Thursday, July 29, 2010

BRCT Day 4

One of the advantages of blogging about an event that happened two weeks ago you remember only the good parts. There had been a disconnect between the adults and the boys on this trip that really manifested itself on Sunday morning. It was quite a learning experience for us all. However, what I really remember about Sunday morning was my cup of coffee in the morning.
Sleeping on the ground for three nights is not very comfortable. At 5am on Sunday morning I was done lying on the ground. I got up and made myself one of those instant Starbucks Coffees and watched the sunrise. As we get busy in our lives, there are few moments that we get to pause and reflect. That morning was one of those mornings.
Do to the boy’s effort we were really close to the take out point Sunday morning. It was just a guess if Zack Wisch would actually be there on time. I was so please to see the bus come rolling down the road.

We got back to Worth Ranch took our showers and in little Troop 5 tradition, stopped at the Mineral Wells Waterburger for lunch.  I look forward to taking the next crew down the Brazos in a few years.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

BRCT Day 2 and 3

The good night’s sleep did provide quite a bit of clarity. The Crew had a good breakfast and got on the river early. The boys were on a mission to complete the trip as quickly as possible, but as I continued to point out, we were going to be picked up on Sunday. Regardless, if we were doing this at summer camp, we would be on the water for 5 days, so even 4 days was cutting it short.

One of the cool things about the Brazos River Canoe Trip is that we go by Worth Ranch. This allowed us to visit our home camp and fill up our water jugs.

There are lots of cool rocks along the way that would lend themselves to being jumped off of into the river. I can assure you, I could do no such thing.

The second night we camped on a sand bar in the middle of the river. It is a relatively safe place to camp, but you have water on both sides of you and if the Brazos River Authority decides to open a few gates at Possum Kingdom, your sand bar could suddenly get quite a bit smaller. It is important to tie up your canoes at night to prevent them from floating away if this happens.

The third day on the river was rather uneventful, but what it was hot. The crew did an excellent job of getting down the river and slathering themselves with sunscreen. I keep putting on 8 hour water proof sunscreen every hour and could still see my knees turning red.

We made it to our campsite at a reasonable time. The boys had a swamp war with the canoes as the adults floated in the water under the shade of a tree.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 1 BRCT

The first day of a short trip is the most important. You have to get a lot of things done in a short period of time. In this case, we had to leave our pick up point at Key Elementary, get to Worth Ranch, get the gear ready, load up the canoes, get to the River and make it to safe campsite before the sun went down.
We had arranged the trip so the boys that were going to summer school for duel credit could attend. So we started the trip at 12:30 pm. We had a lot to do in a very short window. In a perfect world, I had envisioned us getting on the river by 3:30 but no later than 4. We got on at 4:50pm. No amount of prodding or "barking" seemed to change the boys understanding of the situation. It did not help that it became clear they were not mentally prepared to take the trip. Even though they had planned a menu for 4 days, they seemed genuinely surprised that they were leaving on a Thursday and coming back on a Sunday.

Much to their surprise, getting on to the river late led to a much longer day than they expected. They were getting frustrated by the distance and their lack of knowledge of where they were going, although they had a map and a river guide with the same map.

Once we arrived at campsite at sunset (Seven Rocks, 11 miles down the river), it was not nearly as pristine as we had hoped. Erin was disappointed that the spring and summer rains had caused it to be washed out and muddy. With everyone tired, the sun setting, and a muddy camp site; it was a tough evening for the crew. The boys were still trying to figure out what was going on and the adults were confused that they did not know or use their resources.

All this being said, It should be noted that Erin was amazed that we got down the River that far from getting into the water that late. It was clear there would be no physical concerns about us being able to complete the trip. The scenery was cool and the Seven Rocks were an impressive rock formation.

As one of the boys noted, a good night sleep solves lots of problems. I went to bed agreeing with that wise advice.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Looking forward to the Trip.

I was really looking forward to the trip down the Brazos. Having been scouting as an adult leader since 1997, at times you get the “been there done that” feeling. The troop had never done this trip, so it was going to be a new adventure for all those involved.

