I would be willing to bet my ThermaRest sleeping pad that every troop has at least one critter story to tell. Maybe it was the chipmunk that sat by your feet waiting for you to throw him a crumb or two. Or the skunk who wondered through your campsite just as the boys returned to camp after an evening’s campfire program. Or the eight point buck that walked into the nearby clearing as your troop sat down to supper.
Boy Scout Troop 68 has several stories of their own from the last twenty-seven years. Here is one about the Boy Scouts learning a lesson a little too late.
The troop was spending the weekend at Camp Stearns which is located about an hour from Melrose. The Scouts and adults had had a great time during the day as we played disc golf and other activities. We even collected several dozen wood ticks as we went on a nature hike. Everyone was good and tired when it came time to turn in for the night.The boy’s whispers did not last long. It was soon as quiet as a cemetery in the campsite.
Quiet, that is, until about one or two o’clock in the morning when our campsite was invaded. I was one of two adults along on the outing. The other adult was a mother of one of the boys who was sleeping in a tent next to mine. We both woke up to sounds coming from the picnic table where our food box (tote) was placed. I was not too worried, but the mother was somewhat concerned. She was the first person to look outside her tent and discover the raccoons that were rummaging through our food box. It did not take long for her to inform me that we had a problem.
I got dressed, grabbed my flashlight, and crawled out of my tent. As I stood up I discovered two raccoons in our campsite, one raiding our kitchen and the other walking patrol around it. The boys had forgot to place the cover on the food box, and I did not catch it before I went to bed. Oh well. I guess we will have a little less food to eat this weekend.
I was about to scare off the raccoons when movement on the edge of the campsite caught my eye. It was a smaller animal, black in color, with a white stripe down it’s back. Off to the side I noticed the first skunk had brought a buddy of his to this party.
Okay, I thought to myself, I am outnumbered. Two raccoons and two skunks. I crawled back into my tent and prepared to go back to sleep. When the mother asked if I had scared off the critters I replied no, but that she was welcome to try. I did not want to take the chance of getting sprayed by one or two skunks.
The next morning we discovered our guests had eaten pretty well. The Boy Scouts took notice of this. It appeared that the lesson given by our little furry friends was a better lesson then the one the scoutmaster ever gave. And it continues to be a great story/lesson to give to the current Scouts of the troop.