2016 Summer Camp Communications Zone

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hello again from Camp Read in the Adirondax!

Thursday? I can't believe it! Time is flying by!

It's another day of beautiful weather, and we all had a solid night's sleep. Well, not quite all. Ashton, who is taking Wilderness Survival, had to survive a night in the woods with no sleeping bag, no tent, and no bathrooms. This was rescheduled from tonight, Thursday, until last night, Wednesday, because the weather was optimal for last night.

There's a "funny" story about that.

At roll call this morning before breakfast, the troops are asked to account for the whereabouts for all scouts. Since Ashton was on the overnight, Jonny announced that all Troop 154 was either present or accounted for. But, other troops had announced that all their overnighters were back. Uh oh! As my pulse raced, I quickly rushed back to our site to check Ashton's tent (Ashton, being the SPL has the privilege of his own tent). What at first looked like a crumpled sleeping bag on his bed was actually Ashton himself, catching up on some much needed ZZZs. He had wandered in to camp around 5:30 when we were all fast asleep, so his presence was never known. Well, thank goodness he is alive, well, and a bit tired.

Yesterday was an eventful day. As mentioned, we had a changing of the guard with Mr. Murphy arriving in mid-afternoon and my brother headed back to Connecticut. After a quick orientation to the camp, we piled into the Pilot and headed to the horse barn for a trail ride. We had done this last year and it was big hit so the kids were happy to repeat the event. Michael had not been on a horse, so it was a new experience for him. I was assigned Potato, a mare that was new to camp and had only been ridden by the experienced staff. She was a little restless, but quickly settled down and listened to my commands. We don't have shots of the actual trail ride (no cameras allowed) but Mr. Murphy was kind enough to shoot some before and after shots.

Next up Ashton headed into the wild after dinner, and the rest started training for the annual Triathlon (actually, Quadrathlon). With a pool of just four participants, the boys had to figure out who would do which event - Archery, Running, Swimming, and Rock Wall Climbing. Thank goodness we had Michael on the Rock Wall. I wasn't there, but "the spider" made it to the top quickly and efficiently, greatly increasing the chances of Team 154 (the "Buzzing Bees") to medal.

Well, the rest of the team didn't fare quite as well. Tristan was a little rusty with Archery and had an inferior bow (always blame the equipment!) Jonny ran like the wind but didn't have the proper shorts (...or blame the clothes) and Freddy swam like a dolphin but tired at the end due to the cold water (or blame the conditions!) Well, needless to say The Buzzing Bees did not reach the medal round this year. Can you guess who won? You're right--Troop 1, Crestwood. Did I mention that Crestwood fielded not one, not two, but five teams in this year's Triathlon, an A, B, C, D, and yes, even an E team. So it should be no surprise that they won gold, once again.

The exhausted athletes were happy to learn that care packages were waiting for them back at camp. The kids tore into them almost before we could calibrate our cameras for the pictures. Thanks, parents for the support; the kids really appreciated the stuff and it always is a great pick-me-up.

Can you guess who this one is from? [Insert eye-roll here...]

The wifi here is fairly slow so it takes forever to upload the pix. Rest assured that there are many more pix of the boys having fun, learning, and generally enjoying themselves.


w/ Ed

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Well, it's Wednesday already!

Yesterday was a busy day for all as the boys got into the full swing of their merit badge classes. New this year is Public Speaking. Ashton took this during Week 1 and it was one of his favorites, and Jonny is taking it now and surprisingly it's his favorite as well. Likely this is because the instructor is the camp director Johannes, and if anyone is qualified to teach Public Speaking, he is.

More this afternoon-- gotta go

...Okay, I'm back. We've just had a changing of the guard; Michael's dad has taken over for my brother--thanks to both! More on that at a later point.

Back to the merit badges. Also new this year is Bird Study. Not only is Freddy the only one from our troop who signed up for this ambitious badge, he's the only one in all of Camp Buckskin! It didn't get going until Tuesday evening (it's by appointment, not a structured class), so it will be extremely hard to identify all the birds on the premises. Do I smell a PARTIAL? ha ha

Hygiene is something that is typically compromised at Camp Read. Not this year! All the boys have already taken one shower, so we are on pace to be the cleanest campers ever! Not only that, I myself was able to take two showers in two days! A record!

As I tell my wife, who needs a shower when you jump in the pond in the morning?! Not me! Have you seen how clean and clear this Adirondack water is? Well, she doesn't buy the argument, so off to the showers they go--no resistance this year.

What's this about jumping in a pond? Well, I'm jumping around a bit too, but Monday was the first of three days the boys can jump in the pond to qualify for the Polar Bear patch. In order to earn the patch, you have to go into the water, all the way in, on two out the three possible mornings. And that doesn't mean 10 am or even 9. The Polar Bear swim is at 6:30AM! No, that's not a typo! You may wonder, where are all the pictures from Monday's swim? Well, I am sorry to say, it didn't happen. At Monday at 6:15, the skies opened up with a driving rain, the boys had a fitful night of sleep, so by consensus, they decided to skip it that day.

