Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tamara's Birthday

Today is Tamara’s Birthday. She is 26 years old. She came into my life when I started dating her mother Carol when Tamara was 14 years old. (Carol is now my beautiful wife of 10 years) Trying to be clever at the time, I decided to be a wonderful idea to give her roses for each year she was born. I carried this tradition until she turned 24. It now stops at two dozen roses.

I suppose I should slowly introduce the players in my life. I will not wait until each of their birthdays but today makes since for Tamara.

Tamara has tolerated me as a goofy stepdad. She even put up with me dancing with her at her wedding a couple of years back. More importantly, she does not have the fear of God in her face when I hold her beautiful baby boy Aedan that showed up a little early on 12/30/2008.

For the past six years Tamara has been working as a Police/Fire/911/Jailer Dispatcher for the City of Dalworthington Gardens. She also has started a business of her own with Scentsy Products.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Every year that I head off to Summer Camp, I get nestolgic over my time at Camp Freedom in Dautphe, West Germany (there was a West and an East Germany then). In the summers of 1982, 1983 and 1984 is when I was camp staff.

Before I went to summer camp, I found two of my buddies I worked with at Freedom. You can catch up twenty-five years of your life in a few quick emails. After much thought I have decide to create a facebook page with the goal of finding as many people that have wandered in and out of my life. College, High School and of course my adventures in Boy Scouts

so here it goes http://www.facebook.com/jgregory.shugart

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Night Ride

I have been off the bike for a week and a half due to Summer Camp and life. I get in over 160 miles a week on the bike by riding four times a week during cycling season. Every Sunday I ride over to the Bikes Inc. in Arlington to do the group ride. This time of year it is at 5:15 pm. It used to be my recovery ride of the week, but it has evolved to a hammerfest the past few years. (hammerfest -- A brutally fast ride). The attendance of the ride has dwindled because of this change, tonight there were 8 of us at the start. Although being on the bike was what I wanted to be doing, it became clear to me very early that my legs and lungs were not prepared to hammer. About 15 miles in, I concluded that I needed to head to the house, plus my cycling computer showed that the temperature was in excess of a 100 degrees. I informed my cycling buddy Don that I was heading home and he volunteered to finish the ride at my pace.

We watched the group ride away and had a very nice Sunday conversation paced ride. There are times when you just need to enjoy the bike. Tonight was just one of those nights. Thanks Don.

Keeping the Blog

I am going to keep the blog going for a while and see where it goes. I really enjoyed it at summer camp, but I had a built in audience and felt a responsibility to the parents of my scouts. Now we will just have to see. I am sure it will venture in to areas of my family, road cycling, Little Troop 5, work, and of course the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

I had a old friend tell me the other day I tell good stories. I don't know if that is true, but I do know I like to tell them. I can save my friends a lot of time when I start to repeat them, they can just tell me "I read it in your blog".

I have changed the settings so that anybody can post a comment now. I wish I had figured that out while I was at summer camp.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I assume the level of excitement of this blog will drop tremendously. The troop made it home and I am listening to the clothes in the washing machine and dryer. Life will return to its routine tomorrow. I have to get the yard mowed, pick up the road bike at the shop and get ready for the 5:15 ride on Sunday. I am sure I will sleep well in the Air conditioning tonight. The new direction, if any, of this blog will be determined.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Flaming Brand

The closing of the campfire is highlighted by the lighting of the Worth Ranch Brand. The oohs and aahs of the first years as the brand is quite inspiring.

It has been fun blogging at camp. I hope those that took the time to read this enjoyed it as well. I fear I have set a standard for the parents of the Troop 5 boys.

We are off in the morning. Troop meeting Monday.

Closing Campfire.

It has been a long week, but the boys of Little Troop 5 survived it. The closing campfire at Worth Ranch is an awards Campfire.

I was quite surprised and very pleased because three of our boys in this very crowded week of camp were recognized by staff. It is a troop record.

The Troop is given an opportunity to recognize camp staff. This is done by bestowing the summer camp T-shirt on the staff.

