Final Day Update - Patrol Competition!

By Eric Fretz - Posted on 29 July 2012


Our last day of camp was a DOOZY!   After breakfast the boys completely packed up and broke down camp to start the day of patrol competition.

The first thing they had to do was..... SET UP CAMP!  ha ha.  As fast as they could!  After this timed and graded test they went through a series of stations including knots, lashings, stove lighting, and first aid. It rapidly became apparent which of the youngsters had paid close attention during the week's instruction.  Young Shane, Will aka "Wilt" Chamberlain, and Thomas Larsen all did great square lashings.  Everyone else?  Not so much... but now we have an area for improvement.  First aid was a tough scenario with many difficult parts. There were some struggles for good scores there too.  But hey, this is troop 8, and we grade to the "real world" standard.  If the performance was not up to par, then we work on it until it is.  No dumbing-down or gold stars for this bunch!!  Honestly, for a group dominated by scouts with only one year experience, they really did quite well!!

Then Lunch in camp as we got ready for phase 2... Navigation, Geocaching, Lost Scouts and Relay Race!

Let's just say we "showed our youth" again with tons of enthusiasm but not so consistent success.  There was biking and kayaking and rappelling and navigation and geocaching and asking locals about town history as well as buying pounds of swedish fish for the patrol and having to transport them across a slack line to the patrol.  The  I think they found 2 of 10 nav flags (I think those were Jack Wallace and Shane and Patrick), only one geocache (that was Bean Rago), and both the first wave of bikers AND THE SECOND managed to make wrong turns and head into Pittsburgh on the rail trail.  We eventually rounded them all up, and had JIm sprint to a nearby down with a trail juncture to catch anyone going really fast, ha ha!  The amazing part was that the SECOND group, who watched the discussion and search for the first group, and had extra map time, ALSO made the same mistake.  Amusingly, we found two of the lost bikers at the town historical station, playing a game of chess. (??)  But, we Scouters of Troop 8 have seen it all over the years, and know not to ponder too intently about the lunacy of the 11 year old mind.  : )   Let's just say we are looking forward to next year when this awesome crowd of boys has another year of experience and maturity under their belt.  : )     Every national championship team starts with a few years of hard work by a promising crew of freshman and sophomores!!

The last phase of the patrol competition adventure above was done in, of course, THE RAIN!!!!

At that point, we figured we were too tired and wet to go back and cook dinner, so Scouter Steve bought pizza for the troop.  HOWEVER, given the extreme size of our group this year, our pizza order caused the place to SHUT DOWN  because we used up ALL their dough.  Since that was not enough food, we went to the one OTHER food place in town and closed THEM DOWN TOO by ordering all the ribs and pulled pork they had left.   Happy merchants in Ohiopyle, that is for sure!  We then proceeded to a nearby picnic pavilion to eat and do our statistics and probability workshop.  As we started, a park ranger came by to clear the park and kick us out, but he was cool about letting us stay.  The boys had about 2 hrs to practice their math and game theory as adults dealt blackjack and poker.  Young Brandon cleaned up for a while at the beginner poker table, until they tired of his bluffing and sent him down to the big boys table with dealer Mr. Fretz.  He then tried  (more than once) to make big bets with junk cards, but he got called and cleaned out.  Ahh, the learning process!   The boys gathered as many chips as they could for the evening-ending auction.  At the auction they bid their chips against each other for the assembled array of prizes, candy, and caffeinated sodas.  One bottle of Mountain Dew went for 81 chips, and the helicopter air rocket went for 103 to a clever cabal led by Kevin Thomas.  Great Fun.

We actually had a new problem this year, on this final day,with more than one kid grumpy not with HOME sickness but with STAY sickness!  They were cranky that they had to go home!!!  (I think they suspect that you are going to make them bathe...)

We then packed up and went back to camp to rest for tomorrow's pack up and reconfigure for ANOTHER WEEK!  Since we skipped the last dinner for 60+ people, it would appear we (the 15 who are staying)  have Chicken Cordon Bleu on the menu A LOT in the coming week.

We are about to do church and begin packing cars.  Those of the adults driving back have realized the critical flaw of having a second week of camp for the older boys.  THEY HAVE TO DRIVE HOME WITH CARS ALL FULL OF FIRST YEARS!!!  There is some concern whether this is survivable, as we have no experience with something so horrible... but hopefully they make it!!  So soon they head home, utterly spent, I assure you.  I have no words to describe their smell, and I can only offer my heartfelt apologies to the Weisers and others who devoted their vehicles to the service of camp.  We will try to clean them up : )

We just completed the service.  For me the high point was when Bob suggested everyone find someone they may have hurt or bothered this week and ask for forgiveness, so Will was next to Danny and said "well, I don't really have anything to apologize for so {pokes Danny in stomach) THERE.. I'm sorry for that".  Always comedians. : )   THe weeklong patrol competition ended with D as the winners and F close on their heels.  Well done all!

I have to say, this week was fascinating.  We somehow made it all work out, and everyone grew up a lot!  Your kids are awesome and we are going places with this crew.  Looking forward to the coming year!  Enjoy some time off in August : )  For the Troop 8 Scouters, this is the Fretzman... OUT!