It’s All Over Except For The Packing

Photo Credit: BSA photo by Ron Kuenstler

Photo Credit: BSA photo by Ron Kuenstler

The 2013 National Jamboree is over. That is, except for the final packing.

Today the boys had a lot of different exciting activities. Four boys got up extra early to get in line for one of the zip lines, hoping to get a turn on the line before their white water rafting. Unfortunately, a lot of other boys seemed to have similar ideas about getting out early and after standing in line for a couple hours, our guys realized there was no way they could get through the zip line in time.

Most of Troop C140 spent the morning up at The Cloud, a STEM-based area with a lot of demonstrations and hands-on activities around science and technology. Many of the boys tried the dragon breath. No, that has nothing to do with not brushing their teeth all week (though I can’t promise they all did that regularly either). The dragon breath involved a graham cracker that had been soaked in liquid nitrogen. After eating the cracker, the boys blew smoke like a dragon. Some also compounded different concoctions, tried some electricity experiments, took part in a virus transmission simulation, and witnessed a pressurized water bomb. It was pretty cool.

About 17 of the boys headed to white water rafting at Noon, leaving 12 boys in camp for the afternoon. Three of those guys got to do the Big Zip. a 3,000′-plus long zip line from one ridge top, across Bravo Lake some 150′ below, and traveling up to 60 mph. The rest took in various activities or did some last minute shopping for souvenirs. The white water guys came back very pumped about their ride and the fun they had goofing off in the river.

Once everyone was back in camp we started the process of packing for home. Boys started cleaning out their tents, gathering all their personal items, cleaning out their tents, packing their duffle bags and backpacks, cleaning out their tents…you get the picture.

After an all-American dinner of hot dogs, chilli, macaroni salad and apple pie, the guys started the camp packing in earnest. The Invisible People had KP and worked extra duty to clean all the pots and pans, inside and out, to get ready for packing in the equipment boxes. All the cooking and kitchen equipment as well as the general camp supplies were loaded. The youth leaders decided to have all the boys pack up their cots, consolidate into 8 tents (from 15), and drop the remaining youth and supply tents. At present, we have 8 youth tents, 4 leaders’ tents and cots, and a dining fly to pack up in the morning. Adults’ alarms are set for 4AM so we can pack up our extra stuff. The boys will be up and moving by 4:30 to finish their packing.

We will marshal all our personal equipment to our subcamp headquarters by 7AM. Our bus driver is supposed to be allowed onto the property between 6:30 and 7:00, which should have him at Charlie 1 sometime not long after 7:00. We will load our gear, take our muddy and wet shoes off, and get on the bus.

Our plan is for a late-morning brunch in Lexington, KY, and a short dinner stop in Mt. Vernon, IL. We will have the boys start calling when we approach Wentzville to let parents know about when we should arrive in Kingdom City. The current plan is between 9:30 and 10:00.

The boys are ready for the trip home–and I’m pretty sure the adults are too. It has been a very fun Jamboree, despite the weather issues we dealt with. The boys all seem to have had a great time and made the most of the circumstances. But it’s been a long trip. Everyone is tired and some of the boys’ patience with one another can wear a bit thin. The guys are ready to be in their own beds and taking hot showers. Even after 9 days, I must say I still am not acclimated to these “ambient showers”.

So this is the last blog post on the last day of the inaugural National Jamboree at The Summit Bechtel Family Scout Reserve. It has been a blessing to have the opportunity to share this experience with this group of boys and great team of adult leaders. But don’t take it personally when I say that I’m looking forward to you greeting your boys tomorrow night. 😉

Signing off from the 2013 Jamboree…good night, and good Scouting!