What added to the excitement was that I saw the trip as a culmination of all my years as scoutmaster. One of my Eagle Scouts Erin Fleming, now 23, took time out of his schedule to be river guide. He had been the BRCT staffer and a BRCT director at Worth Ranch. We could not have been in more capable hands.

In addition, another young Assistant Scoutmaster, Zack Wisch, was assisting in the coordination of gear at Worth Ranch, dropping us off at the river and picking the crew up on the last day.

Finally, the majority of the boys going were from my 2008 Philmont Crew. I always reflect on that trip as the best crew I have ever taken on high adventure. I had high expectations for this trip. Three generations of Troop 5 were making this happen.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Brazos Canoe Trip

I have spent the last four days canoeing down the Brazos River as part of the High Adventure portion of Little Troop 5’s scouting program. It was an experience I will never forget. Using the troop’s resources, we were able to do what the Longhorn Council calls the Brazos River Canoe Trip. Troop 5 is lucky to have one of its Assistant Scoutmasters, Erin Fleming, and a former BRCT Director, available to take the troop down the river.
I am going to work very hard in attempting to blog about this trip with the next few days. It had so many different types of highs and lows. Scouting is a leadership program for youth, but it is often a patience program for its adult leaders. This trip tested my limits on my patience as an adult leader. I will admit at times during the trip I failed, but overall, I believe I passed the test.

Each experience in scouting, or life for that matter, whether good or bad, is a learning experience. In the end, the boys of Troop 5 made it down the river just fine and learned quite a bit.

I will attempt to quantify it in the next few posts.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Carol's Birthday Dinner

There are pictures, but for the sake of my marriage, they will not be posted on the blog. I am a little slow on this, dang pesky life. Sunday was Carol’s birthday. It was the tour of meals. I took her to breakfast. Brett and I took her to lunch. Aedan, Tamera, David and I took her to dinner.

We went to Texas Road House for dinner. Texas Road House has a tradition that they bringing out a saddle on a sawhorse, have the birthday person sit on it and the wait staff sings a stupid birthday song. NOONE in this family likes to be the birthday person, but all of us enjoy watching someone else.

I ratted Carol out to the waiter and soon all heck broke loose. I was holding Aedan, watching Tamara and David laugh as Carol started turning beet red in the face. As the commotion of wait staff started to form, Tamara noted to me that Aedan was getting scared and to hand her son to her. I was very slow on the uptake of the situation. The staff was surround Carol and beginning the song, Aedan was crying with concern of what is happening to his grandmother. Tamara again informed me to hand Aeden to her, by now; I was way over my head and attempted to hand Aedan over the table. This of course sent dishes all over the place and a glass of water onto Tamara’s lap. She was quite pleased with me to say the least.

Aedan still was quite upset once the event was over, Tamara was soaking wet, Carol was a tad perturbed and I believe David was ducking for cover. What I learned that evening was that I was not going to have my birthday at Texas Road House.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thank you Note!

Yes I know this is a form letter, but I thought it was funny that the Buffalo Trails Council sent a thank you note to my boss for letting me take the Troop to Summer Camp.

I wager the administrative staff of the Buffalo Trails Scout Ranch were quite please to see me go, with hopes that I would never return. I unfortunately, became “that scoutmaster” that never seemed to be happy in the Staff eyes.

I will admit that an end of a very long day, after a rain storm, after not having a camp site I was a tad short with the people at the trading post when they did not have our pre-order ready. However as an administrator, most of the problems of BTSR could have been solved with someone taking charge, which seemed not to be the case. They did not seem to appreciate it when I pointed that out.

That being said, it was quite thoughtful of them to market the Boy Scout program with people’s employers. I am sure we will go back someday.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July

For the past four years, Carol and I have gone to see the downtown Fort Worth Fireworks. The key to the whole operation is my access to the County Garage on Taylor Street. We back up the pickup on a space on the 4th floor that overlooks the Trinity River and La Grave field.  Of course, I am not the only county employee who does this, there is a rather large crowd on the roof of the building, but I prefer my box seats. This is the first year we have taken the young Tull family. Fun was had by all. Aedan soaked in the fireworks like any 18 month old can.