Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tamara's Birthday Flowers!

I have officially blogged over a year. It is hard to believe. We have made to another one of Tamara’s Birthdays. This past year has been enjoyable watching her become even more of a mother. It is important that she hones these skills, because Aedan is going to be an older brother later in the year. As a friend once told me, she will be moving from man to man to zone with two of them.

I met the Tull family for lunch and delivered Tamara her flowers. (story from last year about the flowers, plus you can see how much Aedan has grown) I told all three of them, although Aedan really was not giving me his undivided attention, how lucky I was to be part of their family.

Aeden did like to smell the roses.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


We made it home. The boys were greeted off the bus by cheers from the Parents of Troop 5. It was really a nice homecoming.

This will be my last blog post about summer camp. All in all it was a wonderful trip. They boys did a good job and I really feel the troop is ready to take off to all sorts of new levels. In reflecting on all my summer camps as Scoutmaster, this summer camp , for the boys, was one of the better.

Administrative details always fall through the cracks and Troop 5 walked into a perfect storm of administrative details gone astray.

This is always a sad blog post for me. My readership drops quite significantly. I remind the parents of Troop 5 that I will always blog about the Troop, just much less than summer camp.

Troop 5 Brand

We are a good Texas Troop, we have our own brand. At the end of every summer camp, we break out the brands and burn things. There is not a first year scout that does not have the Troop 5 brand on their hat.


I am often asked why I am a Scoutmaster. It really is quite simple. Someone did it for me, so I need to pay it forward. I wager Troop 5 has trained quite a few future troop leaders. I am hoping 20 years from now, I will hear from the men of Troop 5 about their scout troops.

It is enjoyable to help deliver a program that gave me so much. Scouting is the foundation on how I interact with the world. Living by a moral code, doing your best,while doing the right thing cannot be bad way to go through life.

Plus as an innately goofy person, Scouting is a perfect outlet.

Clothes Float.

The clothes float is one of the life skills that Scouting teaches. The boys have to jump into the pool, take off a long sleeve shirt and long pants. They tie them in knots and use the clothes as float devices.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Horseback Riding

One of the neat features of Buffalo Trails Scout Ranch is horseback riding. It has been a big hit with the boys. My utmost respect for large animals, some may call it fear, I tend to avoid the corral. However, through the magic of someone having the digital camera, here are some pictures.

McDonalds Observatory

The McDonald Observatory was really cool. We have limited pictures because of all the rules about lights while we were there. The presentations were very informative. We lucked out that the International Space Station was passing over during our outside presentation. Just like the boys, I want that really cool laser pointer that was used to point out the space station and the constellations.

They had eight different telescopes set up to see all sorts of really cool star clusters and planets. Although we did not get back to camp until after midnight the boys all seemed to think it was worth the trip.


If you have been noting in the pictures, Troop 5 is consistently in full scout uniform, Class A or Class B. We stand out, particularly in our electric lime green summer camp class Bs. During the year, the boys of the Troop never understand why I think this is important. It is fun to watch them start to take pride in the fact they always look like Scouts. They continually have to explain the Troop brand and the neckerchief.

I always tell them it’s a blessing and a curse. Everybody in the Camp knows you are Troop 5 when you do something good and everyone in the camp knows you are Troop 5 when you do something bad. (We have had both this week)


Not that I am the best writer in the world, but forgive my typos, I am just as tired as the boys right now and not nearly as resilient. My goal to be witty and grammatically correct is failing.

Foil Dinner

Lots of scout camps have a troop night. On Thursday evening, the Troop cooked for itself in the campsite. It is a hidden night off for the staff at well. I always recruit the first year scouts to be the camp cooks when this is an option. They really want to help and it counts as a rank requirement towards first class.

They wrap all the cut up vegetables in foil with a hamburger patty and cook it on the coals. I know all those adults that have camped with me realize this is the limit of my cooking ability.

Miss Gabby’s Guest Blog

I think that in theory I am supposed to be a scout leader while at campouts and summer camp. However, the reality is that I am a scout leader AND mom. I have found that after taking Leader Specific Training and Outdoor Leadership Skills, being a Troop 5 committee member, and camping/hiking with your scouts and other Troop 5 leaders I have become a better leader and mom.

Here are some things I have learned and observed in the last year and a half, and has been reinforced at summer camp:

1) We go to some beautiful places.

