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Scouts-A-Million July 19, 2006

Posted by Joe in Uncategorized.
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Scouts-A-Million is the nickname that Benjamin has given to the annual Cub Scout Resident Camp in our area. The Boy Scouts refer to it as Gaylord Cubworld. And rather than being a million scouts there, it usually has about 140 people there including fathers, mothers, and siblings.

Last summer, when Benjamin was but a Tiger Scout (the youngest level of scouting) we went to Cubworld and ever since, he’s been asking when we can go back. Well, this past weekend it finally came! So we packed up our camping gear, loaded up our truck, and embarked on the 1.5 hour journey to Scouts-A-Million.

We arrived just after lunch on Friday and were immediately ushered to the pool to take our swim test. At resident camp there are 3 levels when you swim. The Non-Swimmer level doesn’t require a test of any kind, but it limits you to the 2 foot section of the pool.

The Basic Swimmer classification requires that you take a pretty simple swim test; you have to swim 10 meters, turn around, and swim back. We both qualified as Basic Swimmers this year. Achieving this level gains you entrance into the 6 foot area of the pool where the water slides are. These slides, which would make any McDonald’s proud, spin you around and around while dropping you 40 feet and eventually spitting you out into the water. We did it over and over again. The things you do for love!

The final level is the Swimmer which requires 200 meters of swimming followed by 30 seconds of floating. A non-trivial exercise to say the least.

After the test we had the rest of the afternoon to set up our campsite and play at the floating pirate ship, the rock castle, and the western fort city. We also through the baseball and Frisbee for a while too.

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Saturday is jam packed with cub scout adventures. After a flag raising ceremony and breakfast at 700am, we enthusiastically headed for our first activity of the day – Archery. For the next 50 minutes we learned about the sport, the equipment, the safety procedures and protocols at the range. Then we got to shoot for a while. Benjamin did a great job this year.

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Our next activity was BB Guns! Again the first half of the session was dedicated to safety and knowledge while the latter half was spent shooting on the range. Benjamin was one of only two scouts in our group to earn a shooting patch for being a good shot. To earn the badge you have to score a total 35 points with 5 BB’s – an average of hitting the 7 ring with each shot. Benjamin did it! That’s my boy!!

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Our next two sessions were Science and Astronomy. We learned about the scientific methods when doing experiments, and about the planets and our solar system.

After lunch we spent the afternoon putting our swim test to use. Four hours at the pool – playing, sliding, dunking, chasing, and generally just having fun.

We had a little time before dinner, so I let Benjamin use my pocket knife to learn how to whittle.

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After the Saturday evening meal, we attended a giant camp-wide campfire where the Boy Scouts who work there put on skits and told jokes. At the conclusion of the campfire, we respectfully retired an American flag by burning it on the campfire while the bugler played taps. The scout leaders, fathers, and mothers who are military veterans were presented with the white stars that had been cut out of the flag prior to its retirement. That brought a conclusion to the first day.

On Sunday, we had breakfast, a short non-denominational church service, then started our 4 activities of the day. We had Flag Football, more BB Guns, Ultimate Freebie, and finally Whittling.

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The Sunday’s BB Guns really stressed safety and knowledge – even more than Saturday’s session. We learned the 12 parts of a BB Gun, how to load it, and how to care for it.

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Likewise, Whittling was all about safety with knives. The scouts learned by using Popsicle sticks to carve soap.

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After lunch, we broke camp and headed home so see our family and our beloved cats.

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