Troop 868 in Action

Summer Camp at Owasippe Scout Reservation (July, 2001)

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After two summers at our local council's resident camp, our PLC decided they'd like to take a road trip and see what other camps had to offer.  An Internet search yielded a list of about 20 camps located within a day's drive of Shepherdsville.  This list was whittled down to a "short list" of 5 camps based on camp facilities and program offerings.   Following further investigation of the camps on their short list, the PLC eventually selected Camp Wolverine, one of several section camps located on the 5,000 acre Owasippe Scout Reservation operated by the Chicago Area Council, BSA.  Owasippe (pronounced Ahh-wah-sah-pee) was founded in 1911 and is recognized as being the oldest Boy Scout Camp in the United States.  Now having been there, we can understand why!   Our camping experience was nothing less than GREAT.  The staff were predominantly adults or college students.  Most had been Owasippe staffers for several years.  These folks were not greenhorns!  They were uniformly qualified in their respective program areas and bent over backwards to teach and encourage the campers.  Their positive attitude and unbelieveable flexibility yielded a resident camp experience that our scouts will long remember.

Though our stay at Camp Wolverine ran Sunday~Saturday, our trip began on Friday morning (June 29) with a day-long drive up I-65 from Shepherdsville north through Indiana and eventually into Chicago.

Posing for a picture before boarding the troop bus and hitting the road are (L to R front row) Philip, Tyler, Jonathan, Ben, and Jeremy;  (L to R back row) Scoutmaster Mark Freeman, Florencio, Dave, Sam, Chris, Alex, James, Father Jerry Bell, and Assistant Scoutmaster Bob Meek.  Father Bell didn't make the trip, but came to see the troop off and wish us a safe journey. ReadyToGo.gif (48916 bytes)

In Chicago, we were hosted by scouters Don Oomens and Kathy Ott from BSA Troop 935 sponsored by St. Bartholomew.  The parish provided us with terrific carpeted and air-conditioned quarters complete with a small kitchen.  On Saturday, Mrs. Ott escorted us into downtown Chicago and served as our tour guide the entire day.  It was a true blessing to have a local resident who know the city and the various public transportation systems.  We rode into downtown on a commuter train and took a combination of the subway and a bus to get back to St. Bart.   After visiting the top of the Sears Tower, we spent a couple of hours wandering through the annual Taste of Chicago  street festival which was being held that weekend.  We then strolled down Lake Shore Drive to Navy Pier to fill the rest of the afternoon.

At the Taste of Chicago   we encountered a contingent of older scouts from Troop 333 (Akron, OH) who were en route to a high-adventure backpacking trip in Colorado.  They were riding Amtrak and had several hours to occupy during a layover in Chicago.  They were a fully uniformed, sharp looking group which included guys who looked to all be at least 16.   Several were Eagle Scouts.  We chatted with them for about 30 minutes.   It was great for our guys, being a younger troop, to see older scouts still active in their troop and obviously proud to be scouts. 

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St. Bartholomew Parish hosted us for two nights in Chicago.
Our assigned quarters at St. Bartholomew.  Nice, huh?
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Group photo (taken by Mrs. Ott) on the observation deck of the Sears Tower, the tallest building in the United States and second tallest in the world. On the dock along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago en route to Navy Pier.  L to R (front row):  Ben, Tyler, Philip, Chris, Jeremy, and Jonathan; (behind):  James, Mr. Freeman, Sam, Alex, Dave, Florencio, and Mr. Meek.

After attending 7:30 AM Mass at St. Bartholomew on Sunday morning, Troop 868 left Chicago and headed for Owasippe and Camp Wolverine.  Upon arrival, we were immediately impressed by the reservation's administrative complex --- a series of large, modern buildings which housed a Health Lodge, Administration Building, Trading Post, Central Commissary and Kitchen, and a Scouting Museum.  Brightly colored flags lined the driveway and wooden signs displayed the Scout Oath and Law.

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Main check-in was quick and efficient, even for out-of-council first time Owasippe campers like us!  We were soon on our way to Camp Wolverine where we were greeted by an assigned staff guide who escorted us the rest of the way through check-in then on to our home for the week, Campsite #3.

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Our guide, Adam, ushered us through the customary medical re-check and swim tests.  He explained basic camp procedures, described which trails led to the various program areas, and joined us for our first meal in camp.  Camp Wolverine does not have a mess hall.  Instead, meals are prepared in the central kitchen then delivered to each campsite 10~15 minutes before scheduled mealtimes in coolers and special hot packs.  Without exception, our food arrived on time and warm.  The camp had recently changed food service contractors and portion sizes were on the small side the first couple of days; but this was corrected by Wednesday and no one left the table hungry except by choice.  A special covered stand at the entrance to each campsite kept food containers off the ground and protected from rain.   Having meals in the campsite allowed us to eat together as a unit "family style" without the noise, distraction, or long waits in line typically associated with scout dining halls.  We were initially skeptical about this method of food service, but Owasippe has made us believers!

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Chris takes are rest break using the food service platform
as a bench.
Scoutmaster Freeman at the breakfast table.  He's much more agreeable after that first cup of coffee!


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