I’ve been the Playwicki program chair for about 3 years and I’m slowly tiring of it.  It’s been a while since I had a genuine sense of satisfaction after an event rather than “it’s done”.  I mentioned this to a few people and the response seemed to have been “say thank you to Terry more”.

I was very happy to see that all the cardboard from the weekend fit into my car, and even if we didn’t find the right dumpster it was at least deposited at a “Sunoco on Street Road” which was our only direction.  The field was cleared and the kids were gone by 11:00 AM and I felt very tired.  Not a “nap will fix me” tired but a long brooding fatigue that comes from the weight of something providing support, in the way a marble column may tumble if the roof above is moved.  I had a template for what to do next time, but I’d rather not be the one to implement it.

And this too shall pass.

I learned something quickly about Boy Scout events that involve camping; everything runs 30 minutes late, because of the troops.  At Webelos events if I’m 15 minutes late to start kids will explode, but I could schedule four hours for a lunch break and it still wouldn’t be enough time.  The opening training was a run-through of how EDGE works, the Scout training method so amazing there are almost no formal publications that list it and whose details are faint.  I taught the EDGE song which involves marching around yelling “Explain Demonstrate Guide Enable” dozens of times and at some points includes arm motions.  This nearly killed me as my song lacks a break between verses and I still had a heck of a cough but I think the kids got the point.  The rest of the morning went well and the activities I cooked up were also well received.

Camp Cherokee provided wonderful facilities which included an evacuation area, a zip line, a rock wall, and more importantly, cell reception.  Schedule changes were transmitted via text message as were dinner invites which proved handy as I could compare my options without offending (cheese steaks won out but I should have gone for the pot roast).

The afternoon consisted of just open activities which I felt was risky but was rewarded with this:


This is Norman Rockwell caliber shit.  Kids doing a flag ceremony in uniform with a setup they created as the sunsets.  I didn’t even think this actually happened except in Boys’ Life magazine or in some Panglossian simulacrum of Scouting.  I’m glad it exsists.

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My shopping list of the camporee has involved some strange bedfellows like 12 hula hoops, 13 tennis balls, 2 funnels, 3 beach balls and 2 kids sized exercise balls.  Some oddities:

  • I went to Toys R’ Us to buy kids exercise balls thinking they’d make giant kick balls.  I asked a store attending how burst resistant they were to which she replied “profoundly, I know someone who couldn’t even pop one with a mechanical pencil.”
  • Me yelling asking a cluster of teens at Oxford Valley mall to make way as I walked through their cohort with 12 hula hoops wearing aviator glasses.
  • The Leslie’s Pool desk attendant asking me if diving rings would do instead of a beach ball for my giant volleyball game.

Camporee preparation has proven…. difficult.  Today I walked the event site and found a collection of gopher holes, poison ivy bushes and meteorite impact sites that sized to perfectly consume the human leg.  I paced out sites for the various giant events and traced lines like trying to construct a golf course about Centralia, PA.  I was dressed in work cloths as that’s where I’d come from and got not a few odd looks from disc golf hippies, parents and kids regarding the strange man walking about in business casual but removed all doubt of my insanity when I went back to my car, took out my 75 cm exercise ball and started rolling around the field on it testing its resistance to bursting on thorns and such.

Apparently I passed some rubicon of sanity as the park ranger only slowed and stared but didn’t quite stop as I sat on the ball rolling around in a wheat field.  Some day I should do a performance art piece and get 10 fat men in business suits to do jazzercise in a wheat field with exercise balls.

