Second Summer Camp
The Wednesday, ten days before Summer Camp began, Leo showed up at the scheduled time and moved into his small cabin that was attached to the First Aid Lodge, where he would be living most of the summer. He spent most of the afternoon inventorying supplies and equipment and had kept 'Philip' busy preparing his order for the camp. By the time the first staff meeting and dinner were starting, Camp Mitsitam was on it's way to having a first class pediatric clinic on the premises. 'Philip' was handling things a bit differently than Leo expected.
Mr. Denson, the camp director, welcomed everyone and introduced the staff. Most everyone knew Dr. Turnman. Everyone was assigned their tasks and to a small team of eight staff members. Each of these teams elected a leader and the team leaders met with John Denson, the Camp Director, and Jo Proximal, the program director. Jo had not been present at dinner, so she was a surprise at the team leaders' meeting.
'This is going to be interesting,' Leo thought, as the twenty-six year old brunette was introduced. She smiled and said, "I am new to this area, but I am not new to the Scouting program. I have spent two summers doing trails and OA Trail maintenance at Philmont, and I was late tonight because my flight home from Philmont Camp Directors' School was late, due to thunderstorms in Denver. I've been through the Venture Program and am a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow. I have been working with Mr. Denson on developing this year's program, and will be discussing various aspects with your smaller groups. Thank you, I am looking forward to an exciting summer." (Oh, if she only knew.)
After the meeting broke up a few of the counselors were not very pleased with having a girl in charge. Leo listened for a while then joined the group. "So, you guys don't like Jo?"
"I'm thinking I'm not going to work for a girl," one of them said.
"You afraid she is that much better than you?" Leo asked innocently.
"Oh, come on, Doc. Are you going to let her tell you what to do?"
Leo smiled. "Well, sure. If it is how to do things around camp, she probably knows a lot more than I do. There may be some procedures that need to be done to keep legal with BSA policy. Will I let her tell me how to set a broken leg? No. How to complete a requirement in First Aid Merit Badge? Yes, probably so. Just because she is a girl doesn't mean she doesn't know her job, and maybe yours, too. Think what you might learn from her. Besides, she isn't hard on the eyes, either." Leo walked away before the sixteen to eighteen year olds could recover from that.
Every morning after breakfast, there was an hour of staff training. Jo Proximal proved she knew her job and what was expected from the staff. She had meetings with each group of merit badge counselors, to be sure they had the supplies they needed and that the trading post had any supplies that the boys would need to purchase for the merit badges. The ranger had everyone completing repairs on their areas and things were definitely coming together.
Frank McNeil was working on getting the pasture ready for the horses and the paddock area for riding. He was bringing eight horses for the boys to ride. He was offering Horsermanship Merit Badge in all six time slots. Mr. Denson said that it was the first merit badge to fill up. Frank had been surprised at that, since the Haven and Phoenix boys who were interested were working on it at home on Saturdays.
By the Wednesday before camp opened, things were settling in. A large trailer was delivered for Dr. Turnman. 'Philip' had decided that, with all the equipment Dr. Turnman wanted at the camp, a mobile clinic was just as affordable, and he would be able to use it at the Phoenix House the rest of the year. Mr. Denson had been shocked that Dr. Turnman wanted to do such a thing, but since it wasn't costing the camp, he approved it. Leo was in seventh heaven. His clinic on wheels had all the latest gadgets and the drug storage unit had a triple locking refrigerated system to protect against any break in. The digital X-ray gave an instant computer image. There was a back-up generator in case the electricity went out. Tom Richards had gladly had the mobile clinic ordered, when 'Philip' explained it, and paid to have it completed and delivered before Camp opened.
The Staff was given Saturday afternoon off, and told to return by 10 o'clock Sunday morning, to get ready for the campers.
