Troop 868 in Action

OLD BEN SCOUT CAMP (October, 2007)

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Troop 868's major outing this month was a "basic scouting" tent camping trip to Old Ben Scout Reservation in Winslow, Indiana (near Jasper).  Old Ben is owned and operated by the Buffalo Trace Council, headquartered in Evansville.  The camp is truly a "hidden gem" among scout camps.  The camp is relatively small.  Troop sites are arranged around the outside of a large oval access road.  This provides privacy while keeping all sites within comfortable walking distance of all program areas.  The camp dining hall, health lodge, chapel, and other administrative offices are located at the center of camp.  Even the C.O.P.E. course and shooting sports ranges are close-in.  The longest walk for most campers would be to the swimming lake and waterfront, but it would be well worth the walk because the lake is crystal clear and the shower house and swimming dock are well-maintained.  In fact, all the facilities at Old Ben were in really good shape.  We were surprised to learn from the Campmaster that the camp no longer operates a full season of summer resident camping due to an insufficient number of scout campers.  With such wonderful facilities, it's a true shame for them to be so under-utilized.  Old Ben is only 2 hours from downtown Louisville.

We arrived in camp after dark on Friday night.  The weekend Campmaster escorted us to our assigned site and checked us in.  On Saturday morning, the Camp Ranger dropped by our site to see if we needed anything?  We asked about a topo map of the reservation so we could do some cross-country orienteering and he provided one within the hour.  Talk about great service!  We had several newer scouts along on this trip, so we spent a good part of Saturday either cooking meals or orienteering; but we did manage to find time on Saturday afternoon to hike to the waterfront and go swimming.  The water temperature was a bit on the chilly side, but everyone managed to endure at least a short dip and all the new scouts were able to complete their Second Class aquatic requirements.

On Sunday morning the Campmaster joined us for breakfast and worship in the camp chapel.  The weather was sunny and warm --- a really terrific fall weekend.  The Campmaster was escorting some other folks around camp and wasn't in any hurry to leave, so we took our time breaking camp.  With so many new scouts, take-down took quite a bit longer than is normal for us.  We updated the troop's voice-message system to let parents know we'd be late getting back so they wouldn't worry.  Everyone had a great time and scouts were able to accomplish quite a bit of Tenderfoot and Second Class advancement.

The group pauses during a cross-country hike to consult the map. Collin orients the map and tells us which direction we need to go.
The group happened upon the camp C.O.P.E. course.  Cody pulls while Collin pushes to get Gabe up and over the wall. John helps Gabe learn to use his compass.
Matt (back to camera), Cody, and Tim (with directions) try to figure out how a compass game works. Soon Cody is off navigating the course.
Collin appears confident about his bearings. At the waterfront, John and Tim decide to checkout the lookout platform.
Assistant Scoutmaster Waldo Guzman finds the water temperature a bit cool for his taste. Ethan, Matt, Gabe, and Cody managed to brave a swim out to a the floating dock.