Summer Camp at Owasippe Scout Reservation (July, 2001)

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Owasippe encouraged individual scouts and even entire troops to participate in enrichment activities called outposts.   During our week in camp, a number of Troop 868 scouts participated in a Fishing Outpost, a Photography Outpost, and a Tubing Outpost (where scouts floated several miles down a nearby river on inner tubes).  On Tuesday evening, our troop left camp and drove 30 miles to spend the night aboard the U.S.S. Silversides, a decommissioned WW-II diesel-electric submarine.  Following a brief tour and safety talk, our guys were given the run of the boat from 8 PM until 9 AM the following morning.  After staying up half the night watching submarine movies in the crew's mess, scouts slept on board in the main crew quarters.  (Naturally, the Scoutmaster got a rack in the officers' quarters!)  The following morning, scouts had an opportunity to explore the boat in daylight before we headed back to Camp Wolverine.

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The first movie of the evening was "Down Periscope."  Watching (clockwise from left rear) are Tyler, Philip, Sam, Jeremy, Florencio, Dave, and Ben.  Someone's head is barely visible seated next to Florencio.   Scouts found the racks in the main crew quarters to be tight but reasonably comfortable.  The Navy has definitely mastered the art of packing people and stuff into a minimal amount of space!
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Ben, Alex, Chris, and Sam in the sub's control room located below the bridge. Scouts explored the forward torpedo room.  Fully loaded, the Silversides carried 24 torpedos.  It had 6 launch tubes in the forward and an aft torpedo room also.
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Scoutmaster Freeman confers with SPL Dave on the bridge. The U.S.S. Silversides was one of the most decorated subs in WW-II.  Its patrol area was the South Pacific near Japan, often venturing into Japanese waters.  It was the first double hulled submarine constructed by the U.S.   It was powered by 4 diesel engines when running on the surface and by electric motors powered by 255 lead-acid batteries when submerged.
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Lined up on deck in front of the main aft-facing gun (L to R) are Chris, James, Sam, Philip, Dave, Jonathan, Jeremy, Florencio, Tyler, Alex, and Ben. Scouts enjoyed climbing all over the sub's conning tower.   The rust all over the boat was actually painted on by a movie crew which finished shooting only a few days before our visit.  The sub will soon receive yet another new coat of paint to restore in to a darker gray color and cover up the "rust" left behind by Hollywood.

The visit to the Silversides turned out to be one of the boys' favorite activities and we'd highly recommend it to other troops. 

Troop 868 attended the Vesper Service conducted by the camp Chaplain on Wednesday night.  We were impressed that all program areas in camp shut down during Vespers.  In the words of the Camp Director, "We won't compete with God."

The closing campfire on Friday night began with a very impressive Tap Out ceremony for boys elected to membership in the Order of the Arrow.  The OA began at Owasippe and is still highly regarded there as a service organization.  Selected troops were invited to present skits or songs, a few counselors made special presentations, Scouters who assisted in program areas during the week were recognized and thanked with a special patch, then "goodie bags" containing merit badge cards and other certifications earned during the week were presented to the SPLs.  The campfire was relatively brief and focused on the campers rather than the staff.  A really neat closing (that is evidently an Owasippe tradition which we will not divulge here lest we spoil it for those who have not experienced it) ended the program in a very touching way.  After we had returned to our campsite, we were visited by several staff members who dropped by to thank us for coming to Owasippe and encouraged us to return again.

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The camp Chaplain conducted a non-denominational Vesper Service on Wednesday evening that was well attended. Troop 868 scouts Alex and Jamie chatted with Craft Village counselor Kyle who was reviewing a merit badge card that a scout submitted late.  SPL Dave stood behind.


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