* * * SUNDAY * * *
After church, the troop assembled at the scout shed behind the building. Mr. Little and Mr. Alexander had the trailer loaded and Mr. Jones had the boys' packs loaded under the bus. Tom Richards was driving his custom van and Samuel Randall had his Haven Construction custom truck loaded with supplies for several service projects. Sheriff Henry was taking his squad car and the youth and adults loaded up and began their Summer Camp Adventure. First stop, fast food for lunch.
Thirty minutes later, they were off again and were soon entering the camp. Mr. John Denson was waiting in the parking lot when the Phoenix bus led the caravan that was Troop 316 into the camp. Oliver Jones pulled to a stop and opened the door to the bus. Mr. Denson climbed aboard and looked at all the eager faces looking at him.
Mr. Little was sitting in the first seat. "Hi John. Have you figured out what to do with us?"
"Well, since I didn't get the gate closed in time... What was the final head count?" asked John.
"Everybody came, 100% attendance, 64 youth and 8 adults, not counting Doc Turnman and Frank McNeil." Mr. Little grinned.
"Okay, that's the numbers I had. I'm prepared. I heard about that fund-raiser. Well, we've never had to give a troop three sites, before. They are the sites right behind the Admin buildings. Sorry no long, steep climbs. I understand there are some special needs Scouts."
"Yes, we have an Albino Scout who has a very limited sun tolerance. He has passed the BSA swim test but in an indoor pool. He should be okay as long as he can be in a building or shade. He knows to get inside, if the sun is too bright. He has a buddy that was here last year, and they will be together most of the time. We also have a leader in a wheelchair, and a parent who may be visiting who is also wheelchair bound." Mr. Little explained.
“Kind of surprised you didn't pick up a few on the way here." Mr. Denson teased.
Neal yelled from three seats back, "That's why we wouldn't let Dad drive the bus!"
That gave everyone who knew Tom Richards a good laugh.
"Okay, Scouts, get your gear, saddle up, and your staff guide will lead you to your sites."
The boys waited impatiently for Mr Little, Sheriff Henry, Ed Hillguard and Major Eddie Richards, USMC, Ret. to get off the bus. Then there was a mini stampede as the bus emptied. Oliver Jones opened the luggage bay, and Andy Rolyat, the SPL (Senior Patrol Leader) took charge. In an amazingly short time, the boys had their packs and were lined up by patrols and ready to follow the staff members.
Two of the three sites had sixteen two man wall tents. The center site that they had used last year, had twenty-five tents. The plan was to put one of the more experienced patrols in each site. The first site had the Eagle Patrol and the Owl Patrol (New Boys, eleven year olds) Andy Rolyat SPL and Jamil Freeman JASM (Junior Assistant Scout Master). The larger second site would hold most of the adults with the Raccoon, Dragon, Viking patrols and Matt Little JASM. The last site would have the Beaver and Stag patrols, Bart Miller the ASPL, Tom Parada JASM Mr. Little SM and Sheriff Eric Henry ASM. The Patrol leaders were to have a tent by themselves as were the senior boys and the adults.
Sunday afternoon was a frenzy of activity getting all the sites set up. The adults had their own area in the middle site, Except for Mr. Little and Mr. Henry who had their tents in the third site, but next to the adults in the second site. The adult area was off limits to scouts except the patrol leaders and senior patrol members. Other boys had to ask permission to enter the area. Mr. Little had brought a screened in enclosure that they put up around one of the picnic tables. It even had canvas sides that could be lowered if it rained.
Neal had remembered that last year they needed a camp site improvement each day. He had liked the weather rock Mr. Alexander had done and worked on the key for several weeks. He had printed it off and had it laminated to be weather-proof. He had his patrol lash together a tripod and hung a stone about the size of a baseball from it. He then attached his key to one leg of the tripod.
Rock is dry and easy to see Good day
Rock is wet It's raining
Rock is moving side to side It's windy
Rock has white spots Birds flying over
Rock is cold and white It's snowing
Can't see rock or tripod It's night, go to bed
Can't see rock, can see tripod Someone stole rock
Can see more than one rock Check 'Bug Juice'
By 5:30 the camps were set up and the boys pretty much settled in their tents. Andy walked through the three campsites calling out, "Everyone, wash your hands, 'A Scout is Clean,' and line up by patrols! Waiters get a move-on go get our tables ready! We leave in ten minutes!"
