May 28

Linda and I used to live fairly close to Lower Huron Metropark. We had picnics in the park. What I didn’t know was that it has a pretty nice group camping area. It’s specially for youth groups so the Boy Scouts fit right in. On the weekend of May 14-16 Troop 240 headed over there for a tent campout. We used the Troop’s tents. These are the tents from last year’s National Jamboree. We have 10 of them that we bought after Jambo was over.

We got to the campsite by about 6:00 on Friday evening. We got our camp setup and cooked dinner. The three patrols rotated cooking and cleaning duty. Kieran’s patrol had cooking duty for Friday dinner. They did a good job on the soft tacos. The evening was cut short by rain. The guys were ready to stop fighting the weather and retired to their tents early.

Around the Table

Kieran, Kyle, Jason, and Matthew paused for a picture

Saturday we got up at 7:00 am. French toast and scrambled eggs were prepared for breakfast. After the cleanup there was some scout skill sessions that helped our newer guys learn some of what they need to advance to higher ranks.

Fire Starting

One of the Scout Skills stations was fire starting

Fire Starting 2

Kieran and Christian are really getting into their fire starting

We had intended to roast hotdogs for our lunchtime chili dogs over the fire. However, it was raining again so we resorted to the camp stoves for lunch. We did get a fire going later and had some really good pork chops grilled over the fire for dinner.

Tents In A Row

Our tents were all lined up along the tree line. Gear and grub areas down there at the end.

Artists and Chops

Kieran and Jason are in the background going over anime art techniques while pork chops cook over the fire for dinner.

Leaders Waiting For Dinner

Here are the Scoutmasters waiting for those chops to be done

Discussion Drain

This drain was a popular place for this gang to hang out

We had a nice time around the campfire Saturday night. Lots of conversation and the cracker-barrel. Since Friday’s cracker-barrel was rained out we doubled it up on Saturday. We had crackers and a cheeseball plus s’mores.

Unfortunately, the rain came back during the night while we were sleeping. It didn’t let up at all Sunday morning. We prepared breakfast. We had perogi, beef sticks, and fruit cups. The group that was using the pavillion was nice enough to let us cook and eat breakfast under it. That made it much easier with the rain. After breakfast was cleaned up it was time to break camp. We had to put everything away wet. So the tents and other Troop gear went home with the various leaders to get setup and dried out over the next couple of days.

Everybody said they had a good time on this campout. I know Kieran and I did!

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Jun 19

After a few months of getting ready, the new scouts in Troop 240 went out for their first weekend campout June 4-6. Kane wasn’t able to make it, but Kieran, Zack, and Matthew did.  They were joined by Cody and Colin who have been in the Troop longer, but still wanted to camp.  Casey and Christian were the senior scouts and served as our Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.  Our adult leadership consisted of Brian Coleman, the Scoutmaster, and Gregg Blossom and I, Assistant Scoutmasters.

We met at St. John’s at 5:30 Friday and loaded everything up.  Then we headed out to Camp Munhacke.

These new scouts hadn’t done much tent setup before so it took a while to get them up properly.  However, everything did get setup before there was any rain.  After things were setup we needed to focus on dinner.  We made spaghetti.  We had propane stoves on the picnic table under the easy-up canopy.  It came out quite good with plenty for everyone.  There was even some for the raccoon that fished it out of the trash while we were cleaning up.

Kieran, Zack, and Matthew were in a tent together.  They were probably the last ones to fall asleep.  At least they were the last voices I heard before I fell asleep.

Saturday morning dawned bright and early.  We were up at 7am.  Pancakes and sausage were cooked up for breakfast.  Everybody helped and it didn’t go too bad.

Cooking Breakfast

Pancakes and sausage for breakfast Saturday morning

After filling up on breakfast and cleaning up it was time for our five mile hike on the Bill Baker Trail.  There is some history to this particular hike.  When last year’s new scouts went out on this hike it became known as the “Death March” because the trail was washed out at one point.  That led to a huge detour through the wilderness and everybody was completely exhausted by the time they got back to camp.  This year the hike went quite well for most of the way.  Then we hit the same place that it was washed out last year, and it was washed out again.  Oh dear.  Casey remembered that it was the exact same place that they encountered trouble last year.  Mr. Blossom and I thought about the situation briefly and decided that our best course of action would be to double back to the road that we crossed most recently and take it back to camp.  It wasn’t quite as adventurous as last year, but given our circumstances it seemed like the best thing to do.

Almost Done Hiking

All the hiking scouts as we approach the end of our trek

Once we made it back to camp it was time for lunch.  We fixed Hobo meals on the camp fire.  Hamburger, diced vegetables, butter, and seasonings wrapped in foil and cooked on the grates over the camp fire.  They were easy and delicious!

Matthew Prepares the Grates

Matthew used aluminum foil to clean the grates before they went on the fire

Preparing Hobo Meals

The scouts are working on the hobo meal ingredients

Hobo Meals Are Cooking

Colin, Kieran, and Matthew keep an eye on the hobo meals

Casey and Christian spent some time after lunch working through T-2-1 requirements with the guys.  They made some good progress.  In fact, everybody should be ready to earn Tenderfoot rank very soon.

Kieran and Mr. Coleman Review His Book

Mr. Coleman is reviewing Kieran's achievements with him

Manchester Troop 426 stopped over to invite us over for skits and songs in the evening.  So all the guys got together and decided what skits and songs to perform.  Then they practiced them.

