June 18, 2017
Cub Camp is over with for another year. I’ve attended at least five of them. Camp Tracy is the same camp in deciduous forest a few miles up in the canyon. Many of the activities are the same as before, but renamed. This year we went to camp and learned about dragons. We drew them. We had a group that was called “Strike” with a dragon mascot that was superb. We made bead bow ties again. We toured a real, relocated railroad caboose. We shot bows, slingshots, and bb guns. We raced around a track with a very low-to-the-ground go-cart with three pushers and one rider. We made a leather bracelet and did other crafts. It was a different slant on activities we did other years.
The bottom line is that it was fun. We enjoyed sword fighting with plastic swords and plastic garbage can lids. We made paper Viking boats and floated them. I can’t remember everything. What was significant to me is that the leaders of each section were young, probably 14 to 16 years. They were patient and fun as they showed how to do the activity.
And it was dusty, but I’ve seen worse on years when we hadn’t had a rain the day before we went. Our sessions start at 4 p.m., so the canyon is somewhat cooler and the crowds are fewer. In fact, it got downright chilly the first evening. We get the boys home about 10 p.m. Safe and sound except for one knife cut from forgetting to slice away from the soap he was carving. Maybe a few mosquito bites. And perhaps sugar highs because there’s a “trading post” with candy and all kinds of gimmicky toys for sale such as plastic dragons, a plastic bag with baking soda and vinegar inside that makes a loud pop when mixed, and whips that can, with practice, crack. The boys love the trading post, warned ahead of time, to bring some money.
We’ve never had a boy go to sleep in the way home even though the leaders are beat. They are wired from day one to the end of day two. They laugh at the corny skits and silly doings of the camp leaders at the gatherings. They run around the obstacle course over and over and over again. They have more energy that a nuclear reactor.
Is it worth it? Is having a wonderful time in the outdoors doing things that teach boys to listen to instructions, inform them of interesting things of the past and present, let them safely experience modified weapons use, engage imagination and make friends worth it? As usual, the favorite activity was shooting bb guns with the go-carts a close second.
Each year I find a place to sit sooner. We didn’t have a mile walk this year, and I didn’t go on it last year, up and down and around. But leaders could interact with the kids and especially cheer them on. We brought a sandwich and ate it with them and their food for supper. We admired their “light sabers” painted on a wooden dowel. We helped in the cheering contests and kept count to make sure that no one wandered where we couldn’t see them.
How long I’ll be a Cub Den Leader I don’t know. I really love those boys. My co-leader will be going on a mission in October, so that will be a change. We’ve worked well together for four years now. All I know is that I believe in Cub Scouting. I believe boys profit by this experience. And I thrive as I have a great deal of fun with eight-year-olds who always come up with something different and wonderful. PMA