At 5:45 Troop 316 was at their assigned places on the parade ground. When all the units had arrived, Mr. Denson gave his usual welcome speech and then introduced Jo Proximal. Jo described the different things going on this week and that if there were any problems she was the one to talk to. She then announced that after dinner each night, there would be a meeting for the SPLs of the troops in the shelter next to the Mess Hall. This was also where the classes for First Aid Merit Badge were traditionally scheduled to meet, but since someone insisted on parking their hospital next to the First Aid Lodge the merit badge will meet there. Dr. Turnman bowed from where he was standing in the Staff line. This was followed by some good-natured laughing.
Tom enjoyed looking around and seeing all the eager boys ready for the week of adventure to begin. One face didn't look particularly eager; as a matter of fact, when Brother Micheal saw Tom and Troop 316 he looked positively angry.
In the past, Br. Micheal's troop, 582, had been the largest in camp, sometimes needing two sites. This year was no different but 316 was filling three sites. To add insult to injury, even though half of 316 were from that orphanage place, they all had uniforms that looked new. They were getting a lot of money from somewhere. He decided he was going to check into what went on in that place.
The flag was lowered, folded and the color guard retired into the Mess Hall. The boys were dismissed by campsites to go into the Mess Hall for dinner. The meals were being served family style. Each table sat sixteen and had two assigned waiters. 316 had five tables assigned. Any blank spots were filled by staff. Doc Leo and Frank McNeil joined the adults and a couple of other staff members at the other four tables. On each table, there was a platter of fried chicken, a bowl of potato salad, a bowl of green beans, a loaf of bread and dish of margarine. The boys waited for grace to be said. The Philmont grace was painted on the front wall.
For food, for raiment
For life, for opportunity
For friendship and fellowship
We thank thee, O Lord
The Camp Chaplain led Grace, and then the boys descended on the platters of food, and soon waiters were headed back for seconds. When everyone had had their fill, the tables were cleared and the Cook came out and dismissed tables as they were cleaned to his satisfaction. Mr. Little and Sheriff Henry went to the Scoutmaster's meeting with Mr. Denson and Andy joined the other SPLs for the meeting with Jo Proximal.
The Scoutmasters meeting was short. Mr. Denson wanted to let any new leaders know the basics expected. He informed them that there would be an emergency drill sometime the next day. The siren would sound, and the boys were to come to the parade ground and report to their patrol leaders, who would report to the SPL. If everyone was present, the SPL was to report to Jo. If anyone was missing, then the SPL was to report to Jo, and the Scoutmaster was to report to him. There was an OA tap-out scheduled for the Friday night camp fire, so any units with boys or adults needing to be tapped-out should give a list to Jo and she would give the instructions for the ceremony. Mr. Denson then brought a dutch oven over to the table where the Scoutmasters were sitting, and began serving a Black-Forrest cake. As the Scoutmasters left, each was given a special camp patch for Scoutmasters.
The SPL meeting was pretty much like the Scoutmasters'. Jo also informed them that Wednesday was OA day, and any members were to wear their sashes to meals, and there would be several service projects, if any of their members were interested in earning a special patch. An hour of cheerful service was the requirement for the patch. The SPLs had a few minutes to get to know each other, with cookies and bug-juice. Then they returned to camp.
At 8:30, the troop was going down the trail to the camp-fire ring. There was a large square 'log-cabin' fire set in the fire ring and the boys filed in and filled the benches. At 9:00 o'clock, Jo stepped in front of the fire on the stage area. She raised her hand in the Scout Sign. Quiet quickly fell. "Welcome to Camp Mitsitam!" The staff led a cheer that echoed across the valley. Jo stepped off the stage, and a flaming arrow flew from the woods behind the fire and set the fire ablaze. Always an impressive start to camp.
