I'm Back

tomahawk1But not by choice... More on that later.

Tomahawk 2008 (at least for the two days I was there) was a complete success! We left Saturday morning, and (as with most scout activities) we left a "bit late"... Hey.. Just try and organize a group of eighteen "tweenaged" boys amped up on sugar, and the excitement to start a week-long camping adventure...

It was not all that bad actually - we left just over 30 minutes late...

After a three and a half hour drive (with one "sugar / bathroom stop" and a lunch at Perkins), we arrived at Tomahawk Scout Reservation. We ended up waiting in a line of cars to be checked in.

tomahawk6Upon arrival, the kids were all anxious to get to the campsite and set up base-camp. The leaders loaded everything they could in, on, and around the trailer, and off we went.

Roughly a quarter mile down from the lot, we arrived at our assigned campsite - Oak. It was the same campsite we were at last year. The "2nd year" and older kids settled in easily.

I grabbed a tent that I thought was unoccupied (later to find out that a scout had laid claim to that one just prior to my arrival, but had not stayed with the tent). I went to find another tent, and quickly discovered that I had the last available tent!

I got to work helping the "first year" boys setting up their cots, mosquito netting, etc (#3 of 5 included). It went pretty easy - the first year scouts this year are a pretty good group of boys!


About the time I finished helping all the "1st years", I went back to set up my tent, and ran into another chaperone who drove up on her own. Yup... "HER own"..

She was not the only mom up there, and I have NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER with moms up there. But when this mom arrived - it meant that one of the male chaperones would have to give up their tent and bunk together so that she could have a private tent... (The other mom up there was part of a Mother/Father team...) So, being the gentleman that I am - I offered her my tent, and moved in with the Scoutmaster (who, by the way, is a great guy - but snores!)

So, after a little shuffling, and setting up my bunk, we got to setting up the campsite. Tomahawk is in "bear country", and so anything that is considered "smellable" (snacks, toothpaste, cool-aid packets, bug spray, cameras, film, batteries, etc) needs to be placed in something known as a "BEAR BOX". (see photo to your left) Each of the kids put their "smellables" in a plastic container, and all the containers go into a large metal box in the middle of the campsite.

No, it is not a refrigerator. It's actually an old MnDot electrical control box. It is very sturdy, and has a locking handle - just right to keep the bears out!

Frankly, I am not sure why all these little rugrats scouts are not kept in the Bear box... After just a couple of days with them I would place them in the "Smellable" category!

After setting up camp, and a health check-in with the staff, the 2nd year and older kids were given free time, while the "1st year" scouts along with any parents who had never been to camp before, were given a tour of camp.


Last year the "scout built playground" called "Scoutcraft" (ropes, boards, swinging ropes, tires, nets, etc...) was aptly nick-named "slip-n-bleed" after one of our scouts sprained his wrist, and a scout from another troop broke BOTH of his arms while playing amongst it's tempting snarls...

After #3 of 5 and I returned from the tour, we arrived back at the campsite. True to form, #2 of 5 came running up to me, proudly shouting (so that he could be heard across the lake) that Scoutcraft is going to again be called "Slip-n-bleed" as he was the first kid this year with an injury, and it happened at Scoutcraft. He proudly showed off his bandaged shin, and described how he fell and took major amounts of skin off the front of his leg.

That night, the temperature got pretty cold.. Cold enough that my uber-cold-rated sleeping bag, and my "built in insulation" did not keep me warm-enough. I was FREEZING... We later found out from another troop (that had a thermometer with them), that it dropped to 47 degrees overnight... By breakfast, it had risen to a whopping 54 degrees!! Perfect for shorts and a tee-shirt (thanks to my bad planning - and a missplaced faith that in August the air temps would not drop below the 60's....)

Remember folks... The scouting motto: Be Prepared.

We had breakfast, and the kids went right into the merit badge classes...

#2 of 5 has Climbing, First-aid, Nature Science, and _______________.

#3 of 5 has BrownSea, Woodworking, and Leathercraft.

