What a great week and a great experience for the young men of Troop 62! Friday was a great last day of camp, finishing up some merit badges, some free time, and a fire-free campfire celebration. After the camp celebration party last night, the troop headed back to the Sedalia campsite for their last night at Camp Cris Dobbins and the Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch.
Everyone did most of their packing on Friday night, so they were ready to move out bright and early this morning. At 7:30am, the caravan pulled out of camp and began their journey home.
At around 11am CDT, they were nearing Walsenburg, Colorado, where the East Peak fire destroyed the Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch, and smoke was visible from a distance. Nearly 200 boys from Kansas, Colorado and Texas were camping in the mountains when they were forced to evacuated with nothing more than what was in their pockets. According to reports, the Scout Ranch was destroyed.
The Troop 62 Summer Campers are expecting to arrive in Amarillo around 4pm CDT today for their overnight at Troop 80's Jack Bryant Scout Center. And the boys are in for a huge treat tonight. They are planning to see the Kwahadi Dancers, a unique youth performing group from the “Crown of Texas,” the Panhandle area of the Texas High Plains. The dancers are officially part of the Venture Crew Nine of the Golden Spread Council, BSA, and will be performing their 2013 Summer Show, Song of the Eagle.
Tomorrow morning, they head for home!
Just a quick report from Camp Cris Dobbins...
Yesterday was another great day of merit badge classes. Last night, the troop celebrated with a party at the lake after dinner, including games and other activities.
This morning, the boys worked on finishing up their merit badges that were postponed from day 1 due to the Monday morning registration. This afternoon, they have free time, and they're also working on packing up their gear with the hopes that they can make an early morning exit and get to Amarillo in time to see some Indian dancers!
Tonight, they will wrap up summer camp with family night (obviously more geared toward local scout families) and a campfire-free campfire celebration with skits, songs, awards, and lots of fun! It's been a great week, and it's quickly coming to an end.
As for the fire in southern Colorado, it is still 0 percent contained, but does not appear to be threatening I-25 at this point. We are closely monitoring this, but do not expect any complications for travel tomorrow.
Hoping for a few pictures today, but no guarantees. Two more days and they'll
The following note from the Denver Area Council serves as a great reminder that things could have been a lot worse for Troop 62 and the others visiting Camp Cris Dobbins this week. Let us be thankful for our blessings this week, and for the boys' opportunity to experience summer camp this year. Let us be mindful of the victims who lost their homes or their lives in this fire. And let us be grateful for the firefighters and volunteers who risked their lives during the worst fire in Colorado history.
Denver Area Council, Boy Scouts of America
From Bryan Hyatt, Camp Cris Dobbins Director
"What a fast and positive response with picking up all the gear and equipment left behind at Peaceful Valley from Colorado’s largest fire in history. The National Western Complex is nearly empty and today at noon, June 19th, the remaining gear will be moved to the Denver Area Council office and remain there until all is claimed. We understand that this process was not perfect, but we went with the best plan for the little time we had and we thank you for understanding. A big thank you goes out to all the firefighters and emergency personnel who worked so hard to save homes, lives and Peaceful Valley."
This morning, Peaceful Valley had a penguin sighting of sorts... that is, if you consider the boys and adults who took part in the "Polar Penguin Plunge!" That's right, Troop 62's own "Insane Pond Posse" arose bright and early to meet the challenge. The team was made up of Ben, Spencer, Jaime, Luke, Jack, Aidan, Mr. Duffield and Mr. Levesque! At 6 a.m. under a chilly 50 degree sunrise, the Posse joined in solidarity to demonstrate their boldness and determination with great success! Way to represent, guys!
With the storms gone, the troop was looking forward to a beautiful day. And beautiful it was! Of course it was a bit chilly in the morning, but by afternoon the temps were in the low to mid 80s and lots of sunshine!
The troop's "mile swimmers" are on track... Collin, Elliott, Charlie and Mrs. Busby had their third day of practice, with the mile swim on Friday. Keep up the hard work!!!
Today was just a typical day at camp. Everyone is in full swing for their merit badge classes, and the Trading Post seems to be getting a lot of revenue from Texas.
Tonight is a pretty quiet night around camp. In fact, there are only six boys in camp tonight: Spencer, Collin, Aidan, Charlie, Marcus and Tyler. For the boys holding down the fort, Tyler was hanging out with the adults, while the other five boys are taking advantage of the archery range.