I finally emptied out my pick-up of the things I collected during the camporee, one of which was a red nalgene bottle filled with that I was told was “bad raspberry iced tea”.  I emptied out the jug into the sink and was taken aback by the strength of the wave of stench coming from what I’m pretty sure was a 50/50 mixture of vodka and grapefruit juice.  I was surprised for two reasons:

  1. Why would a Scout want to get shitfaced during a camporee?
  2. Who actually likes the taste of grapefruit juice?

During final retreat at the Camporee I got a bit bored standing around and started making loud non-descript drill sergeant noises like ” Whiii hup tooooo!” and “aaafff, awwlight ee marrr”.  Some people started giggling while others started going to attention, saluting, turning, tipping their flag and other things sometimes along and sometimes in small groups trying to figure out what was happening.  It all stopped when the real guy in charge arrived and I yelled “am riii hooo” and then went to attention.

Wanna command a retreat?  Drop every leading and ending consonant on words and quadruple the length of words that end in “o” or “i”.  Try it!

While cleaning out my room I found this gem.

Dave Hasel Dunk tank hi-res

It’s Dave Hasel in the dunk tank at the 2001 Council Camporee.  I’m having a contest to see who can add the best caption to the picture.  The easiest way to do it is just to comment but if you want to go one better, Picbite allows more complicated comments at my favorite cost of free.  My PC comment is “I love Friends of Scouting thiiiiiis much”.  I also think that’s Travis Woodling off the right.

The planned program for the Playwicki Klondike looked dreadfully dull so I volunteered to come up with a few afternoon activities.   This is my initial list, comments appreciated.

Competition ideas
I. Blind tent set-up – Scouts set up a standard Y-tent and dome tent blindfolded.
a. Blindfolds
b. Tents
c. Stop watch
d. (?) Extra pole
II. Atlatling – Competitive atlatling
III. Dirt fishing – Unit broken into two groups, one lashes a giant fishing pole where the other draws a map of an area containing the traps. Once done, the groups switch, and one group operates the crane while the other guides it.
a. Rat trap/mouse trap
b. Barrier (tarpaulin over some sort of 6’ upright
c. Staves
d. Break up traps into two types, one gets points the other loses one (size difference, color?)
IV. Slingshot Art – Groups must draw a deer using 100 paintballs (?), TAKE PICTURES, run by lodge
a. Paintballs
b. Sling shots
c. Tarp
d. Squeegee or scraper
V. Gumdrop direction set – one group of Scouts receive a hat made out of gum drops held together by tooth picks. Group must describe the toothpick structure without using charts or diagrams and gives directions to another group who must construct it. Eat the gum drops when they’re done
a. Gum drops
b. Tooth picks
c. Lined paper
d. Clock
VI. Floating fishing weight activity (is there a way to set up
a. Water tub
b. Corks
c. Fishing weights
d. Fishing hooks
VII. Garden hose splicing – unit must straight splice together two ropes made out of pool noodles or garden hoses.
a. Lots and lots of garden hose or pool noodles connected (heat bond polyethylene
b. How about plastic conduit
VIII. Dressing in layers, how many shirts you can wear at once, alternatively Simon says game with layers of clothing. End of day for SPL activity (?)
a. A lot of clothing
IX. Scout bowling
a. Balls
b. Pins
X. Balanced Scouting – Team goes successive rounds of adding square 1-5 lb stones to each side of a balance, goal is to get as many rocks on as possible without scale tipping.
a. Various weighted rocks
b. Stop watch
c. balance
XI. Magnet orienteering – I was rethinking this and thought it might be neat to do a rough orienteering course using water/needle/leaf compasses and quarter/paperclip magnets
a. Small water tubs
XII. Giant clove hitch – giant clove hitch, preferably at least 20 to 30 feet around.
a. Stakes
b. 150+ feet of rope
XIII. Vertical Styrofoam shoot – I wrote this down, but can’t remember for the life of me what it means.
XIV. Spaghetti knots – some activity where participants either lash or tie knots with cold cooked spaghetti. Maybe lash a little spaghetti tepee.
XV. Keep aloft – Scouts are given a soda bottle and various materials to make a water-bottle rocket that stays aloft for the longest time.
a. Parachute materials
b. Soda bottle
c. Soda bottle launcher kit