10.20.2019

Cub Scouts Campout - Fall 2019

Pack 1484 had their Fall campout this weekend at Lake Fairfax in Reston, Virginia.  Jonathan is a Webelos scout this year, which apparently stands for We'll be loyal scouts.  We were excited about the opportunity despite the known rain in the early morning hours.  We modified our camp setup a bit and borrowed a large tarp to help manage the rain.

Mike (Den Leader) asked me to lead the 3-mile hike requirement so I came prepared to walk the kids through that.  More info below.


After setting up camp, we prepared for our hike by make sure we had our six hiking essentials (first aid kit, water bottle, sun protection (hats), whistle, trail food, flashlight).  I printed a map of the park and had it on a clipboard.  Each of our 5 scouts took a turn leading the hike and tracking our progress.  They carried a compass and every so often we'd stop to check our progress in relation to the map.  They'd mark off major landmarks such as passing the end of the lake, crossing a bridge, or crossing another path.  This helped ensure we knew where we were on the map and what to expect as we moved forward.

We had a reference sheet that included pictures of poisonous plants, snakes and spiders.  In the pic below, the two boys in front were looking at the bushes to the left and checking the reference sheet to see if they found poison sumac (they did not). 


Cooper, Michael, Jonathan and Christian.

The boys spotted two small turtles during the hike, not much other wildlife to see besides a few squirrels.

They found bamboo near the campsite and they were carrying it around all day.


Below is the map we used with check marks at key locations to track our progress.  The green marker was our proposed path.

The boys found a small creek behind our campsite and they spent some time exploring it.  We were surprised to see small fish swimming around.

Scouts.....do your best and be prepared!   Christian, Jonathan, Cooper, Matthew, and Michael.

Mike was the fire marshal so he and Chris made a good, big fire to ensure we had a hot pile of coals to cook our meal on.

We don't have a picture of us preparing the meals but the boys put their own food in their foil packet and placed them on the coals.  Food included hamburger patties, onions, chopped peppers, carrots and green beans.  Jonathan put a bit of everything in and ate the whole thing.  This is very similar to the sheppards pie dad and I made during our camping trip when I was young.

After dinner, the boys met at the Pack campfire to perform skits, tell jokes and listen to a few spooky stories.  I was a bit surprised one of the stories was about Bloody Mary considering we're dealing with 1st - 5th graders...in the woods...at night.

After the Pack campfire, they came back to our campsite and we spent more time around the fire.  Seemed like a great time to let the kids start their own small fires using a magnesium rod and striker.  We collected all required material and I stepped them through how to prepare it, start it, and feed it.  Other than the cotton balls I brought to help catch the spark, everything else we used was from the ground around us.

Jonathan was very pleased with his fire, which he built up nicely.  It ended up being bigger than our main fire, which we were letting die down for the evening.



I was very happy I borrowed my friend's large tarp to help keep us dry in the morning hours.  I secured the rear part of the tarp with cord from the trees and moved the unused picnic table to tie off the front.  It worked perfectly and did an excellent job of keeping us dry and making for a much easier clean up in the morning. Packing up a wet tent with wet gear inside is one of the worst things to have to do!


We had a "back porch" where there was plenty of room to sit around and hang out.  This is where we spent most of our morning.  It started raining around 4:45am and continued until we left around 10am.

Starting to prepare breakfast.

MREs for both families (it was just us and the Wells at this point, everyone was gone due to rain).  We had the breakfast skillet, which includes scrambled eggs, hash browns, crumbled pork patty, peppers and onions.  I used the propane stove to boil the water, which you pour into the foil bag and allow to cook for 8-9 minutes.  It was tasty and warm.


We enjoyed a nice, warm cup of hot chocolate after breakfast. The perfect way to end an enjoyable camping trip!


10.13.2019

Cub Scouts - Webelos-O-Ree Camp

On Saturday, Jonathan and I attended the Webelos-o-ree event at Camp Snyder in Haymarket, Virginia.  Webelos-o-ree is a day camp with an optional overnight campout for Webelos Scouts to see and experience the fun of a Boy Scout outing.  It's basically a recruiting opportunity for Boy Scout Troops where they put on a host of activities for the Cub Scouts to participate in.  It was our first time attending so we weren't sure what to expect but a great time was had by all.  The boys had plenty of hands-on learning opportunities and seemed to enjoy all the new experiences.  It was a long day as we arrived a little before 9am and left around 7:30pm.  My pedometer showed about 14,000 steps for about 5.5 miles.  We didn't stay the night since our Pack campout is the following weekend.  Enjoy the pics and comments below.

