Arrowhead District Spring Camporee at Wolf Mountain Trip Report,
Troop 77 attended the Wolf Mountain Camporee. A camporee is a campout which two or more troops attend. This camporee was for all the troops in the Arrowhead District which is a part of the Capitol Area Council. Of the 23 troops in our district, 22 were at the camporee with a total of about 500 people. The camporee was held at Wolf Mountain Scout Ranch 5 miles north of Llano, Texas.
On Friday evening we arrived at the ranch and set up camp. Each troop was assigned a campsite. Some troops received a site with grass lawns and large oak trees but other troops--including ours--got a site with cactus plants, weeds, and mesquite trees. That night there was a "cracker barrel" that the camporee guide, senior patrol leader, and scoutmaster attended. A camporee guide is one scout from each troop who is a Life or Eagle scout and helps with the events. At the cracker barrel the camp directors explained the next day's events and we ate some nachos and sausage.
On Saturday morning after breakfast we had a flag ceremony and then the camp directors divided the scouts into new, temporary patrols to promote teamwork and meet new scouts. The patrol leaders for the new patrols were those that were already patrol leaders in their respective troops. In my own case, there was some confusion since I am a patrol leader, but for the camporee I was the acting SPL (senior patrol leader) and so my name was never called since I had temporarily changed positions. It took the camp directors over an hour to make the new patrols because they were not very organized, and by the time they were finished there were about 15 scouts whose names had not been called. So these remaining scouts were divided into patrols to participate in the events. Because I was the acting SPL I was chosen to be a patrol leader. The other members in my patrol were a Star scout and two brand new scouts who were on their first Boy Scout campout.
The events were set up to take place in three different areas. The first was a game of jeopardy with the questions related to scouting. Second was an "activity walk" with skills tests in first aid, compass reading, and knot tying. In the third area scouts tried to identify as many merit badges as they could in five minutes. My patrol started with Station 2. At the first aid stop we had to explain the five steps for heat exhaustion. At the compass stop we had to take bearings on where our patrol members were standing. For knot tying each member had to tie a knot based on his rank. I was to tie a two half hitch; the star scout had to tie a bowline, and the two new scouts each tied a square knot. When we finished at the second station and went to Station 3, we had to wait in line almost half an hour before our turn because there were so many scouts. Once we began we identified 39 merit badges in five minutes, which was one of the best scores among the scouts. At Station 1 we again had to wait about half an hour before it was our turn. Our score was 560 which was about average. When we finished all the morning activities we broke up our patrol and each guy went back to his own troop to eat lunch.
After lunch we had some play time before beginning the afternoon activity. Our afternoon activity was a cooking contest while the adults did the same activities we had done in the morning. Our recipe was for a cooked chicken and some vegetables. The adults were supposed to come back and cook a dessert. Samples of everything we cooked were judged by four "celebrity" judges (including an Austin TV news reporter and the Travis County Sheriff).The cooking took us a long time since we were using a dutch oven. But the tedium of cooking had its lively moments as well--one of the lids slipped while we were removing it from the pot and the coals fell onto the chicken, whereupon we washed the chicken off and stuck it back in the dutch oven! When the chickens were done we took samples up to the judges. The chickens and vegetables tasted surprisingly good and I thought we had a fair shot at winning the contest. The adults made a dump cake which tasted pretty good but wasnít quite as fancy as some of the other troops which even included such things as...ice cream (yum).
When it was about to turn dark we had a group campfire. The first thing they did was give out the awards. Categories included best set up campsite, most points by a patrol in the morning contests, best meal, best dessert, and best overall score. We didnít win any of the contests but we were glad we had tried our best. After the awards there were some skits presented by various troops which ranged from very funny to very clever to very dumb. Following the skits was an Order of the Arrow tapout in which the new OA members were announced. After the tapout we went back to our campsite and went to bed.
The next morning we ate pancakes for breakfast which were graciously provided by the adults. Following breakfast we broke camp and loaded our gear. At 10:00 a.m. we had a flag ceremony and then had a chapel service prepared by Troop 441. After chapel we left for home. Next year we hope that the camporee will be better organized and the activities more fun. I personally learned some things about leadership and getting along with others. I think everyone enjoyed the camporee and we hope to be back next year.