Troop 868 in Action

CAMP BELZER (February 2008)

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For February, Troop 868 headed north up Interstate-65 to Camp Belzer.  This camp is owned by the Crossroads of America Council (Indianapolis area) and serves as home to that council's summer day camp program for Cub Scouts.  The facilities are used by troops for weekend camping during the "off season."

This was our first visit to Camp Belzer, so we had no idea what to expect.  We had advance reservations and had been assigned to the Pioneer cabin.  What we encountered was one of the nicest heated cabins we've ever seen on Boy Scout property.  The cabin featured a covered front porch, a nice-sized central room with a wood stove, and 3 sleeping wings that each had 4 bunk beds with mattresses to sleep 8 people.  The cabin had electricity and a gas furnace but no plumbing.  We never bothered to use the wood stove.

A field latrine was located about 100 yards away and an all-weather restroom with flush toilets was within comfortable walking distance.  We did all our cooking outdoors near a covered pavilion where the boys ate most of their meals.  (The wimpy adults chose to dine in the heated comfort of the cabin.)

Camp Belzer is actually quite small.  Once on the outskirts of town, the city has expanded all around it and it is now an "urban" camp.  Though small, the camp is exceptionally well laid out.  Everything is within easy walking distance, but trees, hills, a creek, and other natural barriers do an outstanding job of keeping campsites seem isolated.  The camp has a huge modern dining hall, an amphitheater that comfortably seats 2,000 people, and BB and archery ranges with covered shooting positions.  The ranger told us they typically host about 500 Cub Scout day campers each week during the summer and run the camp with a paid staff just like a Boy Scout resident camp.

The only trail is the service road that circles the perimeter of the camp property, but it goes for several miles and makes for a nice short hike.  There were a number of other troops and packs camping in different cabins and we met several of them.   The group camped nearest to us was a local troop based only a few miles away.  They had set up a tomahawk throwing range and invited our scouts to try in out.

The weather was sunny and mild on Friday night and Saturday, but a cold front blew in with strong winds just after dark Saturday night and the temperature dropped by almost 30 degrees in 2 hours.  The wake-up temperature on Sunday morning was 12 degrees, but we were toasty warm inside the well-insulated cabin.

We had a great weekend at Camp Belzer.  The facilities were clean and in excellent condition.  It's a great winter cabin camping destination less than a 3 hour drive from Louisville.

Pioneer Cabin at Camp Belzer. The pavilion where scouts cooked and ate their meals.
The dining hall at Camp Belzer is a massive two-story structure with a wrap-around deck and multiple meeting rooms inside..  Dylan enjoyed throwing tomahawks at a target set up by another troop camped near us.
Troop parent Mike DiEnno crawling through a plastic tunnel on the camp's obstacle course. Mr. DiEnno with Nick discussing some of the other "obstacles" on the course.
Falcon Patrol scouts Connor and Dylan used a small wood fire to start charcoal to grill chicken for Saturday night dinner. Webelos grandparent Larry Keith and Mike DiEnno sit down for Saturday night dinner in the adults' area of the cabin.
ASPL Tim directed an interpatrol knot and lashing competition in the main room of the cabin on Saturday afternoon. Tim checked a square lashing being done by Nick and Dylan.  Chris (at right) was an observed.
Gabe tied a timber hitch to start a lashing. On Sunday morning with the outside temperature a brisk 12 degrees, Mr. Keith bundled up before going outside.
Cobra Patrol members Tim, Chris, and Gabe enjoyed cooking french toast in 12 degree weather. Mike DiEnno and Scoutmaster Bob Meek sit down to enjoy a Sunday morning breakfast of sausage, toast, and omelets.
Connor read a scripture lesson from the Bible as the troop gathered inside the cabin for Sunday morning worship. Scoutmaster Meek delivered the devotional.
Connor, Nick, Gabe, Chris, and C.J. prepared to load equipment onto the bus in preparation for departure. Gabe, Connor, and C.J. on the deck outside the dining hall as we prepared to depart Camp Belzer.