The Staff did several skits and led a few songs. By the time the fire had burned down, everyone had had a good time and Jo returned and led them in singing Scout Vespers, and the boys filed out of the fire ring and back to camp. After the boys were bedded down at 11:00, Andy reported to Mr. Little then went to his tent. Mr. Little then joined the rest of the adults in the screened enclosure.
"Well, we start another summer camp. I've set up a schedule for the adults. I want us to have two adults in camp as much as possible. So here is the camp schedule. I'm going to try to help out at the Baden-Powell Program, since we have so many boys there this week."
Sam Miller spoke up, "That's a really good idea. I think as many of us should do that this week as possible." Sam took the schedule and looked at it. "Sorry, Mike, this isn't going to work. Tom and Jeff are going to be out of camp with the Mountain Man group next week, so can't be in camp."
Jeff Alexander said, "I don't mind getting some hammock time this week. I'll stay in camp, no problem."
Tom said he'd hang out with Jeff, but drew the line at sharing a hammock. That got laughs. Robert Freeman said he would come by, so Tom could go check out what his boys were doing a couple of times a day. Eddie said he'd do the rounds with Tom, since he had the Phoenix boys and they might not enjoy him looking over their shoulders all day at Baden-Powell.
* * * MONDAY * * *
Monday Morning at 6:45, Andy left his tent and went to the tents of today's waiters and woke them up. Fifteen minutes later, right at 7:00, he pretended he was Gunny Richards and walked through camp yelling, "REVEILLE! REVEILLE! REVEILLE! GET YOUR SORRY BEHINDS OUT OF THE SACK! LETS SEE SOME MOVEMENT! COME ON, YOU'RE WASTING DAYLIGHT!"
Luckily for the adults, he started in site one and not their site. By the time he was at their tents, they were out, and Mr. Alexander had his pot of coffee on the stove. Eddie congratulated Andy on his Drill Sargent voice. Tom Richards put on his perky act to go irritate his boys in the Raccoon Patrol.
Ah, the start of Summer camp.
* * *
About 10:00 the Camp Commissioner came by for the site inspection. Tom and Jeff were in the screened in gazebo. They went to meet him. "Hello. I'm Tom Richards, and this is Jeff Alexander."
Quick Scout handshakes. "I'm Drew Chain, the Camp Commissioner. I'll be around every day to be sure the sites are neat, clean and safe, and to see that any problems with the site are resolved."
Jeff said, "Our SPL had the boys police the area twice before going to breakfast, so hopefully, there won't be any trash around. He had them tie back the flaps on the tents for ventilation and so you could inspect inside without a problem."
"Nice. Jo has set a policy for me that if a tent is closed I do not look inside unless I suspect a safety problem. Aren't you Doc's unit?" Drew asked.
Tom whined, "Do we have to admit that?"
Drew laughed. "Yup, that's what I thought. He's really a cool guy. He has given all of us some advanced training on stabilizing and transporting injured scouts. I feel really ready to handle anything that might happen. He also set some of the guys straight about Jo. They were starting to mouth-off about working for a girl and he really made them think about it. Besides, he was right, she isn't hard on the eyes."
"Well, don't let us slow you down. If you want, stop by and we'll bribe you with a cold soda," Jeff said, pointing towards the Gazebo.
A few minutes later, Drew came by. "I'll take that bribe. I posted the inspection sheet on the bulletin board in each site. How do you want this done? Three separate scores or one score for the three sites?"
Jeff opened the cooler and let Drew choose a drink. "I think three scores would work the best."
"By the way, site two has the only 'camp improvement' I've seen today. They got a 99 score out of 100. No one gets a 100 the first day. I took a point off for a footprint in the latrine."
Tom laughed, "You won't find one tomorrow, Neal will be sure of that."
Drew grinned and waved as he left the sites.
* * *
At 10:45, the siren sounded. (Those of us that grew up in the fifties and sixties remember the sound, 'Duck and cover. Kiss your ### goodbye. I guess they use them today as weather alert sirens.) Merit badge counselors told their groups to return directly to the parade grounds and report to their patrol leaders. Dr. Turnman dismissed his group but then called out to Adam Richards. “Hey, Adam, Todd, hold up a minute.”