Practicing Bubblegum Song

Casey taught everyone the bubble gum song for skit time

Christian brought some helicopter-launched-with-rubber-band contraptions that quickly became a hit with all the scouts.  In between other things they would shoot them way up into the air and as they helicoptered back down they’d battle for position to be the one who caught it.

Everyone's Favorite Toy

Christian brought these helicopter sort of toys that were a hit with everyone

Working on Lashings

Casey and Christian showing the new scouts how to do lashings

Dinner was corned beef and vegetables.  It was all boiled on the stoves.  It turned out great and was a pretty easy camp meal.

Sitting Around the Campfire

The boys and leaders taking a break around the campfire while dinner cooks

It started to rain during dinner and continued to rain throughout the evening.  That made dinner cleanup a little more challenging than usual and it took a long time.  Finally it was done and everybody headed over the Troop 426’s campsite to join them for skits and songs.  It was a lot of fun.  They had a pavilion in their campsite so we were able to stay dry during the show even though the rain was pretty heavy.

After the show we headed back to our camp and retired to our tents because the rain prevented much of anything else.  Everybody managed to stay dry throughout the night.  The scouts didn’t know it but we had some pretty severe weather passing over us.  There were tornado warnings issued for some parts of the county, but not where we were.  Dundee was hit by a major tornado during the storm, but that’s quite a bit south of where we were.  Having our tents setup in the tree line as we did provided us with some shelter from the worst of the weather.  The moms and dads back at home were having a worse time worrying about us than we were having being out in the weather.  Mr. Coleman was keeping track of the weather via NOAA weather radio as were the folks in the camp office.  So we knew what was happening.

Sunday morning we woke up to much better weather.  It’s always nice to be able to pack up in dry conditions.  Of course the tents were wet, but the sun was out so we pulled them out into the center of the campsite to dry off for a little while before packing them up.  Breakfast was cereal because we needed to be heading back to the church early.  We weren’t quite as early as we planned, but we were hitting the road for home around 12:15.

This was a great camping experience for the new guys.  Casey and Christian did a great job showing them how its done as well as helping them get a large number of T-2-1 requirements signed off.  They’re well on their way to their next Court of Honor!

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May 18

Boy Scout Troop 240 helped run a Pinewood Derby during the Ypsi Area Street Rods Show & Shine on May 2.  Kieran and I were there helping out.  Well, Kieran did much more than me.  There were two tracks with two lanes each.  There were no electronic timers so the Boy Scouts had to spot the finish line and call which car won each race.  They also helped setup the track and tear it all down afterwards.

It looked like it might rain the whole time we were there, but it held out and we had a fun time.  I hadn’t heard of the Ypsi Area Street Rods before, but they seem like a nice group of people doing good things.

Tracks Are Ready

The two tracks are ready for racing

Waiting For The Finish

Kieran awaits the race so he can spot the finish


Some very handsome trophies were donated for the winners

Most of Troop 240

When it was all done the scouts posed for a group photo

May 16

Beginning in September 2008 I became the Den Leader for a great group of Webelos Scouts.  Webelos is the name of the scouting rank that is technically part of Cub Scouts, but is focused more on getting the boys ready to be Boy Scouts.

We set about working our way through the Webelos program and earning the highest award a Cub Scout can achieve, The Arrow of Light.  Along the way I always had the support of a wonderful group of parents.  No matter what I needed, I know I could count on them.  So I want to thank Kathy, Nancy, Gregg, Christine, and Jackie.  You made it possible to give the guys a good Webelos experience.

Over the year and a half we earned some activity pins, belt loops, and patches.  We spent some time at Camp Munhacke for Resident Camp, Haunted Munhacke, and several other events.  We tried to make our way through a corn maze with a GPS.  We did woodworking projects in my garage in the cold months.  (Perhaps not my best planning effort, that.)  We raced Pinewood Derby cars.  We raced up and down the sidewalk.

In the second year we had to figure out which Boy Scout Troop we wanted to join.  The four boys knew they wanted to stick together and join a troop together.  There are three Troops in Ypsilanti.  They all invited us to attend their troop meetings.  They planned campouts and hikes for us to join too.  They each gave us a feel for how they work and how their existing scouts work together.  In the end all of the boys and us parents agreed that we felt the most comfortable with Troop 240.

So on February 8th Pack 295 has their annual Blue and Gold banquet.  All four of the boys in my den earned their Arrow of Light and received it at the banquet awards ceremony.  After the awards ceremony the folks from Troop 240 joined us up on stage for the Crossover.  I was proud to see the four boys Kane, Zack, Matthew, and Kieran walk across the bridge from the Cub Scout Pack to the Boy Scout Troop.  The Troop even surprised me by having me walk over the bridge too.  They switched my uniform from Cub Scout blue to Boy Scout green as well.  Pretty sneaky those Boy Scouts.  It worked, as I’m now an Assistant Scoutmaster in the Troop.

Starting Arrow of Light Ceremony

Kane, Matthew, Zack, and Kieran starting the Arrow of Light award ceremony

Holding Up the Arrow of Light

Kieran holds up the Arrow of Light

Cub Scout Den Family

Everybody's parents joined them for the big award presentation

The Crossover is Complete

Here are the new Boy Scouts with the other representatives of Troop 240

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