Friday, June 15
Dear Mom and Dad,
I can’t believe the end of my first year at Camp Ho Non Wah is almost here. You know how Grandpa likes to say “It was the best of times… it was the worst of times”? Well, I think that sums up my week pretty well.
I’m really proud of everything I did. I haven’t ever stayed away from home this long, and I made it through ok. I’m not just a plain-old Scout anymore. I’m a real Tenderfoot. I can build a fire, find my way in the woods with a compass, and use an axe. I’ve been on a five-mile hike, proven that I can swim (even though we both know I could have done that already), and I’ve even made cool stuff out of leather.
I’m a real Boy Scout… not just some new kid in the troop. And I’m ready to keep working all the way to Eagle.
It wasn’t all good this week. I was really hot, and I didn’t get a chance to tell you earlier that skipping a shower wasn’t such a good idea. I got the Hoh Non Waddle, and I may not be able to walk too well for the next week or so. Then there was the whole situation with my stomach… and then coming back to my tent to find out that my roommate had moved out because he was afraid I would make him sick… Those were all pretty hard things to get over. And now that I’m about to come home, I guess it is ok to admit that I missed you both – and Buddy and Rex. I was pretty homesick for a night or two, and I really wanted to call you and say I wanted to come home… but Mr. Gage kept telling me that I was going to be ok, and several of the other boys in the troop helped a lot. And I made it.
I have a serious question. You gave me $40 to spend for the week, and you promised that I could keep what I didn’t spend. I was so sick that I only spent money on Imodium and saltine crackers. Would you be willing to reimburse me for those? I don’t think I should have to lose money for being sick!
Today was another good day. I stayed in the health lodge until around mid-morning, but after that, I finished all my leftover requirements for leather working, swimming, and Woodsman. Dr. Lawton said that he’s already marked me as a Tenderfoot scout in TroopMaster, so I’m definitely official!
Everybody had chicken sandwiches for lunch (not me!). We played a lot in the afternoon and just hung out talking and playing cards around camp. The Trading Post had free refills all afternoon, so Poppi and some other boys took their Eno hammocks up there to drink and drink and drink! Ben earned Tenderfoot this afternoon and said that he was going to outrank Poppi before long!
We had hamburgers and potato chips for supper tonight. I hadn’t eaten since lunch on Wednesday, so I had a few bites. I’m not really sure if that was a good decision.
We had an awards campfire after supper, and Troop 1 gave t-shirts to lots of the counselors we liked the most. I got to give on to Mr. Howard. He’s the medic who took care of me. Several of our guys won awards, too. Mac Salley won the award for being the best shotgun shooter in the whole camp! Nacho said that Mac had never shot a gun before this week, but Mac says he has no idea why Nacho thought that was true.
James Lilly won the William Tell award for archery, and Troop 1 won one of the Honor Troop awards. I think we could have won another award if Mr. Gage would have participated in the Scoutmaster bellyflop contest, but I guess he was too shy to do that!
We were really worried that rain and lightning might cancel the ultimate frisbee game, but somebody upstairs must have wanted us to play. The whole troop came out to watch our team, and all the staff were there, too. Lots of boys from Troop 2 even came to cheer us on!
We led the game for a long time, but the counselors eventually got the best of us. After a really long game, we the counselors beat us 10-7. If only we could have played to 15, I know we would have won. I’ve already decided that I’m going to practice all year long so that I can come back and help next year!
Mom and Dad, I know I don’t say it very often, but thank you for letting me come to camp. I know money doesn’t grow on trees, but I imagine the hardest part was trusting me to be ok on my own for a whole week. It wasn’t easy, but I’m 11 now, and I figured it out ok. I tried really hard to live by the Scout Oath.
On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
And I said the Scout Law each day… not just because I had to say it for my scoutmaster conference and board of review, but because I know that is the kind of person I want to be.
A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.
You taught me most of that already, but I like saying those 12 words over and over. I can see those words in a lot of the older boys and the leaders, and I want to be like them.
So thank you for giving me this week, for walking and feeding Buddy and Rex while I was gone, and for being good to me most of the time. Everybody tells me that I may not say that again during my teenage years, so I thought it would be good to get it out of the way one last time.
I’ll see you tomorrow!
Lots of love from New Shirmer campsite,