Upper Iowa River Campout 2014

Back by popular demand, the troop took another trip up to northeastern Iowa for a bit of R&R on the Upper Iowa River.  Nestled among the corn fields and trout streams up near Decorah is a beautiful, spring-fed river that you would never believe is in Iowa.  The clear, cold water meanders through the landscape and has carved out some very unique and scenic rock formations and boasts some of the best fishing for trout and smallmouth bass in the state.  However, on this trip, neither species of fish would decide to take a look at MY line.

We arrived late Fri evening, around 10PM, at the Hutchinson Family Farms.  We were ushered to our campsite which was a nice sized chunk of real estate along the river in the corner of their property.  We did a quick survey of the area and determined the best spot for scouts to set up tents and where we would do our food preparation, and where to stick the snoring old guys at.  Once set, the troop went to work getting it all done.  The mosquitos were almost non-existent, but the gnats sure liked to hang out around our headlamps!  After a midnight lights-out, we drifted off to sleep.

Storm's Coming!

Storm’s Coming!

We awoke the next morning around 6AM as planned.  In fact, the boys beat many of us adults out of bed even!  After a bit of time and getting breakfast going, I got a text message from Mr. Hunzelman (back at home in Ankeny) telling me I needed to look at the radar and make a good judgement call before putting the boys out on the river for the day.  Although I had next to no signal, I decided to pull up my radar and saw what he was talking about.  It was a pretty nasty thunderstorm heading our way.  Now as scouts, we’re not worried about a little rain and some would even argue that doing activities in the rain builds a little character.  However, it wasn’t just rain that we would be contending with- it was the lightning that had me concerned.  BSA rules strictly state that if you hear thunder that you are required to be off the water for a half hour.  Every time you hear a new clap of electricity, you reset the half hour clock.  It’s for safety reasons and I get it- especially after Mr. Wright getting a little “tickle” from God while loading a canoe in the Boundary Waters last summer…

So, we hunkered down a bit, set up our troop rain fly (car port) and prepared for a potentially long, dreary day.  As luck would have it, they ended up getting the car port set up minutes before the rain hit.  Being the Scoutmaster and understanding that I need all the beauty sleep I could get my hands on, I opted to grab a bit more shut-eye.  Unfortunately my tent was located right next to the rain fly which meant I got to hear all the fun and excitement that was going on with the boys.  Hey- at least it was laughter and giggling instead of arguing and fighting so I had no reason to shut it down and they continued to raise a ruckus and have a blast.

At around noon, we realized the storm was going to subside and decided to cook our dinner for lunch and bring our lunch for dinner instead.  Creative, and worked quite well!  We ate lunch around 1PM as the storm was breaking and then got ready to hit the river.  Unfortunately we didn’t get all the boats launched until close to 3:30PM so we had to cut our intended starting point a little short and start closer to camp.  This meant we would not be going past the most scenic parts of the river.  Sad, but it gives us something to look forward to next time we go up, I guess!

Once on the river, the 24 kayaks and 5 canoes set a course for downstream.  It was neat seeing this many boats heading out together.  Unfortunately this would be the last time they would all be together.  With the current being so swift, boats traveling at different speeds, and the curves along the river there was no chance of keeping it tight and we soon were spread out over a mile along the river.  This made for a bit of a lower impact on others on the river which wasn’t so bad, but I sure do like keeping an eye on things!

We caught up with a group of “yakers” putzing around in the water and having fun.  When they left this spot, they decided to create a kayak conga line with their respective ropes on the bow and stern.  Goofballs!

Kayak Conga Line

The float was going good and the river levels were nice.  I drug bottom on the canoe a few times, but it was pretty reasonable.  I’ve seen it a lot lower, at least.  We stopped to play in the water at one of the rapids spots.  It was a blast.  The boys ended up doing a Conga Line down the rapids with their life jackets on.

Floating Conga Line

I even decided to give it a try and drug the young Mr. Davis along for the ride!

Rapids Run with Scoutmaster

They also tried to do some sort of sky diving circle formation thing but ended up just going down as a big blob!

Rapids Floating Circle

Mr. Eason, being the trooper that he is, flew solo in a 16′ canoe most of the day without any problems!

Mr. Eason Solo Canoe

As the day wore on, and the sunlight started to fade, we were blessed with some neat views of both our boys and also some osprey and bald eagles (although no birds were captured in pics to share).

