Camp Belzer: Week 2

It’s week two of Camp Belzer: Scouts of the Round Table. The new staff has gained further confidence in their program areas and they are performing their leadership duties with flying colors.

Here with me is one of those afore mentioned “new staff.” He works in Camp Belzer’s STEM area. This staff member requests to remain anonymous, thus I shall be referring to him as Elliott. Elliott’s first comment is—“it’s a little less rainy,” followed quickly by an explanation to one of Engineering’s (a section of STEM) newest program device: a pneumatic crane. This pneumatic crane is an eight-inch tall structure that uses air pressure to lift an arm up and down. This crane is one of the many exciting tools Camp Belzer has recently built and implemented into the new program.

Amongst other new and exciting developments happening here at Camp Belzer; we have somewhat gotten rid of the photography position. In the past, Camp Belzer had a photographer go around and take pictures of the packs and later compiling all the photos together on DVD. This year, the photographer position is no longer, instead it has been combined with another job—one which includes more administrative duties. This is where I, the writer of these blog posts, have come in. This new position happens to be my job; the official title is Administrative Office Assistant. The job definitely keeps me busy, but I enjoy the controlled chaos of rushing around camp.

Week two has been the biggest week in Camp Belzer history. I feel incredibly honored to be working on the 2016 staff, as all of these huge changes and increasing group sizes are taking place. Change is good, and the changes our camp has been making are definitely those of the good kind.

I’ll see you guys in week three!

-Belzer Beast

Ransburg Scout Reservation in Full Swing

Ransburg Scout Reservation recently celebrated 50 years of operation on Sunday, July 17. If you missed the special ceremony that took place, be sure to visit the council’s Flickr page.

Aside from the ceremony, Scouts have been having a great summer. Take a look at the first three weeks of camp with these videos created by Scouts who received their Moviemaking Merit Badge.

You can see the rest of the recap videos leading up to week six on Ransburg Scout Reservation‘s YouTube page.

Week 1:

 

Week 2:

 

Week 3:

T.A.C. at Adventure Camp

One of my most favorite areas in all of Adventure Camp is T.A.C., which means Think and Act Course. The main goal is to test your skills, to think creatively, to enhance physical strength and to have fun. In T.A.C. we have an obstacle course with tunnels, laser mazes, a spider’s web and the amazing gator pit. Once you have completed the obstacle course you can go test your thinking and climbing skills on the bouldering wall. There are seven walls to climb around and if you complete them all, then you enter the T.A.C. wall hall of fame and forever have your name signed on the wall. What is even better in T.A.C. is that you don’t have to wait in lines. You can repeat the obstacle course or the bouldering as many times as you like.

 

This past session, one memorable moment was one kid who kept falling into the gator pit. This kid fell in time after time, on purpose; just because he wanted to be covered in mud and he said it was the best area in camp. Another exciting thing happened in T.A.C. when kids completed the bouldering wall. We had five kids complete it this session, and two of them did it total of 10 times! It is amazing when kids can do that and to see the excitement from the other kids when they ring that bell is something that I can never forget. That is why T.A.C. is one of my most favorite and memorable areas for our third session of Adventure Camp.

Jeremy “Muffin” Proescel 

The Great Super Hero Extravaganza

One of the new things at Adventure Camp is the Great Super Hero Extravaganza. This is an open program time where the different packs and tribes get to choose the areas that they want to visit. They can choose between a variety of areas like T.A.C., BBs, Native American Dancing, Nature Hike, Swimming, and Boating.

One open program activity that was created this year that saw a lot of success and popularity was the Great Kikthawenund Water Slide. This is a 60 foot tube were the Scouts and Scouters can go down on a body board. Many Scouts that go down were initially hesitant, but soon made an attempt after encouragement from the Adventure Camp staff members and adult leaders. While the Cub Scouts were able to enjoy the water slide, the adult leaders were able to enjoy it as well. One adult leader was able to slide 40-feet down the hill, after exiting the water slide! Everyone enjoyed the slide during the Great Super Hero Extravaganza.

Bear Creek Day Camp

This year at Bear Creek Day Camp we saw some spectacular things happen. In the weeks and months leading up to Day Camp we saw a team of volunteers pour countless hours into putting on a great program for our Scouts. Our team worked tirelessly to get the word out that we were implementing a whole new program and how awesome it was going to be. We wanted to get packs that had never been to camp to come and those that had come before to come back. We implemented new programming like Cooking, STEM, Slingshots, Watersports and an all-new Webelos program. We provided fun extras like popsicles every day and our commissioners provided a “commissioners quest” every day. This is where they would hide little bears all around Bear Creek and whichever group found the most bears won boxes of Teddy Grahams.  We also provided camp staples like fishing, BB’s, Archery, and Scout Skills. Bear Creek Day Camp saw a 48% increase in numbers. This got our staff excited to know that we were going to be able to provide an awesome program for more Scouts. We knew that if we could get more Scouts to camp and give them a great experience that they would be more likely to remain in the program. On Friday evening we provided activities and closed the night with a campfire. Many families and Scouters attended the campfire and it was a great time of fellowship. We have already started thinking about next year and how we can make Bear Creek Day Camp even better than this year!