2) When away from the spoils and luxuries of home, boys find interesting ways to use their free time.

3) Practice patience, bite your tongue, and allow scouts to figure it out. For me, this has been the hardest. I don’t like to see them struggle. However, I have seen how creative and clever their solution turns out. More importantly, they see it!

4) Nurture and support without babying; talk less and listen more; suggest, guide, and give options rather than nag; and question rather than tell. You don’t have to be the first to bring something to their attention, if it is bad enough someone will step in.

5) Watching a scout do something for the first time, that they did not think they could do, is magical.

6) Lastly, Greg Shugart is not as bumbling as he may seem. He has a plan for each scout, even if it is not apparent at first.

I am extremely grateful for the privilege to experience summer camp this week, not only with my son, but the sons of Troop 5.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sunrise Hike

The first year scouts got up early this morning and climbed Forbidden Mountain to watch the sunrise. It is a 1,000 foot vertical gain in about a mile and a half. It is a heck of a hike for a bunch of tired boys on Thursday morning. Although the view was worth their effort.


Although it was frustrating that the Camp did not assign us a camp site, on the positive side is that we did not get stuck in what I am calling Manhattan. The majority of the camp is camping beside and on top of each other. We have our campsite to ourselves, which we have been enjoying our peaceful campsite.


Summer camp is not official until somebody gets hurt. Jade stepped up and took this responsibility on this morning on his way down from the Sunrise Hike. (Pictures of the sunrise are on Mr. Bass’s camera, so those will be up later)

Jade was with the rest of the first year campers in camp got to see the sunrise on top of Forbidden Mountain. Jade took a tumble on the way down and split his knee open. So he got to meet the fine Red Raider Medical Staff of Buffalo Trails Scout Ranch. Jade got seven stitches in his knee, so his boy card truly has been punched

Alpine Latrine and Shower

Troop 5 is assigned the Alpine Latrine and Shower. Due to youth protection issues, there is a triangle sign at that is rotated to move it between, boys, women and men. Troop 5 is responsible for cleaning these five star accommodations every afternoon.


If any parent is expecting that their young man will learn how to keep their room clean based on the way they keep their tents as camp, they are sadly mistaken.

August Riehle

Troop 5 is a boy led troop. It depends on the Senior Patrol Leader providing direction to the troop. It is a very difficult job to be the Senior Patrol Leader. Think about all the managers you had in your life and realized that August Riehle, our SPL, is managing 19 boys at summer camp. Most people with MBAs have a hard time managing.

As a scoutmaster, I really like a 4th year camper to be the Senior Patrol Leader. They have the experience of scouting under their belt. Due to all sorts of reason, that did not happen this year. So August as a second year camper has had the mantle of leadership.

He is doing a fantastic job. The boys are respect the office of SPL, but it is clear they respect August’s efforts in keeping the troop going.

He has made my life easier. I had to apologize to him a few times, because I keep forgetting he is 12, because he has been doing such a fine job.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Buddy Tags

The pool is the morale boost the boys always need. No matter how hot they have been, the pool cools them off.

There are all sorts of rules and procedures involved at the pool. The most important is the buddy tag board. Each boy has a buddy tag, which identifies him and his swimming ability. One has to have a buddy and place it on the buddy board, with your swim buddy’s tag, in the area that they plan to swim. There is a non swimmer area, a beginner area, and a swimmer area. Much confusion at first, but the boys slowly figure it out as the week progresses.

The Team

Summer Camp is a long week of camping. The success of a trip like this is dependent on Adults to make a commitment to the boys of Troop 5. The adult leaders have to walk a fine line between providing support to the boys without taking their choices away from them. The adults at camp have done an excellent job of this task. In addition, they have the unfortunate task of explaining their quirky Scoutmaster to camp staff. The boys and I are blessed to have a fine group of adults to help us.

In addition to all of this, I enjoy camping with them. So thanks!

First Year Campers

The first year at camp is always a challenge. Scout camp is a brave new world for these young men. They are trying to figure out what it means to be in Troop 5 and what they need to do at scout camp. They are hot, itchy, dirty and quite frankly, smelly.

This year of first year campers redefine “trooper”. I usually can tell if a boy does not want to be in scouting on how he is acting at summer camp. This crew is embracing camp with all their heart. I know their parents are worried, as all good parents are, but they don’t need to be. They are being mentored on the spirit of Troop 5 by their older troop buddies and they have figured out Scout Camp.

