The church that charters our troop has a ministry they work with called Cross Waves. The folks that volunteer at Cross Waves take time out of their lives to teach people about Jesus… they also teach people how to surf, and while our scouts of course have a healthy respect for the duty to God and the 12th point of the scout law, they wanted to surf. So we setup a campout around it.
The closest campsite our Outdoor Activities Chair could find was about 25 minutes away from the event, and we had about 30 scouts sign up for the campout, so logistically, I knew there was going to be a problem, especially as I was coming in from a business trip and would have a hard time shuttling scouts around. Shows what I know. Logistically, they were on it. No worries on my part, no one left behind, everything was taken care of… and eerily, that’s how the event went.
We showed up a couple hours before they started, as the head Surfer / Missionary, Jim asked if we could help setup. Of course we could! This turned the activity into a service project! Poor Jim, he didn’t know which way to turn when 30 scouts showed up, he was giving directions like, some of you come over and help me and some of you go over and help them and the rest of you wait here.
If you’ve ever worked with younger scouts you know this isn’t going to work very well, and after about 10 minutes he came over to me and said so. He had too many scouts in some places and not enough in others.
I pulled the SPL over and we asked Jim what he needed and where. The SPL after he understood what was needed brought the Patrol Leaders over. They were given their orders, Seals over there, help this guy put up that, Invisibles over there help that guy put up this, Ninjas follow me we are going to do this thing over here, and Jim was left flabbergasted watching the scouts swarm all over the place, like productive ants.
A pastor from a somewhat nearby church was also there, he served as one of the preachers for the event, and a fun moment happened as he was trying to tie down the shelters. We took over the job from him, tying a two half hitch and a taut line hitch into the line, to secure it to the ground. He was amazed after the first two, so we had to show him. Before you know it, he was a knot tying fool, knocking out all of the tethers with his new knot tying proficiency, showing the other surfers his new skill.
Oh… also we surfed. There were Beach Life Guards there, plus we had a BSA Lifeguard (me) and other qualified supervision. They brought about 50 boards and about 8 instructors who brought out the kids who were there for the event out and showed them how to get up and ride the wave in. Many of the scouts went through the line multiple times, most were able to get up on the surf board, everyone had fun and no one got hurt. What a great team! They were very patient with the kids, some as young as five getting up on boards for the first time.
Afterwards, they provided hotdogs, chips and soda and had a worship service and a sermon from a missionary from Cambodia who talked to us about being a christian in a communist country. Many of our scouts walked away from that with their eyes wide as saucers.
What a great event! Many of the Patrol Leaders are looking to setup a Patrol Activity where they go and just do this for the day in one of the upcoming session, sure hope they do!