Posts Tagged ‘Watchamagumee’

Camp Watchamagumee is one of the favorite camping spots for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. It is forty acres of private land located about ten miles north of Melrose. The troop began camping there in the late 1980’s and have planned an annual trip there every year since then.

I would guess it was maybe 15 years ago when I suggested a new activity to the Scouts for this weekend. It became so popular that it has now become an annual tradition. I had no idea the Egg Drop Competition would become so poplar. The Scouts really enjoy the challenge and trying to come up with a design to create the best package of the year.

The Egg Drop Competition is actually quite simple. Each Scout, or two person team if a lot of Scouts attended the outing, receives a raw egg. They have 15 minutes to create a package for that egg using only natural materials found in the wooded area around the camp. No man-made materials are allowed, not even string. The Boy Scouts become quite inventive as they use grass, bark, stick, logs, mud and moss to create their packages. A few packages over the years have even used dried cow patties. The packages must be easily opened so that the egg can be retrieved to see if it has survived.

The first round begins with the egg packages being dropped from waist high. If the egg survives it moves on to the next round in which the eggs are dropped from chest high. Each round gets higher which eliminates more eggs, of course. The drops continue until only one egg remains unbroken.

Some of the Scouts have gotten pretty good at this. There have been years I have stood near the top of an eight foot tall step ladder throwing the packages down unto a concrete patio block trying to break the egg. Of course, you can probably imagine the excitement when the competition get to that point, and the smile on the face of the Boy Scout when his egg survives the throw.

I was not able to attend this year’s Egg Drop Competition. Yes, i missed the egg drop. This may have been the first time. I heard that the nine Scouts had an excellent time again this year, including the four new Scouts who had just crossed over from Webelos a couple months earlier. The picture shows Luke, this year’s winner.

Melrose Scout Productions Podcast

Nearly every spring in the past twenty years the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 have spent a weekend at Camp Watchamagumee, usually in May. The camp is actually privately owned forty acres found north of Melrose. The land owners have allowed the troop to clear out campsites and create our own camp setting. The site currently has three patrol sites, an adult leader site, a scoutcraft open area, a treehouse, and a troop campfire area. We camp near a small pond. A short hike from the campsites is an open field in which the troop has played softball, volleyball, and disc golf. It quickly became one of the troop’s favorite camping sites.

A tradition has developed over the years, the annual Egg Drop Competition. Each Boy Scout, or team of Scouts, is given a raw egg. He must build a package for the egg usually only natural materials found around the camp. This package must protect the egg when it is dropped from various heights. The winner is the Scout who’s egg survives the highest drop without breaking. The boys must use their imagination to create a package that will not only withstand the actually drops, but also cushion the egg to keep it from becoming scrambled. I have seen a lot of various packages over the years using a wide variety of materials from bark, grasses, moss, mud, and sticks. This year one Scout even used a cow pattie.

This post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast features the video taken during the 2013 Egg Drop Competition. Six Boy Scouts were part of the contest. An added feature to the rules this year was that the package must fit inside a plastic wash basin. Some boys did very well. Other did not make it past the first round. Watch the video to see who winds and how his package was created.

Oh, and since the new Star Trek movie had hit the theaters the same weekend as the outing I decided to use a Star Trek theme at the start of the video to introduce the Boy Scouts and their packages. Let me know what you think of it.

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flint and steelCamp Watchamagumee was the place to be for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 during the weekend of May 17-19. The six Scouts, including four new members, and two adult leaders may have got a bit damp during the evening hours but they had a lot of fun during the day.

Friday night was a pretty laid back schedule. The troop left Melrose about 6:30 pm. The boys spent the evening setting up camp, reviewing fire safety rules, and enjoyed sitting around the campfire until the first drops of rain send them running for the safety of their tents.

The Scouts had a busy Saturday schedule. After breakfast they worked on their advancement and began building their primitive shelters that would would sleep in that night. It did not take long to discover that the boys did not bring along enough tarps and plastic sheets to build what they wished to build. After a lunch of baked beans and hot dogs roasted over an open fire the troop played a round of nine holes of disc golf.

Saturday afternoon was time for the annual Egg Drop Competition. Each of the Scouts received a raw egg. Their challenge was to create a package for their egg using other natural materials found around the campsite. These packages would than be dropped from higher and higher distances until only one egg remained. Daniel Klassen was this year’s Egg Drop Competition winner. He took home a Boy Scout campfire cooking grille as his prize.

The next event tested the Boy Scouts fire making skills. Each boy was to start a fire and keep it going long enough to burn through a string seven inches above the ground. Matches were not allowed for this contest. The Scouts needed to start their fires using flint and steel. A strong wind turned out to be the villain of this event. Even though the Scouts created hundreds of sparks, the wind blew out many of the flames the boys were hoping to use to start their fires. Alex Engelmeyer was the troop’s winner of this competition.

The boys finished the afternoon by finishing their primitive shelters, playing a couple of games, and making a great supper of fried potatoes and spaghetti and meat sauce. There was not much food left over. The boys had worked up quite an appetite.

A short chapel service was held at 7:30 that evening. This was followed with the boys moving their sleeping bags and pads into their primitive shelters for the night. As the Scouts gathered for the evening campfire they learned a troop song about Camp Watchamagumee, heard the story of the Purple Gorilla, and learned how to protect themselves from a wolfen attack.

Half of the Scouts discovered that their primitive shelters did not do a sufficient job of keeping them dry once the rain showers moved in overnight, but a couple did stay in their shelter for the entire night. Important lessons were learned which will be used the next time they build a shelter, which could be as soon as their June weekend outing.

Attending the Watchamagumee outing were Boy Scouts Alex, Daniel, Zack, Adrian, Sam, and Macoy. Adult leaders for the weekend were Scoutmaster Jim and assistant scoutmaster Eymard. Committee member Steve provided program assistance. The troop would also like to thank Melvin and Vern Klassen for allowing them to use their land for the outing.

More pictures of this outing can be found on the troop’s website. .

eggdrop2006Boy 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

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?