Group Of Kayaks

Upper Iowa River Setting Sun

And one of my FAVORITE views for the day was Mr. Campbell doing a bit of “stand-up kayaking”.

Stand Up Kayaking 1

Unfortunately I was not fast enough to get him turning sideways, getting caught off balance and then running away from his capsized boat.  😛

Run Away from Kayak

We arrived back at camp around 8PM.  The boys were going to do a joint campfire with our “sister unit”, Venture Crew 73, but most of the boys were so tired that they barely made it past 9:15PM before hitting the sack.  A few of the boys were up for a while tending to the fire that was lit.  Younger Mr. Hunzelman cuddled with the troop’s mascot for the weekend, Rafael, a stray cat that wandered into the area the day or two before our arrival.

Sunday morning went smooth as silk.  The boys got up on time and started packing their gear and stowing their tents.  The adults violated protocol by putting out their food before they had their stuff taken care of.  We’ll blame in on having some “new scouters” in the group that didn’t know the unwritten rules of breaking camp on Sunday mornings.  😉  After a nice Scouts Own service put on by the young Mr. Davis, we hit the road in record time leaving the campground at 8:30AM.

Well, I can tell you this much.  This guy didn’t get enough river time so I’ve got reservations to head back up to Hutchinson Family Farms for this coming weekend (Labor Day) and plan to get two solid days of river fun under my belt with my wife and kids.  Looking forward to some chillaxing time with the family.

I introduced the troop to the Upper Iowa last August (2013).  I overheard a conversation among a few of the boys where one of them stated, “I think we should make this the annual Troop 73 August campout from now on.”  I sure like the sound of that!  

Scoutmaster Ryan Weaverling
scoutmaster@ankenytroop73.org

 

Camp Tomahawk Wrap-up

Well, blogging from camp didn’t get done as I had hoped.  Between the grind of camp, not feeling well, and the internet connection being 2 miles from camp, I didn’t get to do it as often as I’d like to have.  I’ll tell you this much, I understand why summer camp is only a week long.  It’s because us aging folks couldn’t handle much more!

So, to wrap up the week- what a roller coaster ride.  I (and many other leaders) went from face palming incidents to trying to find a way to wipe tears from our eyes because of some of the GRAND wins some of these boys had.  I can tell you, I am very proud of the young men of Troop 73 for the heart and perseverance I witnessed this past week.  Some old friendships were rekindled among scouts and some new ones were forged.

I understand that 108 merit badges were earned (completed) during the week.  Crunching the numbers on that, it works out to just over an average of 3 per boy for the week.  Not too shabby!  The boys that opted for the High ADventure treks were very excited about the adventure and quality of program they were offered.

After one trip to the ER and another incident, I realize that as a troop, we need to do more KNIFE SAFETY.  Maybe we’ll save a family a co-pay down the road or heck, maybe even avoid knife injuries all together!  Luckily, I’ve got a couple of very capable 14 year olds that are going to re-earn their Totin’chit cards back by teaching others the PROPER ways to handle the tools of our trade.

One lesson that I hope everyone takes away from camp is this.  Decisions that you make each and every day can have major impacts on so many aspects of your life.  Whether your in a big group of people, or alone by yourself.  Living your lives by the Scout Oath and Law should be foundational in everything you do.  I can’t think of a single point in either of those that would lead you down the wrong path.

I don’t have many photos from camp and I have not received many from others.  Yet.  I did, however, record the closing campfire program and have posted the T73 skits on YouTube for public consumption.  Enjoy!

 In closing, the northwoods stole my heart back in 1989 on a trip to the Boundary Waters with Troop 81.  Since then, I’ve been blessed with a number of trips to the north central area of the US.  I stumbled upon this sign on one of those trips that sums up how I feel about the northwoods in very simple words:

If you're lucky enough to be up north, you're lucky enough...

If you’re lucky enough to be up north, you’re lucky enough…

 

Scoutmaster Ryan Weaverling
scoutmaster@ankenytroop73.org

Camp Tomahawk – Report #1

Sorry it’s taken me a few days for my first post on summer camp.  Things are going pretty good up here.  Lot’s of smiles seen on the face of each and every boy.  The skeeters are a force to be reckoned with and we have a few boys that are learning that bug spray is intended to be applied more than once per day and how long pants help prevent you from getting your legs beat up so badly.  Valuable lesson there!

