Troop 868 in Action
Summer Camp @ Camp Geiger (June, 2004)
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On Sunday morning, June 20, the group had juice and doughnuts in camp then headed out in search of a church for worship. Having gotten lost trying to follow directions provided by the Camp Ranger, our fearless scoutmasters somehow managed to find our intended destination ... St. Paul United Methodist Church. It turned out that St. Paul had no teen Sunday School class, so Mr. Meek conducted an ad-hoc lesson for the troop in their social hall while we waited for the morning worship service to begin. Everyone at the church was very friendly and welcoming. The church sponsored a Boy Scout troop and several church members had been or were currently involved in the Scouting program. We attended morning worship, made a quick stop to pick up food for lunch, then headed back to Camp Geiger for check-in.
From the get-go Camp Geiger could only be described as "awesome." A camp commissioner was waiting for us in our campsite upon our arrival back in camp. He conducted a thorough walk-through of our assigned tents to identify any pre-existing damage and then ushered us to the camp Health Lodge for a medical re-check before heading to the pool for the obligatory swimmer test. Sunday evening was our first meal in the camp dining hall. A staff member was assigned to each table and helped us to quickly master mess hall procedures. The same staff members ate with us at every meal and soon became like family. Throughout the week they answered questions and provided tips on how we could get the most from our week in camp.
Unlike other camps we've visited, flag ceremonies before meals were quick and devoid of other announcements. The staff didn't keep us standing in formation to get into the dining hall for any longer than absolutely necessary. Once inside the dining hall, grace was said, people were seated, and the meal began. Food, covered with plastic wrap, had already been placed on each table and was ready to be served and eaten. All meals were eaten "family style" with serving bowls passed to the left around the table. As serving bowls were emptied, a diner would take the empty bowl or platter back through a serving line to get a refill. The food quality was exceptional and no one in our group ever left the table hungry. In fact, third or fourth servings were commonly consumed. In addition to food that was served at the table, two salad bars were in operation for every lunch and dinner. At breakfast, the salad bars contained an assortment of individually boxed cereals. Mealtimes was not disturbed with songs, announcements, or other distractions. We actually had an opportunity to relax and converse around the table at every meal. The staff led a song followed by some other brief activity at the end of each meal --- breakfast featured a demonstration of the knot of the day, lunch showcased a magic trick, and dinner was capped off with a search for Sitting Bull. (You'll just have to visit Camp Geiger to understand Sitting Bull.)
Camp Geiger ran like a well-oiled machine. A computer sounded various bugle calls over the camp's public address system to keep campers and staff on a common time schedule from reveille to taps. Bugle calls signaled times for waiter call, meals, the start of merit badge classes, and the times to wrap up and move to the next class or activity.
The staff were more mature than at most Boy Scout camps; many were adults. The teens on staff were older, mostly college-aged, and the vast majority were Eagle Scouts. The staff were universally clean shaven, well-groomed, neatly dressed in camp shirts and official uniform shorts, and ALWAYS both polite and punctual. They were also genuinely helpful and friendly. They did a good job of holding scouts' attention and keeping them focused, even in those merit badge classes that can be a bit boring. They set and maintained an exceptional standard of professionalism that did not go unnoticed.
|The mess hall was a rather unique, but very efficient, round building having 12 doors, each named for one of the points of the Scout Law.||A Vesper Service for all campers was held on Sunday evening and a Roman Catholic Mass was said on Monday night in the camp's chapel.|
|Troop 868 shared the Cheyenne campsite with local Troop 75. We had the front 8 tents on the right.||Tables in the mess hall each seated 8. This worked out perfectly for our group of 14 plus 2 staff guests.|
|David, the only member of our group to receive the honor of Sitting Bull, draws his "prize" from the board.||Dave's soon-to-be-delivered "prize" is described for everyone by Camp Program Director Justin.|
|Philip takes a short trail ride with others in his Cycling MB class. Camp Geiger provided the bikes.||Stephen works on Pottery MB.|
|Scouts get some safety instruction at the rifle range before shooting. Philip and Chris are in the class.||Mr. M (draped with towel) renewed his BSA Lifeguard certification and helped teach Lifesaving MB.|
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