Troop 868 in Action

Summer Camp at Skymont Scout Reservation (July, 2002)

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For summer resident camping in 2002, Troop 868's Patrol Leaders' Council selected Skymont Scout Reservation.  Skymont is operated by the Cherokee Area Council, BSA and is located off Tennessee Highway 108 between the small towns of Viola and Altamont.  The nearest major city is Chattanooga.

Ready to depart for camp!  (Front row, L to R)  Ben, Chris, Jon, Philip, Patrick, Tyler, Stephen, and Tim.
(Back row, L to R)  Mr. Meek, Alex, Aaron, Paul, Dave, James, and Mr. Guzman.

Though our stay at Skymont ran Sunday~Saturday, our trip began on the Friday morning before camp with a drive south down I-65 to Nashville and a stop for lunch in Centennial Park.  Then we drove east on I-24 to Raccoon Mountain (near Chattanooga).  We camped Friday night at Raccoon Mountain and our scouts had an opportunity to pan for gemstones and take a cave tour by lantern.  Raccoon Mountain's staff geologist worked with several of our guys and they were able to complete most of the requirements for Geology Merit Badge before we even got to camp!

The group poses on the steps of The Parthenon in Centennial Park (in downtown Nashville, TN) (L to R) Philip, Paul, Aaron, and James pan for gemstones at Raccoon Mountain.
After the panning was completed, several scouts sat down to talk with Raccoon Mountain's staff geologist and completed several requirements for Geology Merit Badge. In front of the Tennessee Aquarium are (front, L to R) Tim, Stephen, Shane, James, Jonathan, Ben, (back row, L to R) Aaron, Paul, Tyler, Dave, Philip, Patrick, Chris, and Alex.

Shortly after we turned in for the night, it began thunderstorming and continued to rain most of the night.  Surprisingly, no one got wet overnight.  Saturday morning was cloudy but dry.  We broke camp and stopped to tour a hydro-electric pump station and power plant operated by TVA en route to Chattanooga to visit Rock City.  On Saturday afternoon we toured the Tennessee Aquarium and ended the day with an IMAX film about the construction of the International Space Station.  We arrived at Skymont and located our campsite for the week around 9:30 PM.  Minutes after we arrived, we were again pounded with drenching rain!  But being scouts, we managed to quickly erect three dining flies to shield ourselves and then started a fire and cooked dinner!

Sunday morning was clear and sunny.  We prepared a hearty breakfast then headed out in search of a local church to attend worship -- ending up at Viola United Methodist Church in nearby Viola, TN.  Afterward, we drove to McMinville, TN to pick up some forgotten items at the local Wal*Mart and had lunch at KFC before heading back to check-in at Skymont.

Skymont aquatics staff (carrying reach poles) escort campers out onto the dock to administer the BSA standard swimming ability test during camp check-in on Sunday.  100% of Troop 868's scouts qualified as "swimmers."

Skymont turned out to be a fairly traditional Boy Scout camp, but with an above average program.  The camp advertised itself as offering something for EVERY scout --- from the Polaris program for first year campers to a variety of challenging "high adventure" activities for older scouts or those just not interested in earning merit badges.  And Skymont lived up to that claim.

Merit badge classes were structured so scouts could conclude all work by Thursday evening.  Program areas were open on Friday morning only for "make up" work.  Friday afternoon was devoted to various competitions kicked off by a "Camp Staff versus Scoutmasters" volleyball game.  All merit badge work ended at noon on Friday.

Days at camp began with morning assembly and raising of the colors followed by breakfast.  Afternoon assembly and lowering of the colors followed dinner.  Opening and closing campfires were held on Sunday and Friday nights, respectively.  All meals were prepared by dining hall staff except Wednesday's dinner which each troop prepared in their own campsite.

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