Troop 868 in Action

SUMMER CAMP TRIP 2010

(July 3~July 18)

CAMP SAWMILL  (H. Roe Bartle S.R.)

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For summer camp 2010, our Patrol Leaders' Council selected the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation in Osceola, Missouri.  As is traditional, we tagged on a few days of sightseeing on both ends of the trip, resulting in an 18-day "road trip."

Bartle is a large reservation that houses 3 separate Boy Scout resident camps --- Camp Lone Star, Camp Piercing Arrow, and Camp Sawmill.  We understand the latter got its name because at one time an actual sawmill stood on the property and was used to cut harvested timber into lumber that was used to construct many of the early buildings.  Of course, the sawmill is long gone.

The entire reservation evidently fills to capacity every summer.  So, in order to serve the maximum number of scouts, the Heart of America Council operates what they call a "lottery" system to assign units to the various camps and campsites.  For an out-of-council unit attending for the first time, this meant we submitted a request for space and then waited until November before being told which camp and camping session could accommodate us.  There was very little choice involved on our end and we got assigned to session #4 at Camp Sawmill in July.  We normally like to attend summer camp during session #1 or #2, because we've found that camp staffs tend to be more enthusiastic early in the season and our scouts get higher quality instruction in their merit badge classes.  But this year we had little choice, so we took what we could get!

Thus, we departed Shepherdsville aboard troop bus #1 early on Saturday morning July 3.  Our travel on day 1 took us west to St. Louis where our first stop was a visit to the Mastodon State Park that afternoon.  We arrived less than an hour before the nature center closed, but the staff went out of their way to give us a great tour, even staying open a few minutes past normal closing time to do so.  They were truly wonderful and our first stop in Missouri certainly gave us a very positive first impression of the "show me" state.  In addition to the courtesy of the staff, Mastodon State Park was a neat place in and of itself with some great displays that our scouts really enjoyed.

We had arranged in advance to spend two nights  at Harvester Christian Church in nearby St. Charles.  After we left Mastodon State Park, we made a stop for dinner then headed to the church.  The church provided us sleeping space on the floor of several Sunday School rooms in their youth center.  The accommodations were clean and met our needs just fine.

The traditional pre-departure troop photo in front of the troop bus.  (Back row, L to R):  Scoutmaster Bob Meek, ASM Jeff Hagerman, Drew, Dylan, Chris, Nick, Jon, Dalton, Spencer, Tyler, and ASM Mike Canchola.  (Front row, L to R): Chase, Preston, Gabe #2, Gabe #1, Adam, D.J., Thomas, Toby, and Nicholas.
Scouts gathered around a picnic table at an interstate rest area along I-64 for a lunch that consisted of military MREs. Chris, Adam, Dalton, Dylan, and Nick.
One of the first exhibits at Mastodon State Park was a simulated archaeology dig where artifacts were buried in rubber pellets. Gabe, D.J., Preston, Toby, Nicholas, and Tyler all enjoyed digging through the pellets in search of animal bones.
The Visitor's Center at Mastodon State Park featured a number of interesting displays of artifacts discovered during various digs at the site, including a cast model of a mastodon skeleton.  In an adjoining theatre, the staff conducted a presentation about the scientific significance of the site and passed around some artifacts for the scouts to touch and examine more closely.
A very realistic "natural habitat" display dominated the main hall.  Some animals were obvious, but scouts had to look close to find snakes, turtles, butterflies, and other small critters. All of the displays at the park were very authentic and educational.  The scouts pointed out things they saw to each other as they looked at them.
Most of the boys particularly enjoyed looking at the large collection of arrow heads, fishing hooks, and spear heads that had been found at the site. The actual dig site was located behind the Visitor's Center.  On the was back from visiting it, the group paused on the steps for a group photo. 
This the Student Center building at Harvester Christian Church were we stayed for two nights on our way to camp.  We stopped again and stayed here for two more nights on our way home from camp two weeks later.
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