...but I have better news. Today, Wednesday, we all participated in the Polar Bear Swim (we? you ask--yes, including Mr. Sutton and myself). So we are all on track to earn the patch and to show Mr. Perlman what we're made of. There was a snafu with Michael's med records, but I'm happy to say I was able to iron it out with some skillful negotiating, and he has passed the swim test and did the polar plunge with the others. This was not possible on Monday, so we are now as one, as we should be.

Tuesday evening was a blank slate, the one evening of the week where little was scheduled. There was a pie-eating contest, but, with Troop 1 Crestwood in the fold, we elected not to field an entrant and to give Crestwood some false confidence. Instead, I gathered the troops and we took three canoes out into the pond during Open Program. Who knew we could do this? I didn't, but hey, all you have to do is ask! All but Freddy (due to Bird Study) went for a relaxing canoe trip in the fading sunlight--see pictures.

It's now Wednesday afternoon and Freddy and Ashton just returned from their Fishing Merit badge fishing expedition. Guess what? No fish, not even some nibbles. Uh oh, I smell another PARTIAL! Well, as long as they're enjoying themselves...

Tonight is the Triathlon and more games, and I did notice that there are some care packages waiting for the boys in the mailroom--so thank you for sending them and I'll check back tomorrow


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Good Morning from Camp Read in the Adirondacks!

First, let me apologize for not getting the blog out yesterday. Monday was a challenging day due to spotty rain, but things are looking better and better, as you well know if you've been following the weather.

Let's start with Sunday.

Sunday morning we grouped up at Increase Miller, and all the boys were in full uniform and on time. We had a couple of four-legged friends (Bean and Brody) to send us off, and off we went.

We arrived in good time after a lunch break, and our troop guide, Nieve, got us settled into our site. Once again we are at Teheco, one of the best sites on the premises, but for the first time in a while we are sharing Teheco with another troop, this one is from Beekman, New York. They have about 15 kids, mostly on the younger side. Luckily, we arrived at the site first, so I secured the wooden cabin for myself, with the boys and Mr. Sutton in the surrounding tents. Mr. Sutton? I thought YOU were Mr. Sutton, you're thinking. Well, my brother volunteered to help us for the first half of the week, and his assistance has been invaluable.

The first day and a half has been a little challenging due to the intermittent rain. The scouts are in great spirits in spite of the showers, and they've managed to stay dry. For me, it's just the clamminess of everything-- pillows, sleeping bag, socks, that is fairly uncomfortable.

The boys are now in their merit badge classes, and they are taking some challenging ones this time around. With only one boy in a Handicraft class (photography), the boys are working on more ambitious badges such as Environmental Science and Camping.

The food has been great, and the boys are eating well. One difference this year is that the boys are not served on trays with sections for the different portions. Apparently there was a problem with the dishwasher, so all meals have been on paper plates and plastic utensils. I'm guessing that this makes the waitering job a little easier, but you'll have to ask the boys, since they're the ones doing all the work.

Our first dinner was chicken parm, and last night was Swedish meatballs, the best meal so far in my opinion.

On Sunday night was the opening campfire program for the entire Buckskin camp. Skits and jokes are performed by the staff, and this year they actually had some new ones. There was one in particular about a lawn mower that wouldn't start-- all it needed was a big jerk! I think you can fill in the details, but 90% of skit success is in the delivery.

Yesterday, Monday, is traditionally the toughest day at camp. The kids have to find out where to go, and they aren't doing a lot of hands-on learning just yet, more butts-on bench listening. The weather made it a little challenging too (oh, maybe I mentioned the weather already, ha ha). Michael, the only rookie of the group, has been able to navigate the camp with no help whatsoever; he seems to have a sixth sense as to where everything is. It took me a few days to learn the ropes.

Last night we made some popcorn over the fire in Teheco, and it came out well (two batches) until the rain spoiled our fun. Well, we weren't about to let a little rain spoil it, so we moved under the fly where Mr. Sutton brought out a game that he had brought called Who Would Win? We had a rousing good time with this game--the premise is that a random event card is chosen, such as "Rock, Paper, Scissors", or "Chess", then, two players throw down a person card who would theoretically do battle at that event. The fun part (and great for those taking public speaking) is that you have to make an argument as to why your person would win the event. Ashton argued why Darth Vader would beat Batman in a staring contest, for example, and Ashton won the hard-fought battle. Do I see Law in his future?

Anyway, today is Tuesday, the sun is out, and the boys are working well together, so all is good.

Mr. Sutton

with Mr. Sutton