They stopped and looked at Leo. Adam asked acting like he was chewing a carrot, “What's up, Daddy Doc?”
“Mr. Denson asked me to keep someone here. We are testing to be sure the system works. I figured you would be a good one since you really don't need to be standing out in the sun. Sure don't need you all sunburned. Those long sleeve T-shirts don't block all the sun.”
“Thanks. I do worry about that.” Adam said.
“Okay, here is your excuse.” Dr. Turnman handed him a card. Printed in red, 'COMPOUND FRACTURE LOWER RIGHT LEG. PATIENT UNCONSCIOUS.' Just chill out here and when someone finds you, give them this card. They should treat you and come and get me.”
Adam grinned, “KEWL!”
Todd smiled and said, “We can work on our leatherwork project.
Dr. Turnman left the buddies and headed for the parade ground. When he arrived he gave John Denson the thumbs up and went to check in with Jo.
Neal was getting frantic. All his guys were back except Adam. He double and triple checked. He went to Andy. “I'm missing Adam.”
That was when Danny Gregory came up. "Andy, Todd hasn't come back. I'm Assistant Patrol Leader, so I'm telling you."
"Yeah, okay. They are buddies so would be together." Andy looked over the troop and didn't see either of them. “Right, let me get Mr. Little. You guys go back to your patrols.”
“Mr. Little all present except Adam and Todd,” Andy reported.
“I never would have imagined those two would go missing. Okay, you go tell Jo and I'll let Mr. Denson know.” Mr. Little turned and stopped by Tom Richards. “Tom, come with me.”
John Denson stood watching all the units and the SPLs reporting to Jo who was checking them off the list on her clipboard. When Mr. Little came up he saw the anxiety in his face and said, “Relax, they are safe and sound. Dr. Turnman and I are testing the system. Who are you missing?”
“Adam Richards, he's the albino scout and his buddy, Todd Gunther.” Mr. Little reported.
“Great, here comes Jo. Act concerned.”
“Are you Troop 316's Scoutmaster?” Jo asked as she ran up to them.
“Yes. We are missing two boys. They were buddies. One of them is special needs. He has vision problems and can't be out in the sun.”
“Oh, yeah, Doc told us about Adam. I hadn't made the connection. We'll get the search started. Try to not worry. We'll find them. I'm going to get the teams out, then find out where they were supposed to be.” Jo was off to get things started.
Soon the staff were paired up and going to check out the different program areas. Jo went into the office and came back out and headed to Mr. Denson. “I'm going to kill that doctor.”
Tom laughed, “Please don't. A good doc is sooo hard to find.”
Mr. Denson said, “I told him to keep a couple back so we could do a search.”
“In that case, the doctor is fine but the Camp Director may be in hot water.” Jo fumed.
About five minutes later one of the staff came running up. We found them. Bill is bandaging and splinting his leg. Do we transport or just get the doc.” He handed the card to Jo.
Mr. Denson smiled, “Good job. Go sound the all clear and let everyone go back to their merit badges or other activities.
* * *
By lunch time, the Baden-Powell Program boys could hardly wait to tell their friends and the adults how much they had learned already. They were even going to be able to earn Swimming and First Aid Merit Badges. The merit badge boys were anxious for the Trading Post to open so they could purchase supplies for their classes. The adults listened and nodded, as the guys chattered away. It was good to see them so excited.
Tom happened to notice Br. Michael talking to several adult leaders form different troops and he was pointing towards Troop316. That's trouble, he thought, but just what, he didn't have a clue. He said as much to Mr. Little and Mr. Alexander. They kept an eye on Br. Michael, also.
When dismissed from lunch, the boys headed to the Trading Post, then back to the campsite. The adults had split up, Mr. Little, Mr Alexander, Mr. Richards and Mr. Hillguard going to the Trading Post to help the boys and staff, and the other adults went back to the campsite.