Kyle Mountain

I just did a hike of Kyle Mountain. Kyle Mountain is a very special place. There are few places in Texas where a scout can climb up and look down upon a valley. The journey up Kyle is rocky and the last pitch is rather steep, but you are rewarded once you make the climb. It is a wonderful view.

If you are in Troop 5 for any amount of time, you will spend the night up on Kyle and be read to out of "Palo Pinto Campfires". However, one boy's journey up Kyle from Troop 5 gives me goose bumps as I think about it.

Joel Mauro was one of my many fine Eagle Scouts. He passed away a couple of years back of Muscular Dystrophy. He crossed over into Troop 5 in 1998. At the time, he could walk but by the time he was in high school, he was bound to his wheelchair. Joel and his mom Alice were a fixture of Troop 5. Alice made sure that Joel got the full scout experience. They camped with us all the time, summer camps and weekend camping. Even the Order of the Arrow. Joel went through his Ordeal at Sid, with the boys of Troop 5 helping on the way. He got his brotherhood at Worth in the place you are supposed to get it. Yet he had not been on top of Kyle.

The PLC voted that one fall campout that they wanted to get Joel up on Kyle so he can be a member of the sunrise club. I thought that was a marvelous idea.
On that fateful Saturday, in glorious Troop 5 fashion, we did not have our act together in buttoning up the campsite to prepare for the hike. So by the time we began our journey, the sun was setting. The boys figured we could just roll Joel in his wheelchair up to the final pitch and we would carry him the rest of the way. We soon discovered that was not going to work. Every rock and root stopped the wheelchair. It was beginning to occur to me this was a very dumb idea as darkness surrounded us.

The boys found two long branches and ran them under the wheels of his wheel chair and began carrying him like a Roman Emperor up the mountain. It was a lot of work, but they did not quit. When we reached the final pitch, I slung Joel over my shoulder and got him to the top. I sat him down with his legs dangling over the side. One of the older boys put his arm around him and started showing him the valley. I turned around to find Alice broken down in tears.

The boys that carried Joel were laying flat on their backs on rocks with their fist in the air, shouting "YES".
I cannot come to Worth and not climb Kyle Mountain. Every step of the way I think of Joel. He is missed.

KP Duty

The learning of responsibility to the group is one the important aspects of scouting. Kitchen Police (KP) is a long standing tradition at scout camps. The Senior Patrol Leader creates a roster at the beginning of camp to assign boys to KP duty for every meal. Each boy in the troop gets a few turns at it.

If you have KP duty, you show up a little early and get the tables set up and then head out to line up with the Troop. The after meal duties are when the work kicks in. The KPs must bus, wipe, and clean the floor around the table where the Troop sits.

For the Troop 5 families following the blog, this means your son knows how to do such things.

My Parents

I am under the bold assumption my folks have been following the blog. They put up with me though the years and have been very supportive of my scouting. The young man above waiting on his Eagle Board would not have been there with out their support.
Feel free to have a uniform discussion below.

Summer Camp T-Shirt

Since 2002, Troop 5 has made special Summer Camp Class B shirts. The boys come up with the design. Some are better than others but they become part of Troop lore. We wear them on Monday and Friday. A little trade secret is they get shipped out of camp on Tuesday and washed. At Worth they return on parent's night. It guarantees a clean shirt on Friday.

Friday Morning.

We made it through the night. We had no parent separation anxiety with the boys. They got up on time and made it to flag as well. The scout troop I brought here last Sunday has grown by leaps and bounds towards becoming a more cohesive unit.

Parent's Night

Thursday night is parent’s night at Worth Ranch. It is a fun night. The staff takes down the garrison flag; there is another campfire with the boys from the Troop do a skit for the camp. We even got to eat in Duncan Hall in the air Conditioning. The last few years one of the Assistant Scoutmasters visits and brings ice cream for the troop, brothers, sisters, mothers and dads. The parents leave and I am left with a “sugar rushed” Troop.

Order of the Arrow Call Out

Last night, Troop 5 had two boys called out to become Members of the Order of the Arrow. In Little Troop 5 this is a big deal. The Order of the Arrow is the National Honor Society of scouting that uses Indian lore as a basis to further the mission of Scouting. It provides an opportunity for older boys to learn additional leadership skills outside their troop.