Well, so far the weather has been warm and muggy until overnight last night.  It’s cool and moist now.  I guess they are talking about lows in the upper 40s today.  It shouldn’t cause much problem for our guys though- they seem to be very well prepared for camp.

For program, the boys taking the High Adventure programs (Aquatics and “Ride”) are having a blast.  I understand young Mr. Vlahakis wrecked his ATV today.  No worries- no injuries.  He almost seemed proud of it.  Good luck with car insurance for him down the road!  The best part about it?  He got it all on GoPro.  Can’t wait to see the footage!

Mr. Lane is smoking me in the fishing competition so far.  I’ve barely wet a line myself.  Looks like I might be missing some facial hair soon unless I focus more.  That kid is a machine when it comes to fishing.

The Wilderness Survival boys had their “survival night” experience last night.  Wowsa- rain and low 50s last night.  Best part- they all survived.  Great job out of them.

We’ve got 3 boys going for the mile swim- Gaumer, Hines, and younger Mr. Schneider.  All did the 1/4 mile qualifier last night.  They are doing the 1/2 mile qualifier as I type this.  The mile swim is scheduled for Thurs evening.  Good luck, boys!

Our first year scouts are rocking it and rocking it well.  I’m very impressed and proud of all of them.

I’ve seen a more frequent initiative by most of the boys to take regular showers.  This is very good news.  Trust me.

They are just wrapping up their Logging Camp experience.  I can’t wait to get back to camp and find out how that goes.

We’ve had a few boys with some homesickness.  It’s hard to believe this is happening when all I see all day long is smiles on faces and laughter everywhere.  It’s normal, and within reason though.  Hey- it happens!

The only trip to the Dr. so far was for me.  I’ve been having breathing problems and finally realized that they were worse than just being out of shape.  I went in to get checked (at a Mayo Clinic clinic in Rice Lake) and found that I have some sort of exercise induced bronchial spasm caused by a viral infection.  They got me an inhaler and so far it seems to be doing the trick.  I was getting winded after 20 yards this morning and I did around a 3 mile hike tonight without any problems.  Yay for modern medicine.

Due to my breathing issues, I don’t have any photos to share with you yet.  Stay tuned- I’m hoping Mr. Davis and Mr. Ollie will share a few gems with me tonight.  Posting is not as convenient as I had hoped as internet is over a mile from camp so my stops by here are not as frequent as I expected.

Well, time to head over to pick up the boys and head back to camp.  Reporting to you live, from the beautiful Northwoods of Camp Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Scoutmaster Ryan Weaverling
scoutmaster@ankenytroop73.org

June 2014 Campout – Rock Creek State Park

All I can say is I loved this campout. What a great bit of weather we had. Overnight temps were in the 50s which makes for some great sleeping weather. Daytime high was around 80 so it had warmed up nicely.

Fri night was status quo. We got to camp before dark and got things set up nicely. The boys are starting to “get” the idea of a model campsite. Instead of puking tents all over the interior of the campsite, they are setting them up on the perimeter. They hunkered down fairly early (11PMish) and I didn’t have to quiet them down. At all. That was a first.

We chatted as a group for a bit before hitting the hay. There were two basic activities for this campout- mountain biking and canoeing. I was planning to head out with the canoeing group as there was a good number of boys that wanted to go fishing. Scoutmaster loves fishing.  I planned on hitting the lake at first light and got the rest of the boating/fishing group to agree that this was a good idea.  I had visions of dragging boys out of tents and the misery that that brings.  Oh well, they wanted to do it, right?

Well, I set an alarm for 5:30AM.  I woke up before the alarm went off to the sounds of my boys out of their tents and gathering up their fishing gear.  Wow, that was a shock!  So, I rolled out of bed and we prepared to hit the water.  After the quick safety chat, it didn’t take us too long and we had 4 boats in the water with 13 people ready to head out.