Since I had spent four days with #2 of 5 last year, and I was going to be limited to only two days this year (is my resentment showing through yet?) I spent the whole day shadowing #3 of 5 in his classes (the same classes that #2 of 5 took last year).

tomahawk7After classes, #3 of 5 spent quite a while at the Slip-n-bleed (see above photos) - I am glad to report that he was able to escape without injuries!

On our way back to camp, #3 of 5 noticed that the "t\Trading Post" was open, and took a couple of minutes for a "sugary recharge" (Blue Raspberry Laffy-Taffy - blech!)

Just as we exited the trading post, we ran into several kids from our troop headed to a "troop event" at the rifle range...

Talk about keeping these guys busy!

We joined in, and spent the next hour acclimating the boys to the art of shooting a .22 caliber rifle! #2 of 5 had a blast doing this last year (and again this year), and #3 of 5 was eagerly anticipating it.

Overall, for being the first time he shot a .22 - he did not do too bad. His first round, only 3 of the 10 shots hit the paper target.

The target from his second round had all 10 shots on it, and in a significantly smaller pattern that the 3 shots from the first round!

tomahawk8Looks like it may be time for some Dad /#3 of 5 squirrel hunting!

(Hey... Don't knock it unless you have tried it... Squirrel is pretty good!)

After a hard afternoon at the rifle range, almost all the scouts headed down to the beach for a little "cooling off"... It was just what the doctor ordered... Since getting them in the showers is as difficult as an "act of congress", the next best thing is tricking them into getting them swimming.

The beach closed in time to get everyone back to camp, cleaned, dressed, and into their "Class A's" so we could head up to the dining shelter.

Before eating, the scouts perform a flag lowering ceremony (VERY official) and "grace" before the STAMPEED to the dining hall.

This point, is where I started getting all nostalgic, and frustrated. I had to be home in time to get some sleep, because in the middle of my days off (not vacation mind you.. my DAYS OFF) my empl0yer canceled one of my days off, and required me to be at work for a training session for an upcoming assignment...

tomahawk5After dinner, as we walked back to the campsite, I had an opportunity to visit a little bit with my boys. I told them how proud I was of the way they were behaving, and how they are becoming a shining example of what a good Scout, and what a good man was all about.

I was feeling pretty bad about having to leave.... probably worse than they felt... after all, they were going to be kept busy all week! They would hardly miss me at all...

Just before we arrived at camp, we stopped at the troop trailer for a quick photo... It turned out pretty good - I get a bit misty eyed when I look at at, thinking that I should still be up there with them... My boys are growing up so too fast.

I said my goodbye's to everyone as they prepared to head out for the opening ceremony and bonfire. I watched as they all left for the the bonfire together, leaving me alone at the campsite.

I packed up my belonging, and started off on one of the loneliest hikes I have ever made.

That walk back to my car was the longest, and most depressing walks I have had in a long time. I have never resented my employer (no one person specifically, just my "employer" in general) more than I did for that walk, and as I drove out of the campgrounds two days before I should have had to.

On the way home, I was stuck in stopped (not just slowed, but stopped) in traffic just as I was going to cross back over into Minnesota. It seems a tanker truck carrying Hazardous Materials rolled over about 30 minutes before I got to the bridge. I sat in traffic for over 45 minutes - and at many times in the jam - cars were all shut off, and people got out of their cars to wait. (Thank goodness for XM Radio and the replay of the Ron & Fez show!! Thanks Buddays, you are the greatest!)

I had intended to arrive home around 10pm. By the time I left (late) I would have arrived home between 10:30 and 10:45. With the accident, I did not arrive home until after midnight... Then also had to be up at 5am for a mandatory time-with-my-boys-at-scout-camp-killing training session. (Is my bitterness coming through YET?)

Overall, the two days were great (albeit a little cold during the night), and for the time I was there, a great time was had by all!

Thanks for putting up with such a long post!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to make you jealous. I am just now starting to force myself out of a job-dissatisfaction funk. And posts like this remind me that I do not have it too bad, even if little kids smell like wet dogs.


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