Troop 868 in Action
CAMP MICHAELS (February 2009)

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This was Troop 868's first visit to Camp Michaels, located in Union, KY.  The camp is owned and operated by the Dan Beard Council (Cincinnati, OH).  It is a small camp that is primarily used for weekend troop camping, Cub Scout day camps during the summer, and the National Youth Leadership Training program (formerly known as JLT).

The camp has one lodge that features a single large meeting room and an attached kitchen.  The kitchen is heated (propane heater) but the only heat for the meeting room comes from a large stone fireplace at one end.  The lodge has lots of windows and was very slow to warm up, even with a good-sized fire.  Still, it got us indoors out of the wind and we eventually managed to get it reasonably comfortable on a weekend when daytime highs were in the low 40's.

Sleeping in the lodge is not permitted, so we set up our canvas wall tents in the field near the cabin.  Not realizing until we got there that the lodge had such a nice kitchen, we had planned on doing all our cooking outdoors.  Doing this eliminated the need to clean the kitchen on Sunday morning and also made it easier to operate by the patrol method (as we always like to do).  We used the lodge for some of our weekend program activities and also carried our cooked food indoors to eat.

Camp Michaels has several very nice open-sided program shelters and an excellent orienteering course.  Unfortunately, we were not able to link up with the camp ranger to get an orienteering course map until we were ready to depart on Sunday, but we now have a copy for our next visit!

The camp is abundant with wildlife.  We saw a number of deer, rabbit, and raccoon tracks along the creek and woke up both mornings to find a flock of wild turkeys roosting near our campsite.

Saturday morning was clear and sunny but a cold front moved in mid-afternoon causing the temperature to drop and bringing gusty winds and a combination of sleet and snow.  To keep our sleeping bags dry, we tied our tent flaps shut.  Then, later that evening, we found the knots frozen and had to use pliers to pry them open so we could get into our tents!

In hiking around the camp on Saturday morning, we noticed a bunch of scattered garbage and other debris along a certain section of the creek that runs through the camp.  The litter had obviously been deposited by flood waters.  As two of our adults swept out the cabin on Sunday afternoon, our ASPL led the troop, armed with plenty of garbage bags, to attack the problem.  Needless to say, the Camp Ranger was both surprised and delighted to learn about our voluntary service project and presented our ASPL with a limited edition, commemorative Camp Michaels patch in recognition of our "good deed" conservation project.  The patch has since been framed and hangs on the wall at the Shepherdsville Community Center (where the troop meets).

On a Saturday morning hike around camp, Jon found a "mini-cave" that would be a good Wilderness Survival shelter. The group encountered a giant oak tree that took 5 people joining hands to encircle the trunk.
Gabe holds up a feather and the carcus of a wild turkey that he and Kraig found while hiking. Mr. DiEnno peered through the "port hole" in a hollowed out sycamore tree.
Mr. DiEnno cooked the Saturday evening meal for the adult patrol.  Note the snow from the afternoon snow/sleet storm. Cooking outdoors was a bummer, but being able to eat indoors was a blessing.
Jon takes a turn at joke-telling during a Saturday evening "indoor campfire" program. (L to R) Kraig, Gabe, Connor, Spencer, Nick, Chris, and Jon.  Mr. DiEnno is seated in the row behind.
Most of the boys laced the corners of their tents, but one pair of scouts evidently didn't mind "flow through" ventilation! On Sunday morning, Connor was the first scout to roll out of his tent.
These would be Connor's gloves with frozen fingers from spending the night outside his tent. We don't know who this pair of frozen tennis shoes belonged to, but we can imagine the sensation of putting them on!
Chaplain Aide Gabe conducted our Sunday morning worship service near the hearth in the lodge. Between morning worship and lunch, scouts hiked back to the creek and picked up trash deposited by flood waters.
Picking up the garbage wasn't difficult and only took about an hour, but it sure did improve the look of the landscape.