Starting our day with Den Leader Mike and Assistant Den Leader Eric.

The Weather Rock...we all got a kick out of this.  Better pic of the sign below.


The first activity we visited was fire building.  The boys learned about tinder, kindling, types of fire structures (log cabin, lean to, teepee), and how to best put them all together to start a fire.

The boys had to collect sticks smaller than their pinkies as they prepared to start their fire.

After preparing their 'birds nest' of tinder, they placed sticks on top of it and were ready to use a striker.

Jonathan had an opportunity to try the rope igniter tool, which didn't work as well as planned.


When in doubt.....go to matches.


Next stop was the meal preparation station sponsored by the Boy Scout Troop out of St. Theresa Church.  The boys had to wash their hands before learning about various cooking devices and eventually making their own food.  These folks were recruiting more than any other Troop we visited today.

Learning about various cooking equipment and options.

Starting to make quesadillas....

Time to eat!

First aid station, Jonathan learned how to tie an ankle support in case he twists an ankle while hiking or playing sports.

The boys learned a bit about CPR, dressing wounds, and how to make a stretcher from a tarp and branches.




Next up was the Dutch Oven activity.  They boys learned about cast iron cooking and how to prepare a meal at a campsite.  They also talked about making desserts in a dutch oven then mixed the ingredients for an apple cake and used Sprite instead of eggs, where the carbonation acted as leavening agent.  We didn't get to taste the batter or stick around long enough to taste the final product but the kids enjoyed it.  Jonathan said this was his favorite stop.



Next up was a basic square knot session (which they've learned in the past) before being able to cross the monkey bridge.  This was another popular stop for most scouts.


By far the most popular event of the day was BB gun shooting!  We spent about 10 minutes listening to safety instructions from the Range Security Officer before they allowed us on the range.

I think we had 11 Scouts at this point, our boys are the ones in the tan shirts.

I thought the BB gun session was very well done.  The boys would complete one step at a time as they settling in and then put their hands in their lap to indicate they were ready for the next step.  The steps included putting on safety glasses, loading a bb, pumping the gun and finally taking it off safety and firing down range.  The Scouts had a variety of marksmen present with some boys hitting the target a few times and other boys putting a hurting on their target.


This was Jonathan's second time shooting a bb gun (first time was in North Carolina) and he did pretty darn good.

They were responsible for replacing their targets when they were done and they go to keep their sheets.

From what I could tell, Jonathan seemed to have the most consistent shot and put 7 or 8 in the inner-most circle.  He had fun but admitted that shooting in North Carolina was more enjoyable, which I agreed with.

The boys played Gaga ball for a short bit before jumping over to the "survival" activity.

I have a short video that I may load but one of the survival items they learned about was how to make a fire with a 9 volt batter, steel wool and cotton ball.  I remember seeing this on TV once and forgot how quick and easy the process was.  You basically rub the two leads of the battery on the steel wool and it immediately starts burning the fine material.  Place the steel wool on the cotton and it starts a nice little fire that you can use to start a larger camp fire.

They also learned about building a basic shelter against a tree with a tarp and other supplies you can find in the woods.

After our closing flag ceremony, we headed to the food line where they had hamburger or turkey burger patties.  Other ingredients you could add include onions, peppers, carrots, green beans, potatoes and different types of sauces to mix in (hot sauce, bbq, steak sauce, etc.).  We had to make our own cooking packages from tin foil that we would eventually throw on the coals to cook.

The fire took longer than expected to prepare so the Scouts stayed busy play sharks and minnows.  Once ready, everyone threw their meals (which were labeled with our names) onto the coals and let it cook for about 10 minutes on each side.  This is the same way I learned to prepare a campsite meal when I went camping as a kid.  It was delicious.



It was an excellent day and the experience exceeded our expectations so we were very pleased.  Jonathan had a great time and we picked up a few new tricks for future camping or hiking trips.
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