Tis a fine day to be awake!"

Then Ben said, "Neal, you never told me your Dad was a morning person.  That's just disgusting."

"Yeah, I may have to kill him.  Ohmygod! It's only seven o'clock!"

"Stop your whining, Richards, and get your patrol moving!" Nick yelled.

Tom came out at the same time Jeff did.  Jeff looked like he needed about a gallon of coffee.  He fired up the camp stove, and made the coffee.  Soon boys were making dashes to the latrine.  Matt was there to send those back, who didn't wash, by saying, "A Scout is clean," and pointing to the sink.

By Tom's second cup of coffee, the boys were all up, and Neal even had his patrol straighten their tents.  Then he went and looked in his Dad's. "Mr. Richards, could I have a word with you, sir?"

Tom actually got butterflies in his stomach, like he was in trouble.  He went over to his tent, "Yes?"

"Your tent is a mess, Dad, ah sorry, Mr. Richards.  You need to straighten it up before breakfast, so we will pass inspection." Neal was so serious, Tom went and straightened up.  When he came out Neal approved.

When Tom rejoined him, Jeff said, "Don't you just hate it when they're right?"

"I'm impressed, he is doing so well.  I was kind of surprised they picked him as patrol leader.  He is the youngest of the bunch." Tom said.

"They surprise you all the time.  The others knew he had that natural leadership ability.  Now our job is to cultivate it in Neal, and develop it in the others.  You know he has impressed all the boys, by picking on you, and making you do what he said.  None will dare cross him now." Jeff was grinning.

At 7:40, Nick made sure the three waiters left, then at 7:50, the rest of the troop left camp, and went for flag raising, announcements, then breakfast.

Jeff and Tom attended adult training, and Tom learned about Two Deep Leadership, kind of adult buddy system, and youth protection.  The Scouts have developed some really good stuff.  Tom was glad his boys would be learning this.

At lunch, Tom's six all had to show him their 'Tot'n Chip' cards.  They could use a knife and ax now, and carry a pocket knife.  Of course, they all wanted him to go buy them a pocket knife.  He stalled.  Maybe they had some in the trading post.

John Denson stopped by, and asked if Tom could come straight over to his office.

After being dismissed, Tom walked over to the office, and realized his six were right behind him.  "Where are you guys going?"

Neal replied, "Mr. Denson's office.  He said to come if we got our cards, and we all did."

Tom had forgotten that.

John stepped outside, and greeted the boys.  "I asked your leader to come, so he would know what went on here."  He called each boy, looked at his card, and then handed him a small box.

Each box had a red Swiss Army Scout Knife.  These were perfect boy toys.  They were so excited.  They thanked him and then were off to the campsite.

"John, you really didn't have to do that." Tom scolded.

"Hey, the amount you overpaid, more than covered that.  You might want to stop by the trading post, and pick up the leather knife holster kit.  You want the large for those.  Here, practice making one for yourself." He handed Tom a box and went back into the office.

A Scout is obedient, so Tom stopped and bought seven kits.

By dinner Tom had figured out the holder, and was ready to show the boys.  They had a ball, and wore those knives with honor the rest of the week.  Tom noticed his knife had his initials engraved, and asked Neal to see his initials. John had their initials engraved.  Monty was surprised his had MTR.  Tom explained that since he was adopting Monty, he filled out the forms with that name.  Jimmy heard them, and looked at his knife again, then ran up and hugged Tom, big time.  He had thought Mr. Denson had given them knives from the lost and found.  That boy could break your heart.

Wednesday the two adults took a couple more Adult Training courses in the morning.  After lunch the new boys were all trying to gather what they needed for their overnight camp. Besides Tom's six boys, there were four other new scouts in the Troop Baden Powell program.  Tom and Jeff followed them down to their area, picking up dropped items along the way.  The adults stayed and watched as the older boys showed them how to pack and then they set off on their adventure.

Wednesday night they had another campfire and Jeff asked each boy to update him on their progress.  The boys doing Environmental Science Merit Badge needed to do their observations and write their reports.  "Well, we know what you guys will be doing tomorrow during free swim." Nick told them before Jeff could comment.  "That's one of the hardest badges and I didn't do it the first year and tried to do it during the year and the counselors really bust your butt.  It is hard here but harder otherwise.  If you need some help, just ask us or the counselors."

Tom was impressed by the wisdom of the boys.  One of the boys asked Tom, "Mr. Richards, Is it true?"  He got elbowed from both sides.

Tom held up his hand to stop them, "You've heard some stories?"

The boys nodded.

"Well, which ones?"

"Ah, is Monty a... You know."

 

Author's Notes:
I hope those of you that have read Haven, haven't been too bored with this recap of chapters 11 and 12.  I returned to this point because this was the event that really changed and shaped the troop into what it is to become.  I have tried to bring the Summer Camp experience to you.  Although the Haven boys are going to be important in this story they are not the story.  Some things will happen here that are not mentioned in the other stories and some things just mentioned in the stories that you will need to read here.  I hope that by doing a Scout story, you will not have to read the same events from a camping trip in Haven, FIRE and The Last Phoenix.  
The next chapter will complete this summer camp; then we will move on to new adventures.
Yours in Scouting.
            Str8mayb

 

Editor's Notes: Jeez�, I don't get to do this very often.  I am going to explain something about some edits that I did to this chapter.  If you haven't read Haven, then this won't mean very much, but if you are a long time reader of Haven and the other stories, then I think this next part might just help you a bit.  Haven was written in first person, From Tom's point of view.  By the time we got to Haven 2, it was being written in third person.  This narrative is being written in third person, so I had to go back and check to see if we had found all the references to me, I and other things that made it look weird when Tom mentioned himself. There were a few other changes that needed to be made, besides Tom's name being replaced, and all the pronouns. Changed to reflect the change.  When there was a sentence that mentioned Tom as 'me' it had to be changed to say Tom said or Tom did so and so.  It also meant that we usually needed to change a pronoun used to talk about another person to that person's name.

            Are there any questions? If there are, ask them now, because there will be a short quiz next period. I hope that was somewhat helpful, and in any case, if you see anything that I missed, just let me know about them and I will try to fix them.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

 

Fort Chief Editor's Notes: I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the different viewpoint of the events that occurred in "Haven" Chapters Eleven and Twelve. Str8mayb and TRR have done a wonderful job or recreating the previous events. I am very curious and interested to see where this story is going.

The Story Lover