Boy Scout Troop 68, the troop I have been with for over 25 years, has a camp site on some private land about 10 miles north of town that we go to every spring, usually in May, many times over the Memorial Day Weekend. We call it Camp Watchamagumee. It is a camp site that the troop members have made over the years with the permission of the owners of the land. Every year the boys pour a little more sweat into the site to make it a little better then the year before. There is no running water, no plumbing facilities, no electricity, and none of the comforts of home.
It is the boys’ favorite place to go camping.
It is a site where the boys can go and just be boys, just be Scouts. We need to bring everything in with us, including water, but no one seems to mind. The view over the beaver pond is beautiful, and there are plenty of trees and brush to help cut down on the stronger winds that could be a nuisance. (You can see pictures of it on our website at www.melrosetroop68.org.)
Some day I may have to write about how this campsite was developed, but not today. Today I write about what has become a grand tradition at Camp Watchamagumee – The Great Egg Drop Competition!
The egg drop competition began many years ago as an activity for Saturday afternoon. The boys form two or three member teams. Each team is given one raw egg, although there was once or twice when we gave them two eggs. No hard boiled eggs are allowed. Each team must “package” the egg using only materials found in nature around the camping area of Watchamagumee. No man-made materials are allowed. The packages must be made so the egg can be easily removed for inspection after each drop.
At the end of the “packaging” period, the boys bring their packaged eggs to the drop zone. Then the dropping begins. The first round of dropping begins at waist level. After the drop, each team must open the package and display the egg. If the egg survived the drop the team proceeds to the next round. Teams are not allowed to add to the packaging, or modify the package, once the competition has begun. The next drop is from shoulder high, and each round of dropping gets higher until finally one team emerges as victorious.
It has been very interesting to see how the teams package their eggs over the years. They will use leaves, sticks, birch bark, long grasses, and mud. They can be quite ingenious. Some packages look like they would win the competition, only to loose in the second round. Others look like they could not possibly make it through the first round, only to make it all the way to the final rounds.
And boy, do they make them strong! There have been times when I stood on the floor of a lashed tower, ten feet above ground, throwing the packages onto a jagged tree stump below me, trying my best to break those eggs. Being a scoutmaster can be so rough at times.
The best part is that we never know who will win. Sometimes the oldest, most experienced Scouts will take the prize. But then, the next year, the newest and youngest Scouts who have never competed before will take home the title.
It will be interesting to see who wins this weekend. Hmmmm…the signal tower is down. Anyone know where I can borrow a twelve foot step ladder?