Scoutmaster Sunrise Fishing Crew

It was a little bit on the breezy side, so we opted to stick to the marina and a couple coves not far from shore.  The boys were primarily using a worm and bobber.  I was using artificial bait and not picking anything up.  Troop 73 Fishing at Rock Creek

After a while, I switched over to worms, too and went on the hunt for a couple blue gill.  As I was getting ready to cast out, Chance (sitting right in front of me in my boat) hooked something pretty decently sized.  It ended up taking him into the rocks and cut his line.  Bummer.  I cast my gear out and within a couple minutes my bobber disappeared.  I took up the slack and set the hook expecting a blue gill to put up a dismal fight.  Once the hook was set, all I heard was my drag singing and the line heading to deeper water.  This was no blue gill!!  After a modest fight, I was able to land the fish in my tiny little trout net.  It was a 5lb channel cat.  Arguably, one of the biggest freshwater fish I’d ever caught (don’t judge!).  I knew the boys wanted to eat some fish so I decided to keep it.  All this time, we were surrounded by the other boats with boys that had their bait in the water.  I reset my gear, freshened up the worm a bit and dropped it right back in the same spot.  Within 30 seconds, bobber disappears again and I set the hook.  Same story, only this time it was a 9lb channel cat!  Got that on the stringer, regeared again, cast to the same spot and WHAMMO!  Another one was on.  I passed my rod up to David (who was not have such a good time that morning) and I let him fight the fish in.  Chance helped him out with the net and we ended up landing that 7lb channel cat, too.  Yay for a good morning of accidental cat fishing!  We headed back to camp for some breakfast around 9AM.

Troop 73 Catfish at Rock Creek

The rest of the boys were up wrapping up breakfast and getting ready to go biking on the trails.  After we finished breakfast, the biking boys hit the trails and did some exploring.  There were a few spills and minor injuries, but all in all, it was a good place for some trail riding.  Unfortunately the trail to get to the beach was closed so they couldn’t do the longer trip, just got about half way over.  While they were biking, the wind had picked up so we decided to fish from shore.  Many of the boys picked up bull heads (which is all we used to catch on this lake when I was a scout!) but no more keepers.

We called it quits after a couple hours and went back to camp.  The boys collectively decided to go hit the beach for some swimming and washing off the stink of the day.  The water was a bit chilly, but the boys toughed it out and most went for a dip.  SPL Gaumer volunteered to let the boys bury him in the sand.  He didn’t realize he was going to have to “eat” some of the sand.

SPL Eating Sand!

They kept getting the sand airborne and with the wind, it kept blowing into his mouth.  He was a trooper and we got a nice troop picture out of the ordeal.

Troop 73 Buries SPL on the Beach

That evening, we hung out around camp and cooked dinner.  Afterwards, we had a nice campfire with program.  Scoutmaster Gaumer, in typical fashion, supplied the Smaco goodies for the adults and negotiated sharing them with the boys if they cleaned up the Smaco mess from all the tables before going to bed.  Oh, and for the record.  I have a new Smaco favorite- Ande’s mint chips and walnuts.  Mmmmmm.  It didn’t take much to get the tired boys to hit the hay that night.  It was about then that I started watching the radar.  There was a storm system developing over Nebraska and it looked like it COULD head our way.  Time will tell.

I woke up at 4 something to a blood curdling shreak of a scream coming from within camp.  I shot straight up and immediately following the scream, I heard giggling coming from Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Breese’s tent.  Evidently, Mrs. Breese was having a bad dream and decided to scare the bajeebers out of all at camp.  Well, I was awake now and decided to check the radar.  Wowsa.  We had a heckuva storm bearing down on us.  I estimated it to be about an hour away and it included pretty good winds and some pretty purple patches on the radar.  So, I started rattling tents and getting boys up.  I was BLOWN AWAY by what came next.  Every single person was ready to hit the road by 6AM.  The only thing that delayed us from departure is Scoutmaster Vlahakis taking 25min to make INSTANT COFFEE.  Well, we got lucky and the storm started to dissipate as it came north and ultimately barely sprinkled on us.

We took off around 6:45AM heading for home.  After a slight accident with a canoe rack that decided to break.  It caused some damage to two canoes, Mr. Sheppard’s pickup truck, and the front of the troop trailer, but nobody was injured.

Quite a few of us recorded some video and that in combination with some of the stills we shot, I threw together this video of the trip:

All in all, this campout was a blast for all that attended.  This destination has so much to offer.  I can’t wait to go back in the future!

Scoutmaster Ryan Weaverling
scoutmaster@ankenytroop73.org

April Jeeping Campout

Wow.  I’m a bit behind on blogging about the troop.  Too much going on, I suppose!