Everyone else is sleeping under the stars tonight! Tonight is when they camp outside - no tents - as part of their merit badges or program they're taking. Ben and Jaime are stargazing as part of their Astronomy merit badge. Jacob is working on requirements for his Camping merit badge. Jack, Stuart, Luke, Elliott and Wyatt are learning more about the ins and outs of camping with the Boy Scouts as part of their Eagle-bound class. And Andrew is enjoying his final summer camp as a Boy Scout with a night under the Colorado skies as part of the "Mission Adventure" program.
Then there's the food. Mr. Levesque said their "steaks" were really "steak" burritos. Well, sort of. He said it was really stew meat, so they called them "stew-ritos." They also had salisbury steak and "some sort of glazed chicken." Looks like we'll have some boys ready for some home cookin' when they get home!
The weather looks great for the rest of the week, with only two full days left of camp! They'll be home before you know it!
Everyone made it through day 1 like real champs! Today, after the flag ceremony and breakfast, the boys jumped right into their schedules. It was a beautiful day on the Colorado Front Range. Until 6th period, that is. That's when the predicted scattered thunderstorms pushed into camp. And boy did they!
What thunderstorm would be complete without heavy rains, strong winds, and, yes, hail. With everyone in class, the boys were mostly unaffected. Everyone except Luke, that is. Apparently Luke felt like he needed to make it back to camp and got caught in the hailstorm, but he was just fine! Hail size ranged from pea size to gumball size.
After the storm passed through, there was a little work to do around camp, including re-lashing the tents. Unfortunately, there was another small cell that seemed to grow the closer it got to camp, and it appears to have dumped a little more rain on the camp. The good news is, it's now past, with just a couple of very small cells on radar. After tonight's rain, it looks like thinks are clear sailing for the rest of the week, with sunny skies predicted for the duration!
Next on today's agenda was dinner. Tonight's fare included steaks! Following dinner, the boys are off to "Lodge Night." This is where the boys can take part in various free time activities, crafts and projects, such as making monkey fists or branding coffee mugs purchased in the Trading Post. Fortunately, Mr. Levesque took care of the Totem Chip cards yesterday for the newer scouts while they were waiting to register, so they can do other activities instead of having to work on their Totem Chip.
Just a couple of photos to share today, but the leaders promise they are taking LOTS of pics to share when they get back! All in all, lots of happy faces and everyone's having a great time!
As predicted, cell phone coverage is, indeed, spotty. Mr. Levesque, however, seems to have the best coverage, so we'll press him for updates!
The troop was able to get to camp last night in advance and get set up in the Sedalia campsite. This actually worked out well, as they are sharing the site with a much larger troop, who had to break out some of their own tents, as there weren't enough camp-provided tents for their troop. For Troop 62, everyone is in good shape! After getting set up last night, it was time for lights out, and everyone was reminded that they weren't in Texas anymore, as the overnight low hit a crisp 46 degrees!
This morning, the troop started to feel some of the fallout of last week's evacuation, as the check-in process, which normally spans all day Sunday, was compressed to 3 short hours. In fact, they were the second to last troop to get checked in. It was then time to head to lunch and their first merit badge class. Since this morning was designated for registration, periods 1 and 2 will start with Tuesday's sessions. There will then be classes to make up the time on Friday morning, which is normally free time on the last day of camp.
This morning was described as a "bumpy start," but after registration, things started falling into place. After lunch, the boys all headed out for their classes. The older boys knew the drill fairly well, and the adult leaders shadowed the younger or less experienced scouts to make sure everyone knew what to do and where to go. After the fist day's classes, the troop headed off to dinner, where they were joined by the Camp Host.
The weather was nice and cool today, with a high of 75, but they also had rain on and off today. Also, Mr. Levesque says the air quality is great! Tonight, there is still at 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms, with a low of 48. Tomorrow, they still have a 30% chance of isolated storms with a high of 76. But from Wednesday on, precipitation chances drop to 0% with highs in the mid-80s! Hopefully, the rain will be enough to knock down what remains of the Black Forest Fire.
Speaking of the Black Forest Fire, as of tonight, the fire is 75% contained. Having said that, more than 4,100 people are still evacuated, and more than 500 homes have been lost, and two people have lost their lives. Please keep the victims in your thoughts and prayers.
Due to the poor cell phone connections, pictures may be difficult to come by, but we'll post them when and if they become available.