Last weekend our troop went camping and it was a full weekend. I wrote earlier about our morning, where they had a Scavenger Hike, but in the Evening, because of our Zombie Theme, they setup a Zombie Blood Trail.
Once the sun went down, and the troop was gathered around the campfire for warmth a few of the older Scouts set out. The intention was to setup a spot off from the camp site for each patrol to find a scene in which there had been a struggle and then to follow a trail of glow in the dark blood, looking for clues, ferreting out the trail, maybe losing it on occasion until they got to the end of it, where a bag of Z0M-A formula and candy bars were. (Long Story, see earlier posts).
What actually happened was that the glow in the dark blood took longer to make and was harder to do in the field than was expected, so only one batch was created, and the Older Scouts only made one trail for the whole troop to follow. Also, instead of creating a real “animal tracking” kind of trail, with a few drops here, and then way up the road another few drops, they basically made a straight line of glow in the dark stuff down the path that even a Scoutmaster could follow.
I’m going to blame the cold on this one, trying to set this up, in the dark, in (for Florida) frigid temperatures (it got down into the 20’s!), added a level of complexity that I don’t think any of the scouts were prepared for, especially since it was 80 degrees most of the rest of the week.
Anyhow, you can kind of see where this was going. The Older Scouts rushed to the campfire, told the story of the Zombie skirmish, thing, and brought the group of 25+ scouts out to the blood trail. Tommy Tenderfoot and Second Class Stan and even the visiting Webelos, all mixed up in the group… it was chaos!
Funniest thing was even though, in the dark with a huge 6 foot diameter spot of glowing blood with a track leading off to the north, when asked which way to go, someone decided to try south to see if there was anything less obvious hidden that way. So off they went, in the opposite direction and I believe everyone walked right through the glowing blood. After a couple hundred feet of darkness, they looked back and saw a new trail, leading to them, which befuddled them.
Eventually, they got it together and headed north along the well marked trail, found the cache and returned back to the comfort of the campfire with a lot of scouts running off into the woods wanting to try and scare the younger scouts, but not quite accomplishing much.
I was actually a little dejected, thinking that this was an awesome idea, that the Older Scouts were going to teach tracking in a really entertaining way, and that it kind of went south and was kind of lame… until we got back to camp.
Around the campfire stories of triumph were beginning to be told. Webelos and younger Scouts swore they saw the red eyes of Zombies off in the distance watching them in the dark. Scouts were boasting about how they were able to hide so well in the dark and jump out on the trail and all fell back in fear… to them, it was a success.
It kind of made me stand back and reassess. Yes it would have been great if they had learned a skill like tracking, but those scouts signed up for adventure and that’s what they got. The older scouts didn’t do much with an outdoor skill, but they developed a plan, put it in motion, made changes as they saw fit, kept everyone safe and delivered a product that everyone was happy with… a lot of adults can’t do that.
So I’ll mark this one down as a success. For those of you interested, what they did for the Zombie blood was, someone donated a bunch of glo-sticks and we had some sawdust left over from a previous thing. They broke the glo-sticks, shook them up, then cut off an end, then drained them into the sawdust, filtering out the glass. Mixing it up they were able to create a trail that didn’t soak into the ground and lasted for a couple of hours.