Hat History

When I made the call for “throw down hats” for Summer Camp, Troop 5 Eagle Scout Erin Fleming came through. Little did I know that he was bringing by the history of Troop 5.

Most of those reading the blog do not know Erin, but I took Erin to his first summer camp in 1998, he was the Troop’s crew chief at Boundary Waters in 2002 and an integral part of the Philmont Trek in 2003. He has worked at Worth Ranch and led many troops down the Brazos as the Director of Brazos River Canoe Trip.

As I was scrambling to get the Bus out of my driveway Sunday, I found the above hats in the front seat. He left a note to remind me to remember the “Baby Lobsters!” This brought a smile to my face in the middle of my early morning panic.

When Erin was 13, he ran up to me with a crawdad exclaiming “Baby Lobster, Baby Lobster Mr. Shugart” I have never forgotten.

Little Secret

The boys are doing wonderful at camp. The first year campers are doing exceptionally well. I am working as hard as I can to get as many of their faces on the blog. Thanks to, or Richard Frederick Troop 775 Odessa, TX the internet at camp is working, so I will not have to run into town to use the wireless card.

I enjoy scouting and bringing the boys to scout camp, but I do have one little selfish moment each day. I get up at 5am, take a shower and come back to camp and drink coffee. Although I challenged Mother Nature earlier in the week, I sit with my coffee and watch the gloriousness of the day begin as the sunlight hits the canyon walls.

It is quite peaceful and charges me for the day at camp.

Astronomy Merit Badge

The whole troop is taking Astronomy Merit Badge. The stars at night are amazing. The purple and yellow bus will be loaded on Thursday night to take all the boys to McDonald observatory.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The Trail to Eagle boys spent some time at the pool to work on the swimming requirements. The pictures above are them working on rescue techniques. They seem to be enjoying the pool better than the class room. The pool is a wonderful place for a first year camper. Plus as a scoutmaster, I know they have been dipped in chlorine at least once a day.

Trail to Eagle

Each camp has a first year program dedicated to first year campers. At Buffalo Trails Scout Ranch it is called Trail to Eagle. They work on tenderfoot, second class and first class requirements. Our boys are split into different patrols within the program to help prevent group think. I wandered in to check on them and it was apparent they were enraptured by what was going on at the time.

Trading Post

Just a quick picture to see where all the money goes at summer camp. Yes it is rare not to see these three together.


As noted in the two posts ago we had an uneventful night. The wind did pick up, but for sleeping weather, it has been great. The boys are tired, but continue to be in good spirits. Nick and Hunter could not get moving this morning, so the Mile swim will have to wait until next year.

One of the things that the Troop learns at scout camp is to get to places on time as a group. One of my pet peeves is making morning flag on time. I encourage the troop to get there and will assist in any way to make sure we get there.

Opening Campfire

While I was off with Gabby experiencing all the night life a laundry mat in Fort Davis that one can handle, the program went on. Monday night was an opening campfire. Opening campfires are all about getting the boys fired up for the week. Based on reports I heard, our boys embraced the campfire and had a wonderful time.


Well we got to experience a Davis Mountain isolated storm yesterday afternoon. Our make shift campsite got blown away and drenched. I am continually amazed at the resiliency of the boys in such situations. Only Gabby was spared from her tent collapsing and her stuff getting soaked. Mine and Aric’s tent was ripped by the winds and we were not so lucky. Mike Bass’ carpet got drenched, it was terrible.

The boys also did not have much luck. Clothes, gear, pillows and sleeping bags were drenched. Ripped tents were on the ground and ridge poles broken. We were all hanging out at the base camp when the storm hit. The boys began the work of getting the camp site back in order. Tents went up, wet gear thrown in the back of Aric’s truck as new storm clouds appeared to be gathering. I tempted fate by holding a sledge in the air and daring Mother Nature to “bring it on” in a rather loud yell, because Troop 5 could take anything she dishes. The boys seemed to find amusement in their goofy scoutmaster and continued to get the campsite in order.

Gabby and I headed to Fort Davis in Aric’s truck and found a laundry mat. I would like to say that I participated in the laundry portion of the evening, but I used the wireless card to get some blog posts out. So the troop owes Gabby.

We returned to camp late and were greeted by a troop in much need of dry sleeping equipment.

Tempting fate once more, I would note that Mother Nature avoided our camp site last night, so she might have heard me.