Well, the April campout was awesome.  Not only from my perspective, but the rave reviews I heard from the boys.  We split the troop in half and those that wanted to backpack in did so.  The other group car camped.  We had a midnight hike on Fri night where we went to the top of the “Big Hill” and got to see some awesome stars.  The boys accidently camped on the edge of a farm field instead of next to the pond as planned.  Oh well, nobody died.  They camped where they chose to camp.  Only a couple of crappie were caught in the fishing hole.  Might have been a few weeks early on the fishing.

There was a heck of a storm system bearing down on us as we wrapped up Saturday evening. We determined that this property in wet conditions could prove to be a safety concern. As a result, we ate dinner, cleaned up and broke camp. We took a good hour and policed the “parking lot” area for trash and really did a nice job picking up what others left behind. Great job, boys. The land owner really appreciated it!

Two of my scouts sent me video compilations from the weekend’s Jeeping activities.  Both are really cool.  Check them out!

Luke’s Video:

 

Quintin’s Video:

Thanks for sharing, boys!

You two have inspired me to look for boys interested in the Videography Merit Badge. Any takers?

Scoutmaster Weaverling
scoutmaster@ankenytroop73.org

This Scoutmaster Loves Fishing…

escudo-simbolo-nacional-costa-rica2You know, there are many things related to the outdoors that I enjoy but very few of those compare to my love for fishing.  You never know if  a cast is going to result in a snag, a bite, or a fish.  If it’s a snag, will it steal your lure?  If it’s a bite, will you get to see it happen or just get that little “rush” thinking you might be able to set the hook?  If it’s a fish on, will this be another tiny one or something that you will remember the rest of your life.
Well, I was blessed with an opportunity to go down to Costa Rica on vacation with my lovely wife last week.  Between the stresses of work, being Scoutmaster, or just being a father, it was time to relax. I can’t think of a better way to relax than going fishing, right?  Well, I was able to coordinate a deep sea fishing excursion in the Pacific Ocean while we were down there.  We booked it on Sunday and the trip was not going to take place until Wednesday.  How was I possibly going to wait three days to go fishing?  Ahhhh!!!!!

Wednesday came and we got picked up on the beach at the hotel at 7AM.  We quickly got transferred to the fishing vessel “Navegador” and we started heading to deeper waters.  After an hour, we landed on the fishing grounds and the first mate quickly started getting the gear ready.  We had our bait in the water for only 5 min when the first fish hit.  It was a Mahi Mahi or Dolphin Fish- about 4′ long!  This was to be the start of the most epic day of fishing I have ever had.  In the 7hrs we were fishing, we caught 17 fish in total.  We ended up with 10 Pacific Sailfish, 5 Mahi Mahi, and 2 blackfin tuna.  Of those 10 sailfish, 4 of them were over the 96″ length putting them in the “trophy” category.  The largest of them all was a 116″ monster that took two of us to land.

Pacific Sailfish Costa Rica

I was able to capture some of the action on camera and if you have 15 minutes of your life you never plan to get back, check it out:

Smallmouth Bass in the BWCAFishing is something that was introduced to me at a young age by my Uncle Ken.  Every campout I went on as a young scout, I brought my fishing pole and tested my skills.  My passion for the Boundary Waters stemmed from my High Adventure trip we took up there in 1989 and was fueled largely by this fishing obsession.

I now have a new obsession- deep sea fishing.  I can’t wait to get back and do it again.

But now that the vacation is over and I’ve recharged my batteries, it’s time to get back to the real world and keep moving the troop forward.  We have a strong group of young scouts and I know a number of them are hungry to go fishing, and I can’t wait to help make that happen!  Luckily, our next two months have activities where we’re on the water and I’ll get the chance to light that passion in the young men of Troop 73!

Pura Vida!

Scoutmaster Weaverling
scoutmaster@ankenytroop73.org

April Campout Plans

Sometimes when plans change, they change for the better.  At least we hope that is the case here!  The campout will take place the weekend of April 25th-27th.

Working through the PLC and getting permission from the Council, we will be holding the April campout on a very unique property that hosts some very unique events.  We will be travelling down near Oskaloosa, about an hour away, and camping on a farm.  Part of this farm used to be an active coal mine.  Once the coal was gone, the operation moved on, but the byproduct of this operation create some very interesting terrain.  When a strip mine is in operation, they extract the coal from the soil and spit the unusable stuff back out.  This is called tailings.

