Survivor is the theme this year at Kikthawenund Adventure Camp, and given the trials we’ve faced, our program director couldn’t have made a better choice. The goal of this new program is to focus on the development of our campers’ survival skills in a way that allows us to balance the new Cub Scout program with the old. In addition to the introduction of a three-mile hike that takes our guests on a new trail through some of the most gorgeous locations at our camp. We have also added several new areas where young Scouts can learn and practice relevant activities such as fire building, water filtration and emergency signaling. At first, everybody involved was, a bit nervous about these changes to our old routine. As staff week came to a close, however, we felt prepared for the weeks ahead, and remained optimistic that we would have a successful and fun summer. While this has thus far proven to be the case due to the ever-uncooperative force that is Hoosier weather, our campers’ survival skills aren’t the only ones that have been tested.
Although our first three sessions of the year were rainier than we would’ve liked, they were otherwise relatively manageable. Programs that could continue despite the bad weather did so, and the area directors of those that could not function in the rain instead engaged the Scouts in alternative activities. Swim-checks had to be juggled around in order to accommodate for unfortunately timed lightning storms. The trails were muddier than campers and staff would have preferred, but these obstacles were easy enough to overcome. We were confident that at the end of each session scouts were going home happy and adult leaders satisfied. Then came the heavy rains of session four.
Friday, June 19, started out much like the other damp, overcast mornings of that particular week. The night before had seen significant rainfall, and we knew we’d be spending that day encouraging campers to bring extra socks and shoes with them as they traveled around the wet camp all day. Then, just before flags, one of our area directors reported that a small stream that crosses the property had flooded the path leading to the side of camp where most of our program areas are located. Our commissioners and program director immediately set out to evaluate the situation. They determined that crossing the stream posed a significant safety risk for anyone attempting to do so. The campsites were safe, and the dining hall and parade field were reachable without getting in harm’s way. Our management team decided not to altogether cancel the last day of the session, although the possibility was discussed. This decision left our program director in a particularly difficult situation. He could not continue with program as planned, but he did not want to leave the campers to their own devices all day. He rushed to come up with a contingency plan, and ultimately developed a schedule of alternate activities to be held in the parade field and dining hall. Certainly, the temptation to give up was there, but our staff’s flexibility and dedication to providing a quality experience to our patrons helped us to not only endure these unfortunate circumstances, but to also make the best of what we had. Ultimately that eventful Friday morning was a successful, though unexpected experience.
Soon the rains calmed, and by lunch, the waters had subsided. We were able to resume our regular routine following the afternoon meal. For the remainder of the day, adult leaders would periodically pop in at the office and thank management for adapting to the inclement weather and providing a morning programming option that was both safe and fun. We returned our gratitude to these leaders for their willingness to stay positive as we wrestled with the problem, and in the end our campers were still able to have an enjoyable experience. The staff learned that we are prepared to handle the situations that we do not expect. We are ready, even for those circumstances that we haven’t dealt with yet, because at Camp Kikthawenund we are all survivors.
–Josh “Cerebro” Day, Assistant Camp Director