Sean Partridge, of the Raccoon Patrol, managed to get by the adults, at the Trading Post, and bought everything he wanted which used up his entire two weeks worth of spending money. He bought two camp T-shirts, a pocket knife, a 'talking-stick' kit for Indian Lore Merit Badge (which he was not taking), a flashlight, a poncho, water bottle, whistle, first aid kit, and a several patches. Lucky for him Neal, Jimmy and Adam were following him back to camp. He was looking through his purchases and managed to drop a good deal of it and the other boys picked it up for him and returned it when they got into camp.
Neal was waiting for Andy when he returned to the campsite. "Hey, Andy. I need to talk to you. I got a problem in my patrol."
"Neal, most of your patrol are your brothers, Jeez. So what's up?" Andy sat at the picnic table.
Neal looked around to be sure he wasn't overheard. "Sean. I'm pretty sure he just spent all his money at the Trading Post. All two weeks of it. Then he lost most of it on the way back to camp. Some of the guys and I were following him back to camp and picked up what he was dropping."
Andy thought for a minute. "I guess that's his decision. We all have got to learn to be thrifty. We need to remind him of that every time he wants to buy a cold drink that he already spent his money. That should make an impression by the end of the two weeks."
"Got it. Good idea. Thanks, I'll pass the word to the other Raccoons." Neal left feeling much better now that he had a plan. He had felt sorry for Sean. He really didn't have any friends and his mother was always hovering around him. He was the only Raccoon that was in the Baden-Powell Program this year. He just hadn't worked hard since joining the troop to catch up. He was a Raccoon so they would look out for him, if they could.
* * *
Several of the Scouts had planned their schedules to have a free period in the fifth or sixth merit badge blocks. So there were some scouts in camp in the afternoon. Andy was free both of these periods and had boys who were looking for something to do to go to the Office and ask for firewood for campfires. When they returned they told Andy that the Camp Commissioner would bring it by. That was the reminder to Andy to go look at the scores they got for the camp inspection that morning.
When Neal came back to camp sixth block, Andy called to him, "Hey, Richards! You leave a trail in the latrine?" That certainly got everyone's attention, and they gathered around to hear the exchange between Andy and Neal.
"Hey, not me. I know how to wipe. I'm not the SPL." Tom and Jeff moved close enough to hear but not to interfere.
"Just checking, wasn't sure you knew where your butt was." Andy fired back. "Your site got marked down for a footprint in the latrine."
"Don't worry about it. Commissioners never give 100 on the first day." Andy held up the three score sheets. "Let's see... Site One got a 89, one piece of trash and no camp improvement. Site Three 88, two pieces of trash and no camp improvement. And Site Two, 99 foot print in latrine."
Mr. Alexander stepped forward. "Look, guys, the Camp Commissioner said we really made him work to find anything wrong. And Neal you had the only camp improvement. Congratulations guys, you've done good."
Needless to say, Neal was getting lot's of pats on the back. All the boys were thinking of what they could do for improvements to their sites. Andy was quick to suggest things that were needed anyway, such as an ax-yard for the firewood that was on its way. And Wednesday they would need a kitchen area, since the cook staff was off and they would have to cook their own food. Tarps in patrol areas for shade and rain protection." There was a great deal of activity, and as boys returned to camp, they were soon joining in.
At 5:15 Andy reminded the patrol leaders that the boys needed to clean up, wash their hands and put on their uniforms. Twenty minutes later the troop was on its way to the parade ground for the flag lowering. They were released to the Dining Hall by the Commissioner's score. Site two was first, and the boys pulled Neal into the first place. Tonight the meal was being served cafeteria style, so Neal was the first to load up his plate. He was definitely good with that.
As the troop was leaving, a leader from one of the out of council troops came up to Jeff Alexander. "I'm glad to see someone like you being active in the program."
Jeff gave him a bewildered look. "Like me? I don't understand."
