Troop 868 in Action
(Thursday~Sunday, October 18~20, 2013)

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Camp Michaels is a small Boy Scout camp located in Union, Kentucky near Cincinnati.  It is owned and operated by the Dan Beard Council, BSA.  The camp is used primarily for weekend troop camping, adult leader training courses, and NYLT.  The camp features a great orienteering course and a 5-mile "Blue Trail" for new scouts.  It has one cabin, three open-air covered shelters, a chapel, a campfire pavilion, and a half-dozen field latrines.  Half the camp is located on the opposite side of Powderhorn Creek from the main camp.  That part of the camp is used by troops to do "backcountry" wilderness camping.

This was Troop 868's third visit to Camp Michaels.  Our first visit was in February 2009 when we experienced freezing temperatures, sleet, and snow.  Our second visit was in November 2012 when we got rained on for most of the weekend.  We were really looking forward to this visit in hopes of having a nice fall weekend and accomplishing lots of scout advancement.  Alas, it was not to be. 

We arrived at camp around 9:30 PM on Friday night.  It was well after sunset but there was a full moon.  It was so bright we didn't need flashlights or lanterns to set up camp.  Several other troops had already arrived and taken the prime camping areas, leaving for us the center of a large field that was still soggy from rain earlier in the week.  Nevertheless, we managed to get setup, get fires started, and get dinner cooked.

Saturday morning dawned with an overcast sky and a light rain began to fall around 8 AM as most of our patrols were still cooking breakfast.  Rain fell until about 3 PM that afternoon.  Rain, of course, is created when a cold front pushes up against warmer air, so with the rain came falling temperatures.  Instead of the 50-degree weather we had expected, we got 40-degree weather with an overnight low near freezing on Saturday night.  While no one in our group froze, many were uncomfortably cool and were wishing they had brought heavier jackets.  Several had wet feet.

Rain has a way of crushing advancement activities.  It's just not much fun to build pioneering projects or do tree identification in the rain, so we didn't achieve our advancement goals for the weekend.  Also because of the rain and a desire to protect our digital cameras, no one took any photographs.

Fortunately, we did see the sun on Sunday morning and things warmed up by mid-day so that our tents dried out and we didn't have to come home with wet canvas.  We held a morning worship service with Assistant Scoutmaster Jeff Hagerman delivering the morning message.

Despite the challenges and the disappointing amount of advancement, most of the scouts had a good time and everyone worked well together.  The scoutmasters witnessed a lot of positive teamwork throughout the weekend, and that's always a good thing.  Scouts managed to get fires started despite having to use wet wood and managed to get their meals cooked.  Most of the boys managed to sleep dry despite the wet ground.  In those respects, it was a good weekend.