Sunday, July 3, 2011

How I'll Spend My Summer Vacation...

Hi,

I just wanted everyone to know (not that anyone cares... much) that I'll be spending some time away this week.  As a result, there won't be any blog posts (no, really, it will be 'okay'!  Quit your sobbing!) for the remainder of this week. 

If I were better organized, I could have proactively set some up to post in my absence, but, like I said, "If I were better organized"...

For anyone wondering where I have gone, please refer to the following 'Last Year's Post' by way of explanation. 

It's that time again.  It's Fourth of July week, the heat is hot, the sun is high, the mosquitoes are breeding, and I'm goin' to camp. 

Have a great week folks - remember to find a moment this Fourth of July week to reflect just how lucky you are to BE where you are.  Right here in the good old USA. 

Be safe, be happy, and try NOT to be attacked, and eaten, by bears...

Mike


Would you, could you, in a Tent???
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Last week I had the privilege of spending a week in the woods with my youngest son, and several other Boy Scouts from our local Scout Troop at Tuscarora Scout Reservation. Okay, so the week wasn't a trip to Disney, but, yeah, so? I was able to spend an entire week speaking with, and hanging out with my son and a couple of kids who I've known for quite a while. It was 'All good'...

Not ONCE were we accosted by someone wearing a 'Character Suit' (although, this does not take into consideration the night I wrapped a heavy, brown blanket around my body, loped through camp after dark, making 'bear' noises as I shook and scratched on tent flaps. Okay, so it wasn't my 'shining moment', but it was a LOT of fun when I was a kid. I guess the only difference between then and now is that THEN I looked more like a cub than a full-grown black bear and NOW it'll be weeks before my Scout-inflicted wounds heal completely.)

NOTE TO SELF: Next time you plan a simulated 'Bear Attack' because you think it's funny, make sure the kids taking the Archery Merit Badge don't take their Bows and Arrows back to camp at night. The arrows, even when 'mostly' stopped by a thick blanket hurt a LOT.

In all, no lives were lost, but it'll be weeks before I sit down again without 'grunting'. Why couldn't the kids take 'Painting' or 'Basketry' Merit Badges like I did?

Ah, yes, here we are, Troop 244 Vestal, NY. Notice how our signage is much 'Yellower' than the troop above us? This was a mistake, but in hindsight, even on the darkest night of the week, it's sickly-electric-yellow glow still attracted moths from 47 miles around.


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While at camp, please remember to visit ANY of our well-labeled sites, such as the Lake Shore, Nature Center (complete with a chicken name... Colonel Sanders), Chapel, or our Council Ring.

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Ah, home sweet home, Summer Unit Three, the Chippawa Site!

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I took a walk in the woods... And I was amazed.

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While it hadn't rained for several weeks with temperatures in the 90's every day we were at camp, the forest surrounding the campsite was lush, thick, and, what's the word... Beautiful.

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Sunset at Camp...

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A photo of a 'Princess Pine'. These guys are EVERYWHERE around camp. They are typically less than 10 Inches tall and up close are extremely cool to look at. I don't know why this is, but all I know is that they fascinate me whenever I'm at camp. Each is a piece of art.

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Like I said above, it hasn't rained in a while. The rocky 'road' below is normally a stream around six inches deep.

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This is Council Point. On Monday evening the leaders and boys participated in a Flag Retirement Ceremony where we retired twelve flags. Yes, we burned them. No, it wasn't in protest. It was with respect.

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This is 'Lake Shore'. From here, kids and adults can swim, canoe, kayak, AND board sail from this fully-equipped and fully-staffed pavillion. No one goes in the water without their Buddy Tag (and their 'Buddy').

Everyone who goes in is monitored and watched while in (or on) the water. And yes, everyone who went in, came out safely again... Another successful Scouting venture!


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Another photo of the lake, this time from the trail which encompasses it.

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Ah, the Dining Hall. At Summer Camp, all trails lead to the Dining Hall.

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Morning Grace in the Dining Hall

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It reads: "Gracious Giver of all good, Thee we thank for rest and food, Grant that all we do and say in Thy service be this day"

And in case you're wondering? Yes ALL kids in camp SING the above and following Grace(s) prior to each meal. The Scouts are not shy, they do no mumble it under their breath, they sing it loudly three times a day, every day while at camp.

Will wonders never cease? Teenage boys praying out loud and in public? What kind of CRAZY organization is this??? 


Oh yeah, Boy Scouts. Those Radicals...


Noontime Grace


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"Father for this noonday meal, we would speak the praise we feel. Health and strength we have from Thee, help us Lord to faithful be"


Evening Grace


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"Tireless Guardian of our way, Thou hast kept us well this day. While we thank Thee we request, care continued, pardon, rest."

Amen.


The lake at Dusk.


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Random shots from around the camp. This one is a shot of the Quartermaster's building. Need shovels, saws, axes, or Toilet Paper? This is where you go! Just don't 'Go' to the toilet here, you'll need to save that for your beautiful, environmentally-conscious latrine! (Sorry, no photos here, you'll need to use your imagination (think of Congress - yeah, now you've got it!))
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Yes, even I can make a fire (when it hasn't rained in several weeks). Every Wednesday night we cook at the campsite to give the cooks at the Dining Hall the night off. Then we invite staff members to share our meals with them. (I'm not bragging (much) but the Wednesday night meal was the best meal of the week - well, at least I think it was. Of course I COOKED it...)

Home sweet home for the week. If you listen very hard, you can almost hear the mosquitoes from here...
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The Scout Staff prepares for the end of day ceremony.
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Boys and Dads line up at the end of another hot, sticky, but oddly gratifying, day...
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From Tenderfoot to Eagle Scout, boys wait patiently to lower our Nation's Flag at the end of each day. 
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Yes, this flag
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Boys line up outside the Dining Hall waiting for dinner.
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Black bears sleep. Also, waiting for dinner. The Scouts are late tonight...
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The week was hot, sticky, and long.

I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

If you'd like to learn more about scouting, search for your local Scout Council at: www.scouting.org

Your child (and other children) will thank you.

All I ask is that in the future if YOU are on a camp-out with your children and a large, shaggy, laughing, and 'mostly-upright' bear is lumbering through your campsite, please take a moment to see if the bear is wearing New Balance Sneakers prior to 'shooting' it.

Please???

Thanks!

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