"You know, gay. I see you are the COR so your Charter Organization must be okay with it, too. I wish there were more open minded charter organizations. Who charters your troop?"
Jeff stepped to the side so they weren't blocking the way and wouldn't be overheard. "Well, let me clear up things here. I'm married and have three kids. I am certainly not gay. However, our church, Haven Presbyterian Church, USA, does not look on monogamous committed gay couples as immoral as long as they aren't open around the boys. You know not out waving the rainbow flag. So having a gay boy or leader isn't necessarily a big deal with us. Having an openly promiscuous straight or gay person would be a problem."
"I sure wish National would make that their policy." The man said.
"Well, it is in a way. The only times National gets involved is when the Charter Organization bans a leader for immoral behavior. If, like our church, there isn't a moral problem, it obviously doesn't get to court, and National doesn't get involved. If you were a gay man and wanted to be active in Scouting, find a unit where it won't be a problem. Now where did you hear I was gay?"
"A Scoutmaster from a local troop. Brother something he called himself."
"Ah, Brother Michael. Figures. He belongs to a super fundamentalist church. We've had a few run-ins with him before. Last year, he packed up and left early abandoning a boy here at camp, on purpose." Jeff got angry all over again, thinking about last year.
"Well thanks for straightening that out. I'll pass the word about Brother Michael, too. Watch your back. His kind are dangerous."
* * *
Back in camp each adult took a patrol and went to see how everyone was doing. Four of their seven patrols were in the Baden-Powell Program and they were all excited about what they were doing and what they were scheduled to do. They had all qualified for their Totin' Chip and had the cards that were signed by their instructors. The adults told them that the troop had a tradition, that was started here last year by Mr. Denson. They were to take their cards to Mr. Richards and find out what the tradition was.
Tom had gone to visit the Beaver Patrol. This was a patrol of older boys who were all working on merit badges. He wasn't there long, as these were experienced Scouts and had been to summer camp several times. When he got back to the adult area, he retrieved a box from his tent and went to sit at the open picnic table near the entrance to the adult area. He hadn't been there long when the new boys began to show up. Since they had to ask permission to enter, they lined up, and Tom acknowledged them one at a time. When they showed him their Totin' Chip card, Mr. Richards found the small box that had the boy's name on it and presented it to the boy. "We are proud of you. This is your knife. Your initials are engraved on the blade. Here is a leather holster kit. Adam of the Raccoons has a set of leather punches that you can ask to use to put your initials on the holster and some other designs. You need to do that before you put it together." Tom then shook their hands and admitted the next boy.
It was almost dark by the time all the boys had their new knives. Each site had their own campfire and there was no problem getting the boys settled for bed. A lot of the boys were asleep before taps at 11:00.
* * *
After taps, Doc Turnman and Frank McNeil came for a visit. Mr. Little put a couple of pieces of wood on the fire, and the adults got comfortable. There was general conversation, and Doc and Frank talked about how things were going in their areas. Mr. Little explained the 'Scoutmaster Merit Badge' the adults could work toward. The requirements had some serious things such as doing one hour of service, helping with two merit badges, spending two hours helping the Baden-Powell Program. There were also fun things, like spending an hour in the Trading post, going through everything, then not buy anything, find three flush toilets, drink a cup of coffee in the Dining Hall at least three mornings before breakfast and complain about something to the program director at least once. He gave each adult their check off list that needed to be initialed and dated by a staff member when completed.
When everyone was comfortable around the campfire, Jeff said, quietly, "I think we have a problem."
This chapter has really brought back memories of many summer camps. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have in writing it. Any questions or comments, contact me.
It was fun getting back to the scouts. I always enjoy reading a story from Str8mayb'sstories. Thanks for another fine chapter
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher
West Coast Editor's Notes:
It was a very nice thing to see this chapter in my inbox. Welcome back Str8mayb and Troop 316. Now I believe strongly that Brother Michael is a snake in the grass that needs to be dealt with. If he's lucky it won't be Neal who deals with him. We need a lot more adults like Jeff.