Another Big Summer for Ransburg Firecrafter

This summer at Ransburg Scout Reservation, 195 Scouts completed the rank of Firecrafter and over 700 completed the Woodsman or Camper ranks. Thousands of Scouts camped at Ransburg this summer, enjoying the summer program. As a result, the numbers of participants were high in the Firecrafter area. “We found it to be difficult to give that one-on-one attention each Scout deserves,” said Justin “Sox” Scott, the Firecrafter area’s director. In order to combat this issue, Scott introduced evening hours, outside of program time. “This allowed us to not only fix the one-on-one difficulties, but allow Scouts who have full merit badge schedules, to get their requirements done.”

With a more experienced staff this year, Scott also feels helping the Scouts has become much smoother. “Seeing a scout work hard all week and finally be able to pop their first spark, it’s like a moment frozen in time.” Matthew Long, the Firecrafter area’s Coordinator, agreed, “It was the best feeling when I helped my first Scout bring his spark to flame.” Scott believes it has been a successful summer overall, and hopes to have the Firecrafter program continue to grow.

Many of those who candidated for Firecrafter will be attending the Grand Ritual at Belzer on August 14-16.  Over 200 are expected in attendance to seal their membership and another 400 Firecrafters are expected to attend and support the new members.

*This post is a product of Journalism Merit Badge – where youth have written about events that have taken place in camp.

New changes at Camp K!

Camp Kikthawenund, or Adventure Camp, has taken on a new persona this summer after new programming changes. For the first time, Camp K has increased its range of Scouts by adding Wolves and Bears to the existing program during the month of July. As an eight year returning staff member, I would say that this new experience has been a positive one for camp. I have seen the program change year in and year out and I would say that this has been the best addition to the program. As a camp staff, we have given many Webelos, who have advanced into the Boy Scouting program, their first experiences in camping.  Now, we are offering the same experience to younger, more influenced minds with the Wolves and Bears. 
Talking to an adult leader during our first week with the younger Cub Scouts, I was informed that this is the first time many of his Wolves and Bears have ever been away from their family; let alone camping. When asking how they were doing with camp, I was told that our staff had kept them “engaged, active, and excited,” to be at camp. The leader mentioned that one Wolf said he wanted to stay all summer because this was the best summer he has had. At camp, we strive every day for those kinds of results and it always feels good when you hear that in person.
With adding a new age level, we have designed the program to fit the needs of those younger Scouts. At camp, Scouts move as tribes which are created with a few different packs. We have formed tribes with the younger Scouts and have formed separate tribes so that we could focus more on their program and give them a better hands-on-experience. Those tribes have also been assisted by four staff members that are focused on transitioning those Scouts to camp and helping them get around. I would say those staff members have really stepped up this month and have engaged the Scouts in activities. 
This summer is coming to a close soon and next summer’s planning has begun. Please send your Cub Scouts to camp next summer and the summers after that. These are some of the best experiences and moments of their Scouting career. Why not start them off in a program designed to get them ready for Boy Scouts? Have a good summer and we will see you again, soon!
Justin “Hands” Bauerle
2015 Assistant Aquatics Director

Scouts and Knives and Bears!


Scouts and knives and bears, oh my! While bear hunting was not part of the High Adventure experience Troop 253 (First Baptist Church, Anderson, IN) embarked on June 6-13, the boys enjoyed many of the natural features that distinguish the Great Smoky Mountains and surrounding areas – including bears and knives.

Arriving in the Smoky Mountains, the Scouts found several camping areas restricted and off-limits to visitors. As they set up camp, a ranger explained that the late Spring resulted in a longer hibernation period. The Scouts were arriving at the same time hungry bears were awakening and looking for both food and mates. That’s where lessons on bear-proofing really came into play. Troop 253’s campsite may have been one of the Scouts’ tidiest ever!


Before long, fresh bear tracks were spotted in the surrounding woods as several Scouts returned from an overnight backpacking trip. Did the site of tracks deter the Scouts? Hardly! The Scouts pressed on into nearby North Carolina for additional mountain trails and efforts to spot a bear over the next six days. While wild turkey, deer and an amazing spectrum of bugs were on full display, the bears remained elusive.

Smoky Mountains

Not all of the fun happened in the backwoods. A visit to the Smoky Mountain Knife Works in Pigeon Forge – billed as the world’s largest knife store, made many Scouts grateful they had earned their Totin’ Chips. The day of “forest leave” in Pigeon Forge resulted in numerous rounds of Putt Putt (Hillbilly Golf was a real crowd pleaser), go-kart racing and forays into an indoor ice skating rink which provided a break from temperatures in the mid 90’s. A notable exception to the good times was a visit to a “house of mirrors” where some boys found it’s best not to visit a venue of wavy, optical illusions after chowing down at a pizza buffet!

Hillbilly golf

Perhaps the biggest irony of the High Adventure experience was a bit of natural history that occurred just as the Scouts were returning home. Checking out Facebook on the six-hour drive back to Indiana, a Scout read a post that the first black bear in more than 144 years had been spotted . . . in Indiana

(This post was provided by Susan Miller, District Communications Chair in Sakima District).

Camp Belzer Offers Community Camp


Hello community kids!

This summer at Camp Belzer we have implemented a brand new program designed for youth from the Lawrence community. Camp Belzer is no longer exclusive to just Cub Scouts; as we now have several attending who have never experienced all that Scouting has to offer. Last week we had several non-Scouts attend camp for the first time ever! They all went home saying it was the best summer camp they had ever experienced.

It was a small group, but that does not mean we had any less fun. The boys and girls, ages 6-11, were able to spend far more time in activity areas. They also grew to appreciate the great wooded property we are so lucky to have in Central Indiana. Not only did they shoot over a hundred BBs, dozens of arrows at archery, and spend countless hours in the pool, they learned a great deal as well. We all spent over an hour at our new erosion table experimenting with different mitigation techniques to try and “save the city.” I forsee lots of little engineers in the making!


One day we spent walking through Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park. The kids walked nearly eight miles! No one complained, in fact it was one of the many highlights of their week at camp. When and if they join Scouts later on, they should be well prepared for hiking the hills at Ransburg Scout Reservation or even a trek to Philmont in the not so distant future.

Survivor’s Rupert Visits Ransburg Scout Reservation

On Wednesday, July 8, Rupert Boneham came to Ransburg Scout Reservation to talk about his experiences on Survivor. Over at the Firecrafter Area, he spoke with Justin “Sox” Scott and other Firecrafter staff members. Sox demonstrated how Firecrafter candidates create a matchless fire with a wooden bow, spindle, and floorboard to create fire by friction.Rupert 2

Sox_and_ Rupert_b

For most of the afternoon, Boneham talked about all of the experiences he had trying to make fire while on Survivor to an audience of Scouts, staff, and adult leaders. Before leaving, he thanked those at Ransburg Scout Reservation or the invitation. He also shared that the main difference between a week at camp compared to being on Survivor, was the food at Ransburg is much better.