Troop 868 in Action

Summer Camp at Owasippe Scout Reservation (July, 2001)

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All the camps at Owasippe use an open scheduling system where staff are on duty in their assigned program areas both mornings and afternoons, but don't (with the exception of the Aquatics area) teach structured classes.  Most program areas also opened for an evening session after dinner.  Scouts would visit the program areas as they felt necessary to work on merit badges.  Boys could begin or finish badges on their own schedule.  Program areas were not overrun with campers and each scout received a generous helping of personal attention.  Merit badge requirements were strictly enforced; and the scouts came away with a sense of accomplishment upon completing them.

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Dave (left) works on carving a neckerchief slide for Woodcarving MB.  Ben is working on another MB at the next table. Florencio sits in his tent and weaves a lanyard for Leatherwork MB.  He became the troop's lanyard guru due to his skill in this area.

Open scheduling provided the scouts with a significant amount of time in the campsite.  Surprisingly, few of our guys spent much time goofing off.  Merit badge work was both fun and challenging, so the boys remained focused on their work and there was little time for horseplay.  The only pay phone in camp was over a mile away at the main administation complex and there was no cell phone coverage, either.  This totally eliminated the problem of younger guys calling mom or dad then getting homesick!  Letters and care packages from home were a real treat, and (at the Scoutmaster's insistence) every boy wrote home at least once.

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Ben and Sam discuss fishing and other important matters.   Florencio (on cot in the background) enjoyed a brief afternoon nap. Scoutmaster Freeman plays in the fire with Jeremy and Sam.   See, guys ... I told you we could get it going with the Wall Street Journal!
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Philip, Jeremy, and James all write postcards home. The picture above (which is out of focus) shows Jonathan and Jeremy (in red scout caps) working on Fishing MB.  The man wearing the red jacket demonstrating how to tie a fishing knot is the counselor.  Though blurred, the photo illustrates the personal attention scouts received in all program areas.

Not being a dining hall camp, attendance at morning flag raising and evening flag retirement was optional.  Troop 868, however, set a goal to attend these daily rituals and only missed a couple of them.  Our emphasis on full uniforming set our unit apart and was a source of pride for our guys.  Evenings in camp were spent with reflections around the campfire and work on various merit badge requirements.

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Troop 868 in formation for flag retirement. An evening reflection around the campfire in our site.
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Chris, Alex, Florencio, and Sam engaged in discussion. Florencio hard at work burning the midnight oil.

The morning ritual included rolling up all tent flaps (an Owasippe tradition) and refilling the fire buckets (to prevent mosquitos from breeding).  And, of course, a daily cleaning of the KYBO.   KYBO is Owasippe's word for a latrine.  The word is an acronym that means Keep Your Bowels Open.  Without any doubt, Owasippe had the best latrines (KYBOs) of any Boy Scout camp anyone in our group had ever seen!  They featured flush toilets and a shower stall as well as a wash basin, mirror, and urinal.  They were designed to provide privacy and featured screening all around to keep insects out.  They even had a gas light which provided 24-hour illumination.  Because of the comfort of the KYBO, we had no problems with our group irrigating the trees behind their tents or getting constipated from holding back to avoid using smelly, insect infested pit toilets.

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Alex rolls their tent flaps as Chris lends a supporting hand. Hey Mr. Meek, shouldn't a scout be doing that job?


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