The boys called out tonight were voted in by the members of the Troop because the boys of the troop believe they live up to the high ideals of scouting. To be eligible for the Order of the Arrow, one must be a First Class Scout, have 20 days and nights of camping (including a week of summer camp), and scoutmaster approval.

The boys called out tonight will participate in an Ordeal that will introduce them to the Order of the Arrow. If they are hooked, they will have the opportunity to earn their Brotherhood ten months down the road. If it turns out to be exciting to them and they make the commitment, in a few years the Lodge could decide to bestow the Vigil Honor on them.

I was very active in the Order of the Arrow as a youth and it was a very important part of my scouting experience. The arrowmen of Troop 5 had heard me wax on eloquently with my “back in the day” stories. I will shorten them for you. I received my Vigil Honor in the Black Eagle Lodge in 1984 at Camp Freedom. One of my most cherished memories was doing Indian Ceremonies in western Plains Indian regalia in Kandersteg Switzerland at the International Scout Chalet.

I encourage the Arrowmen of Troop 5 to be active in the Lodge. I have had the privilege to watch five of our youth receive the Vigil Honor.


I learned tonight that I there are people reading the blog beyond the confines of Little Troop 5. An adult leader from another troop visiting for parents night walked up to me and said, “you the guy doing the blog?” He noted to me. “You think the other flag is big, look at this one”.

The Camp Staff brings it down every parents night. Rightfully so, they are very proud of this duty.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Skit

The Troop 5 skit was rather unique. As it was explained to me by the boys, it was a comedy sketch. They appeared to have a good time doing it, the camp did a little bit more than a courtesy laugh, but it was their original work. If you have been to summer camp as many times as I have, you rarely see a new skit. This was definitely new.

Parent's Night Campfire

The parent night campfire is always fun. The Camp Staff did “Worth Side Story”. They should be proud of themselves. Troop 5 did a skit, which I will address in a moment. The closing was very patriotic with an American flag retirement.


As I am typing this, the boys of Troop 5 are singing songs the Camp Staff has taught them. Before every meal the Camp Staff sings on the front porch of the dinning hall. It buys time for the kitchen to get ready, but it also is very entertaining. When I was a youth, scouts sung. Worth Ranch Scouts sing.


One of the classic scout skills is pioneering. There are a few boys in the troop taking the merit badge. It is a merit badge that has not changed since I taught it at Camp Freedom.

Troop Brand

The Troop 5 brand is often referred to as the Farside five. Its origin in the troop dates back to December 2000 when the troop was going to go on a High Adventure Trip in Arkansas over the Christmas break. The plan was to do the "Eagle Rock Loop" in the Ouachita National Forest. It is hunting season then, so it was decided to get Hunter Orange Troop Hats for the hike. The boys picked out the font of the 5 for the hat and we have used it ever since. (We never made it to the Eagle Rock Loop that winter due to a heck of an ice storm, but we did do the Sid trail that Christmas break)

Some say it looks like the Trail to Kyle Mountain and the the top of the five is the plateau. Others say it looks like a bent finger. It has been rumored that when asked about what that symbol on our hat is at Philmont the answer was "a wiccan symbol of peace and friendship."

What it is a funky looking 5. But it is our funky 5.

Thursday Morning

Well it was a good morning. Little Troop 5 made it through the night at Kyle. I was waiting for them at Roeser Hall as they came in. The march of the first years from Kyle is quite entertaining. One day I will be depending on these boys to provide leadership at a High Adventure campout, but that day is in the future thank goodness. But for today, they have conquered Kyle and for an 11 year old, that is huge.


As I was moving back and forth between the softball game and the swimming pool I noticed the sunset. Sometimes we miss such things as we are busy.

Clothes Float

The swimming Merit Badge requires you to jump in the water with a long sleeve shirt on and long pants. You have to inflate them to prove you can float. It is another life skill that is taught in scouting. I will not digress to when I did it, but I will say scouting is the only place I learned this skill or taught it.

It makes for a long evening for our first years. They have done the flag ceremony, eaten dinner, went back to camp to get their clothes for the float, floated, and then had to go get their gear to go up Kyle Mountain.

You stay busy at Worth Ranch.