Bears Dean, Bluemont, VA
May 18-19, 2019
The annual May 2019 Scout Skills campout brought Troop 1128 back to where we have gone every year, Bears Den in Bluemont Virginia. The Scout Skills campout is the first campout that all of the scouts that are new to the troop go on in which they get numerous requirements checked off that are necessary for advancement in rank. Things such as the Totin’ Chip, the Firem’n chit, first aid, and knots are taught by the older scouts over the course of the campout. This gives an opportunity for not only the new scouts to get advancements signed off, but also older scouts to practice their leadership and teaching abilities in an environment that allows for mistakes.
The Scout Skills campout began with a 7:30 arrival at Andrew Chapel to take attendance and make sure everybody had a ride, then an 8 o’clock departure to Bears Den. After about a 45 minute ride, everybody had arrived at Bears Den. The first thing to be done was setting up tents which, with new scouts, can take a little while as they do not always know exactly how to go about putting a tent up. This time, however, nobody took longer than ten or fifteen minutes and we were quickly ready to begin the teaching.
In order to teach all of the new scouts in a reasonable amount of time, the older scouts split all of the new scouts in to 5 groups: Totin’ chip, Fire’m n chit, knots, lashings, and a first aid group. The goal was to have the new scouts rotate through each station in groups spending about 45 minutes at each station. This was going well until we took a break for lunch.
During lunch, some scouts were throwing around a football and, while trying to catch it, a scout hurt his knee on a tree stump. This prompted a real world example of some of the first aid that the new scouts were learning during the stations. However, after the small excursion, it took a while to get everybody back to the stations. Once we did, it took about an hour to finish up.
After the teaching was done, there was about an some time to fill before dinner, which most patrols used to choose a scout for the poker and caps tournaments that were to take place later that night. At around 5, scouts began to prepare dinner and their dessert. The desserts were important because they were going to be judges for Goshen points. The patrols made various kinds of desserts, from grilled banana marshmallows and chocolate to a peach cobbler in the dutch oven. The patrol that ended up winning was the Sharks with deep fried oreos followed by the Amazons and then the Bison.
After dinner, the poker and caps tournaments began. The caps tournament did not take long to finish, only about 30 minutes. The Zeus won caps followed by the Bison in second place. The poker tournament took much longer, about 2 hours. After lots of wagering and bluffing, the Bison emerged victorious with the Zeus coming in second. When the poker ended it was 10:30 and time for everyone to go to bed.
The next morning, the patrols got up bright and early to cook breakfast. Breakfast did not take long, it ended at around 8:30, giving the troop a lot of time to fill before our departure at 11. So, we decided to take the small hike to the viewing rock. The hike was about a mile long and we got some incredible views. We returned back to the campsite and 10:30 and began to load our gear back in to the cars. After all the gear had been loaded and attendance taken, we left back to Andrew Chapel. After the 45 minute drive, all the scouts arrived safely back home ready for the next campout.