We are still following our Zombie theme and this month the program feature was backpacking and hiking and last Friday we met up at the local scout camp. The plan for the weekend was a digital camera scavenger hunt for Saturday Morning during a 5 mile hike, .22’s and shotguns at the range after lunch and zombie tracking after dark.
For the hike, I don’t think there was much tie in to the Zombie stuff, but they did add a Scavenger Hunt game in to the mix. There was a point system for pictures taken for identifiable stuff. 10 points for an animal they could identify, 5 points for plants and trees or animal tracks they could identify, etc. The PLC determined a 5 am(ish) wakeup and for the first patrol to leave camp at 5:45 and the other two patrols staggered 15 minutes apart. The ideas was to get to the trail head at Sunup. I kind of thought that maybe taking an hour to get to a point a half mile down the road was a little over conservative, but they kind of timed it right. I don’t know if the chill slowed them down or walking in the dark, or what, but the first patrol hit the trail just when the sun started peeking through the trees.
Usually hikes are accompanied by groans and moans, but spirits were extremely high on this one, I think the introduction of the Patrol competition motivated many of them and there were a ton of pictures taken. One scout didn’t have a camera so he was using his game boy to take pictures. The scavenger hunt game was originally dreamt up to help the younger scouts to be more intentional on a few more rank advancement skills, but was probably the best part of the hike.
While a few of the Scouts are real hikers, most don’t have the discipline on the trail to keep quiet enough to come up on any kind of wild life. So I’m going to guess that most of the animal pictures will be some cows that we saw in a pasture we passed and birds on the wing, etc.
I was with the middle patrol and for the most part they did well. They started on the Florida Trail which was blazed pretty well, so they were spoiled to the point of not looking at their map, but once they departed from that, they had to pull them out and use their compasses to help them navigate. There were a couple of locations where they found that they could cut the hike short, but they elected to finish the whole thing and remained in high spirits through out.
The first patrol, with some of the most seasoned scouts actually missed the cut off, even though one of their scouts helped blaze the trail the weekend before. Though they were the first to leave and took about 4 hours to complete what was supposed to be a 5 mile hike, they were in a great mood when they were back at camp, calling their detour a exploration adventure and bragging to the other patrols on how much more fun they had because of the extra couple of miles hiked.
The funny thing to me, and an item that I’ll be addressing with the PLC is everyone’s lack of follow up and completion. Even though I bet the competition was the biggest motivator for the hike, no one tallied up the points, or asked who won, or what. Hopefully they’ll have that completed at tonight’s meeting or we can conclude it at the PLC this week, but I see this pattern in a lot of other things that we do, so we’ll try to be more intentional in finishing.