Troop 868 in Action
(Summer Camp -- June 16~July 1, 2012)

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A week at a different Boy Scout camp somewhere in the country is a long-standing and cherished Troop 868 tradition.  For 2012, the troop's boy leaders chose Camp Ockanickon (pronounced Ock-ah-knee-con) located in Pennsylvania about 2 hours north of Philadelphia.  The camp is owned and operated by the Bucks County Council and turned out to be an excellent selection by our Patrol Leaders' Council.  Camp Ockanickon is truly a well-run camp with a positive, enthusiastic, and helpful staff coupled with outstanding food served at every meal in the camp dining hall.  Of course, our week in residence at Camp Ockanickon was the last half of our summer camp trip --- the first part was a week of touring and sightseeing along the way to camp!  The "road trip" is just as much a part of the experience as the camp itself.

We took a record number of scouts to camp this year --- 24 boys and 5 scoutmasters.  The group departed Shepherdsville early on Saturday morning June 16 aboard Troop Bus #1.  The scouts had voted to take our older bus thinking the cloth seats would be more comfortable than the vinyl ones on our newer bus.  While this was probably true, our older bus doesn't climb steep hills very well and our travel over the Appalachian Mountains through West Virginia and Maryland was painfully slow.  In hindsight, most of the boys wished they had voted to take the other bus!  Oh, well ... life is all about learning from mistakes and making smarter decisions next time!

Our destination for our first day of travel was Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where we "camped" overnight in the basement at the Gettysburg United Methodist Church.  We worshipped with the congregation on Sunday morning then spent Sunday afternoon touring the Gettysburg National Military Park, starting with Seminary Ridge.

Back Row, L to R:  ASM Jeff Hagerman, Chase, SPL Spencer, Kraig, Drew, John, Tyler, Thomas, Dylan, Connor, ASM Martin Moore.  Middle Row, L to R:  ASM Adam Kmiec, Noah, Dylan, Shawn, Noah, Nicholas, Alex, Adrian, Preston, ASM Tom Jacobs, SM Bob Meek.  Front Row, kneeling L to R:  Andrew, Gavin, Toby, Brixton, Tristan, Cody, and Andrew.
Our first meal of the trip was lunch at a Taco Bell. At a rest stop along the interstate en route to Gettysburg, everyone had a change to stretch their legs and enjoy a scenic view of the Ohio River in the valley below.  Mr. Meek told the scouts that if anyone had changed their mind and wanted to go home, they could hike down to the river, find some logs to build a raft, then float downriver to Louisville.  No one left.
Standing, L to R:  ASM Jacobs, Adrian, Nicholas, Cody, Shawn, ASM Kmiec, Andrew, Toby, Brixton, Tristan, Preston, Andrew, Gavin, Dylan, Alex, ASM Hagerman.  Kneeling, L to R:  ASM Moore, Dylan, Noah, SPL Spencer, Kraig, Drew, Connor, Noah, John, Thomas, Tyler, and Chase.  (Photo by Scoutmaster Meek)
Good ol' Bus #1 made it over the mountains in West Virginia and Maryland, but it was slow going.  As a result, we arrived at our first destination, Gettysburg United Methodist Church, much later than we had expected.  Despite the fact it was after midnight, Pastor Jay Zimmerman was a gracious host and welcomed us warmly.  Scouts unloaded their gear in the church parking lot and quickly moved into our assigned sleeping quarters in the church social hall.  After a long day of bus travel, the air-conditioning felt great!
Since we got up early to pack up our gear and stow it back onto our bus so as not to interfere with morning activities at the church, we had time to go to brunch before heading back to the church for the worship service. Everyone really enjoyed the generous portions and reasonable prices at Perkins Restaurant in Gettysburg.  It was our first real sit-down meal of the trip.  Some boys had breakfast and some ordered lunch.
We returned and attended the Sunday morning worship service at Gettysburg United Methodist Church. After the worship service, scouts assembled in front of the church ready board the bus and head to the battlefield.
Posing next to a statue of Jennie Wade, the only resident of Gettysburg killed in the famous battle, are Noah, Spencer, Kraig, Brixton, Thomas, Preston, ASM Moore, and ASM Hagerman. No visit to any Civil War site would be complete without checking out the cannons!  OK, Spencer, Kraig is in position ... FIRE!
Scouts survey the gun placements and the terrain from the Union line along Seminary Ridge and begin to grasp the magnitude of the battlefield. Clearly visible (L to R) are Kraig, ASM Adam Kmiec, Noah, ASM Martin Moore, Tody, Drew, Preston, and SPL Spencer.

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