Every year since 1982 I have attended a long term camp with the Boy Scouts of Troop 68, Melrose. Most of these have been week-long summer camps, but they also included five treks at Philmont Scout Ranch, one trip to the High Knoll Trail of West Virginia, one trip to the Northern Tier High Adventure Base, and a trip to the 2001 National Jamboree in Virginia.
The troop has attended three summer camps during the last three decades. We have been to Tomahawk Scout Reservation in Wisconsin twice. Crow Wing Scout Reservation in Minnesota was a favorite of the troop for five years. Many Point Scout Camp became our home in the early 1990′s. We have been attending camp at MPSC now for 23 years. The boys really seem to enjoy themselves there.
Five Boy Scouts of Troop 68, along with Eymard, the assistant scoutmaster, and myself, attended camp this year. Once again, we stayed in the Buckskin subcamp of MPSC. This was the fifth year we stayed at the Seton campsite, which is a small site located on the top of a small hill. The site is in the middle of Buckskin, near the lodge, trading post, and shower house.
Troop 68 was one of the first troops to arrive at MPSC on Sunday, July 11th. I think we may have been the first troop in Buckskin for the week. Four of the five boys had already attended camp in the previous years so they knew the routine. They set up their tents, moved in their gear, changed clothes, and headed to the beach front for their swim checks. Eymard and I set up the screen porch and dining fly after they left.
The troop had supper in the camp’s dining hall but the senior patrol leader and his assistant had supper at the lodge with the other SPL’s and ASPL’s in camp. It would be the first of a few meetings they would have during the week with the staff.
After supper, the troops participated in a tour of the camp which took the boys to each of the program areas. It was during this tour that the boys discovered were their merit badge classes would be held. All five of the Troop 68 Scouts would be working on the Weather merit badge. Three would be working on archery (a two hour course), and the other two would work on Lifesaving (also a two hour course). The boys would be busy all morning with classes. Troop activities would fill our afternoons. Open program areas would keep the boys busy in the evenings.
Sunday evening ended with the staff’s opening campfire program. The program was great. It was very entertaining while introducing us to this year’s staff. It was a fantastic start to the week. (Check out the Melrose Scout Production Podcast for videos from the campfire.)
As we walked back to our campsite the boys declared that they would be going straight to bed. They were tired. I was quite surprised. Usually, the boys want to stay up a bit later the first night at camp. It was one of the few times I was in bed at summer camp before 10:30. As I laid there on my cot I thought to myself, “It is good to be back again. Almost like coming home.” As the MPSC rouser states, “Many Point Scout Camp, that’s the place to be.”
I slept well that first night.