JOCCI Farm Pano

 Jeep Rides!

Ryan FlexingSteep Drop

So, the earth is scarred from this but some creative folks have found uses for it still.  It creates a unique off-roading environment that is just awesome!  As the Scoutmaster of Troop 73 and also the President of the Jeep Outdoor Club of Central Iowa, I have received approval to join these two groups together for a weekend of adventure.  The young men of Troop 73 will be able to go on an off-roading adventure ride!  Adults- don’t worry, my plan is to get you rides, too!  The terrain you will be riding on will not include obstacles that I deem dangerous for our boys.  This includes high probability for roll-overs and “flops” which is laying the Jeep over on it’s side.  After all the trail rides are over and if the boys would like, we will demonstrate the more extreme capabilities of these awesome machines for you as you observe from the sidelines.

Jeeps posing on a hill

 

Explorer

But Wait- There’s More!

And this is just ONE of the activities for this campout!  There is also a 3 acre pond chock full of fish (bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish).  You will have opportunities to hike around and get up close and personal with this place~ what boys don’t like to go exploring, huh?  If a group of boys would like, they could turn this into a hike-in campout and set up near the pond.  This place has tons of opportunities for activities.  I bet you could find a dozen more than what I have listed!

Waivers

In order for anyone to participate in the Jeep rides, there are waivers that parents of minors and adults that want to participate will have to sign.  No signature, no ride.  There is an element of danger with this activity and just like with other things, waivers must be signed in advance.  This is no different from climbing/rappelling or SCUBA diving.  There is risk involved, but with some training and discipline, the risk is minimal.  For this reason, I would encourage parents to join us for a bit of the Troop meeting on 4/21 to make sure this gets handled before departure.  

I am very excited to show these boys one of my favorite hobbies up close and personal.  Heck, I bet half of’em will end up buying Jeeps some day because of the fond memories they will have from this campout.  If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Scoutmaster Weaverling
scoutmaster@ankenytroop73.org

What makes the backbone of a successful troop?

Answer: Communications

Communications are foundationally the most important component of a successful troop.  Without them, failure is eminent.  With them, failure is still possible yet less likely to happen.  So, what needs to be communicated with the troop to ensure it’s success?  Today I will focus on one form of communication that we are going to work on improving at Troop 73- Phone Calls.

Who to contact?

This one is easy.  Know your chain of command.  Scouts should contact their Patrol Leader.  Patrol Leader should contact the Assistant Sr. Patrol Leader.  Assistant Sr. Patrol Leader should contact the Sr. Patrol Leader.  Sr. Patrol Leader should make the call or contact the Scoutmaster for advice.  On the adult side, it’s just as easy.  Committee positions should contact the Committee Chair.  Assistant Scoutmasters should contact the Scoutmaster.

Why is it important to contact the right person?

If you want the right answer, you need to go to the right person.  If you are a Scout and you contact the Sr. Patrol Leader for information, there are numerous people in between that may not know and increase the volume of calls to this person.  Let’s take this scenario- Scout 1 has a question and calls the Sr. Patrol Leader instead of his Patrol Leader.  Scouts 2 & 3 do the same.  So, the SPL took three calls that he didn’t need to.  Imagine in our troop of 60 boys if each one contacted the SPL himself.  The SPL’s phone would be ringing off the hook!  Same scenario on the adult side- imagine if all 30 of the registered adults contacted the Scoutmaster with a question.  Ugh!   Add on top of that all the scout parents?  Somebody get me a straight jacket and a padded room!

Padded Room

Troop Meetings

Location, time, what to bring, what will be discussed, any research that needs to be done beforehand.  This information should be delivered to the last scout no later than 7PM the day before the troop meeting.  It should start with the SPL to ASPL to PL to Scouts.  Very simple.  If you don’t get a phone call, it is your job to reverse the call order (Scout to PL to ASPL to SPL).

Patrol Leader’s Council

The date, time,  location, and agenda should be given to the troop a week in advance.  This allows all members of the troop to get an idea of what their ELECTED representatives have coming up that they will be discussing and/or deciding upon.  Make sure your leadership knows what YOU want to do.

In Summary

Proper, timely communications with the right people are critical to keep things working well.

