I slept well last night, dreaming of the amazing hamburgers we had for dinner, and small-headed antelope. At 5 am this morning I looked out of my bunk, and I thought I saw Rocky the raccoon on the picnic table. I knew that little critter would make a huge mess and we would have to clean it up. I grabbed my flashlight – you know, the very bright one Uncle Bobby got me for Christmas – and tried to scare Rocky away. But to my shock, it wasn’t Rocky at all. It was one of my buddies! He had decided to sleep on the table rather than his bunk. I gave him a real scare. I still don’t know why he was sleeping there but we had a laugh about that. That said, judging by the mess near the trash can, Rocky must have actually come to visit last night.

I am never going to complain about my Adirondack ever again. Three of the older boys had to sleep in the woods last night with nothing more than a tarp and some rope. Can you imagine that? It must be scary, and not comfortable. But it is a merit badge and I bet I’ll have to do it one day. I will have to listen and attend all scout meetings so that I will be, as we scouts say, PREPARED. The boys who had spent the night in the woods joined us at breakfast. They looked tired and said they had been kept away by some noises in the dark and a lumpy floor, but they were happy to have done the requirement, and relieved it didn’t rain. They each had THREE waffles for breakfast, so I guess they were also hungry!

Today we made a lot more progress on our merit badge classes. The focus was cooking. I chopped some potatoes, carrots, and an onion and got other stuff ready for cooking. It was fun, and I think I am quite the chef. But don’t get any ideas; I’m not good enough to cook for family dinner just yet. Maybe start me off on boiling eggs or sandwiches. I think I can manage ham and cheese. I made something called Woodsman Stew by boiling vegetables in a kettle and mixing it with some broth and meat that we cooked in a pan.  It was not my favorite meal of the week (it was pretty terrible) but now I know I can make some campfire food when we go on scout trips.  We had to clean the pots and pans and put all our supplies away.  Please DON’T remind me that I know how to do that when I get home. I think the unofficial rule of Ho Non Wah is the same as Las Vegas: what happens in Ho Non Wah, stays in Ho Non Wah – at least the cooking and cleaning parts.

After class we came back to the campsite to finish our tenderfoot requirements.  We had our first scoutmaster conference, where Mr. Satterfield reminded each of us how to tie those knots and recite the scout oath and law.  Then Dr. Dunbar and Mr. Gage did our first board of reviews – they were impressed with all that we have learned about scouting so far, and they made sure we understood how important it is to live up to the things in the oath and law.  Dr. Dunbar even helped me just a little with my taut-line hitch.  And we all promised that when we come back next summer!

After all that we threw the frisbee, played some games, and even learned some card tricks. We had some delicious watermelon and there was the usual barter and exchange for candy, cokes, and chips.  The older scouts taught the first years a new game called Blackjack. They said I was good at it because I only lost one bag of Skittles and two packs of Starburst. They said that good players like me should play again with them tomorrow. After lasagna for dinner, we headed to the parade grounds, where the camp staff performed some Native American drum songs and dances.  It was awesome! They had some neat costumes! Be sure to check out the photos on the Troop1 site. We all danced with them and had a fun time.

After flags, we went to the council ring, where there was a huge fire, skits by all the troops, and then the Order of the Arrow ceremony.  The Order of the Arrow is an honors society in Boy Scouts. Every year Troop1 elects scouts to be ‘tapped’ at the ceremony. That means they are invited to join the Order of the Arrow IF they get through something called the ‘ordeal.’ I think it’s a weekend of grueling activities that every member goes through, but it is all very secretive. Troop 1 had 10 scouts get tapped for that, which is far more than any other troop here.  Scouts and leaders who are in the Order of the Arrow wore a white sash with a red arrow on it for that ceremony, which looked very impressive.  They talked about how important service in scouting is, and how each of us should do our very best to be helpful to others.

After the ceremony, we rushed back to camp, got changed out of Class As, and have been playing cards, manhunt, and chasing around in the dark. The rain will stay away, so it looks like hammocks tonight.

Well, tomorrow is Friday. That means one more full day of camp left … I can’t wait to write you all about it tomorrow night. And, biggest of all, we will try and get Mr. Gage to do the bellyflop contest. The older boys say he is unbeatable!  And then comes the biggest night in scouting for our troop as we take on the camp staff in Ultimate Frisbee.  The older boys tell me our troop is the only troop that has defeated the staff in the whole history of camp.  I really need to go to bed early tonight to rest up so I can stay up late tomorrow to cheer our team on.

I will admit that I had some worries about coming to camp, but I have had an amazing time. Thank you for giving me the push to come. I wouldn’t change the experience for all the candy in the world.

Oh, please ensure that Francisco’s terrarium is properly closed. You know how frogs like to escape, and I am not sure if I close it properly. And maybe check that the garden hose is turned off all the way. I may have left it on after I watered the pots last weekend.


Your future Eagle Scout