“Wayne truly enjoyed visiting Bear Creek for Boy Scout camp. He had the opportunity to hear about the land, all the great activities that the Scouts were able to do there, and even posed for pictures with many of the campers! As a stop on his Bison-tennial tour, he felt right at home with his new friends at Bear Creek!”

– Amber Willeford, President of United Way Whitewater Valley

 

“At the closing campfire, we had a flag retirement ceremony. Even after campers were dismissed, many still respectfully stayed, silently encircling the last embers of our national symbol.  Very moving.”

 -Melissa Sutton, Camp Commissioner

Summertime Thrills and Chills at Red River Gorge

Imagine a slow and steady ascent toward a towering summit . . . a look down into a plunging abyss . . .   then wanting to do it all over again!

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Summertime thrills and chills aren’t exclusively the domain of amusement park rides. Just ask the Boy Scouts of Sakima District’s Troop 253 who journeyed to the Muir Valley Nature Preserve in Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest June 2-4 for a climbing adventure. Recognized as one of the nation’s premier rock climbing destinations, the canyon system serves up “opportunities of scale” for climbers of all levels.

Practice for the excursion began a few months in advance, with volunteers from Troop 199 in the Crossroads Council’s Del Mi district sharing their expertise and experience with Troop 253. After sharing requirements to achieve the climbing merit badge which includes wearing the harness, tying the knots, understanding verbal signals and leaving no trace-it behind was time for a practice run at Climb Time on Indy’s north side.

After a successful practice run, finally it was time for the real adventure to begin. Climbing at Red River Gorge the boys had an opportunity to learn skills such as mantling, underclinging, pinching and jamming. They also practiced rapelling and belaying. The experience tested the Scouts’ upper body strength and also strengthened their teamwork skills.

The park’s spectacular rock formations, sandstone arches and towering precipices were just part of the adventure. Troop 253 also enjoyed hiking and staying on the lookout for wildlife in the park. Along the trails, an assistant scoutmaster saw three baby copperheads trying to slither under cover in advance of a rainstorm. And raccoons made their scuttling presence well known, reminding the campers yet again to “leave no trace.”

Of course, some of life’s best adventures happen on the highway of life, quite literally. When the van some of the Scouts were travelling in experienced a broken wheel axel en route to the park, the motto “Be Prepared” was put into action. Robert Baden-Powell described the motto as a scout’s responsibility to prepare himself by previously thinking out and practicing how to act in any accident or emergency, so that he is never taken by surprise. In this instance, “Be Prepared” came in the form of a AAA membership card!

The Scouts in Troop 253 are already eager to advance their rock climbing skills and take their climbing adventures to new heights!

Wildwood Camp 2016

13501808_1206341899410510_965816280225098507_nPlanning and preparation for the Wildwood Day Camp began weeks in advance and it showed in royal style! The camp was converted to a medieval realm worthy of King Arthur. It had a drawbridge and a courtyard with a magical sword trapped in a stone; which could only be removed by those who completed their training. The realm also featured a throne room where the king could make royal decrees, obstacle courses where Scouts trained to be knights, and a balloon jousting arena.

On the first day of camp Scouts were greeted by two castle guards who taught them about fun and safety. Meanwhile, Webelos acted as the color guard. They did an excellent job setting an example for the younger Scouts. From the start of the week, camp staff got into the medieval spirit and participated wholeheartedly – making the theme enjoyable for all.

At the science and nature station the Science Wizard had a pen of dragons and somehow managed to teach while Scouts partook in educational games. At the craft station Scouts made shields and horses (or dragons) for jousting as well as cardinal bird houses in honor of the Indiana’s Bicentennial. After they were assembled, Scouts immediately took their crafts out to play with them.

Sports activities for the week included a giant water slide, a bounce house, and catapults to protect the kingdom from dragons! Songs, skits, and games kept enthusiasm throughout the week and Scouts were eager to perform! At Scout skills there were survival lessons that any knight could use such as fire building, knots, and tripod making! Of course BB’s and archery are perennial favorites but even they got into the theme of the week with targets fit for a knight in training! Younger Scouts got in on the fun by making crowns, their own castle, and of course their own shields! Even the trading post was decorated!

Outside program presenters were excellent throughout the week with presentations that really engaged the crowd. An archery expert kept the youth and adults interested with the different types of bows and arrows and the care they each need. A falconer demonstrated the majesty of these birds of prey. The fire department went over safety prior to spraying 1,000 gallons of water on the campers. A Sheriff’s Deputy brought a trained police dog that loves performing in front of a crowd. And finally, a blacksmith demonstrated their tools of trade as well.

The last day of camp was a spectacular culmination of the week and Scouts used their skills to compete in such competitions as pitching a tent, making stretchers as well as performing their favorite song and skit. Finally the journey to knighthood was complete and the youth rejoiced at finally being able to remove the sword from the stone. Camp ended by a campfire that had a moving flag retirement followed by awards for the competitions.

Throughout camp Scouts had smiles and enthusiastic cheers and the staff were excellent as well. It was incredible to see this vision and hard work of the directors and their staff pay off. The den walkers were involved and engaging with the Scouts and staff and helped make this a camp of epic proportions! As our newly knighted Scouts were leaving on the last day they received their shield patch and an inflatable sword worthy of any knight! Long live the Kingdom of Wildwood!

-Fred Light