Know who to go to with questions and when it is appropriate to ask them.

Scoutmaster Weaverling
scoutmaster@ankenytroop73.org

Little Sioux Campout 2014

Well, the troop had a great campout this past weekend at Little Sioux.  The weather was perfect!  The boys managed to put on a good program.  We had three stations going on at the same time and had the patrols rotate through.

Station 1 – Firem’n Chit

This is where the boys learn about the components needed to build a fire, where to find these materials, and how to use them in combination to make many different types of fires.  What boy doesn’t like to learn more about fire, right?  Each of them got to try their hand at the old flint and steel.

Little Sioux 2014007  Little Sioux 201415

Station 2 – Totin’ Chit

This is where boys learn all about knife and other sharp things and the respect they require in order to use them safely.  They talked about the different types of knives and their purposes.  How to pass them to one another in a safe manner (Thank You!).  What is a sheath and how is it used on a knife, saw, or axe.  How to set up an axe yard and make sure you ask permission to enter it.  Where NOT to stand when someone is swinging an axe.  How to sharpen a knife, saw and axe.

Little Sioux 2014003  Little Sioux 2014004

Station 3 – Dehydration Station

Generally speaking, dehydration is something we try to avoid at all cost in Boy Scouts because we’re usually talking about how Timmy Tentpeg isn’t drinking enough water.  However, dehydration of food is what we’re focussing on here!  After going to the Boundary Waters on High Adventure this past summer, we realized that the boys did not know how to prepare backcountry food very well because of all of the front country camping we do as a troop.  So, the boys have chosen to do a hike-in campout in May.  We decided to add a station where the boys could get some hands on experience dehydrating some food.  The meal plan is this: 2lbs Ground Beef, 2 packs taco seasoning, 1 box of Spanish rice, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 jar of salsa, 1 can of Rotel.  So, the boys cooked the beef and drained all excess grease off to help it keep longer then spread it out on dehydrator trays.  They opened the salsa and spread it out on trays.  They drained the excess fluid off the diced tomatoes and Rotel and spread them out on sheets.  145 degrees and 6-8hrs later, they had food dried and ready for packaging!

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Doc and the Memorial Hike

Doc, the camp ranger, took the boys on a tour of the chapel and a hike up to the memorial on top of the hill.  He knocked it out of the park, as always, describing the tornado that hit the camp in in June of 2008.  Very tragic story.  He is a big reason our boys keep wanting to come back to Little Sioux Scout Ranch!  What a great Scouter!

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What was learned?

There were many things learned this past weekend.  The new scouts hit the ground running and worked great as a patrol.  I’m very excited to see this.  One of our boys found out why it’s not a good idea to throw a full Nalgene water bottle up in the air.  Another boy found out what it’s like to take a water bottle to the beak.  The lesson *I* learned was  “Horseplay Leads to Sick Bay”.

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Another valuable lesson we learned on the drive home- lock the side door to the trailer to ensure bags don’t fall out while going down the road.  Yeah.  That was cool.

Scoutmaster Unwinds

So, after the trip to the ER to get medical help to get the bloody nose to stop (after a 2.5hr bleed), I sure needed something to lower the stress levels.  Luckily, the stars decided to come out to play so Mr. Davis and I took an opportunity to go unwind for a bit and with the help of Mr. Wright were able to catch a few snaps of the stars.

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It’s always fun when the boys can have fun while learning new skills.  That’s the name of the game, right?  Fun with a purpose?  

There it is.  Another great Troop 73 campout in the books!

Scoutmaster Weaverling
scoutmaster@ankenytroop73.org

Herding Cats

Over the years, I’ve come to an understanding in working with boys between the ages of 7 and 18.  Sometimes trying to get them to do something is like herding cats.  Cats don’t tend to listen much.  Heck, most of the time they respond to your direction like you’re speaking a foreign language.  One things is for sure, though, if they want to continue on their course of action you can bet your bottom dollar that this is exactly what they are going to do.

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How can a Scouter overcome this?  It’s easy.  Quit trying to herd cats.  It’s never worked before.  It’s not going to work in the future.  Draw upon your skills and choose your words wisely.  Take them down the path of guided discovery.  Ask leading questions, but don’t give them the answers.  Allow them to be a part of the solution instead of the bulk of the problem.  Giving them ownership in what they’re doing will usually result in a more positive result.