Games are fun; they build team spirit and provide opportunities to development sportsmanship. In scouting, games give every boy a chance to participate and feel important and they give boys in leadership a practical chance to organize and implement activities that involve and entertain the entire unit. Just playing games makes winners; an important part of the Summer Camp experience.
Baden Powell said, “Scouting is a game, a game with a purpose.” Summer Camp is the ultimate game of the Scouting program; the place where the Aims and Methods connect.
Camp builds fitness.
Fitness is not just physical health and strength – it impacts many levels: mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Hike day challenges every boy and adult. Deep in the backcountry, one becomes weary of walking, but there is no quitting; no try – just do. On the trail, boys reach the limit of what they think they can do and then force themselves to go beyond. They explore the limits of their physical fitness and push past their accustomed comfort level. They find that their mind and spirit can push their body to quality. All boys can grow. Even the strongest find a route to fitness as they serve others who are challenged by barriers they barely notice.
The hike to Survey Peak is one of the most demanding offered at Loll, therefore it is one of the best for building fitness. The rewards of effort are immediately evident to a boy when he stands on top of a mountain.
Rain in Camp is particularly helpful in reaching for fitness. Most campers come from places where they ignore weather, but in Camp they must face and fight it.
Rain, hail, thunder, and lightening add excitment and real danger to life out-of-doors. It is dealing with such real world challenges that give the game of Scouting the magical power to make something better out of those who play the game.
Consider Edger A. Guest’s epitaph for Daniel Carter Beard:
"Do you fear the force of the wind,
The Slash of the Rain?
Go face them and fight them.
Be savage again.
Go hungry and cold like the wolf,
Go wade like the crane.
For the skin of your palms will thicken,
And the skin of your forehead will tan.
You’ll go ragged and weary and swarthy,
But you will walk like a man."
The rain comes, Scouts put on their rain gear, they build up their fires, see to their tents and their buddies; they walk like men.
If there is no rain one can always take a dip in Polar Bear Springs. The way facing the icy waters builds confidence is truly magical.
The Polar Bear tells the boys that ten seconds in the icy water will make them men. It does.
Swamping Canoes is a great exercise in fitness. Most people who upset their boat in an icy mountain lake assume there is nothing left to do but die. At Loll each week, dozens of little boys, two by two with their buddy, tip their canoes and dump themselves into deep, cold water. Then, they right the swamped boat and push it up across another canoe to drain; all the while, treading water for long freezing minutes. Then they climb back in and help the next pair do the same. How fit they are. If they capsize again, anywhere in the world, any time in their life, they won’t die, they will do what they know by experience they can.
The best way to learn you can do something is to do it. The Canoeing Merit Badge teaches life saving and life changing truth.
Swimming for any distance in
Swimming a mile in Lake of the Woods gives a boy a life time of bragging rights.
Fitness is knowing that one has the strength to take care of themself. In Scouting everyone plays the game, not just the strongest, or the best, or the ones with talent or a gift. Everyone who is willing is able, and every experience brings growth.
At Camp one lives Citizenship.
I’ll bet I have seen more flag ceremonies than you. I love watching flag the ceremony where everything goes perfectly; when the flag goes up without a hitch, when everyone is in step, when the Senior Patrol leader remembers everything. But I also enjoy flag ceremonies where the scouts start the flag up the wrong rope so it gets stalled at the carabineer half way up the pole, when the SPL can’t remember what to say and there is a long and awkward pause. I even like it when the flag gets to the top; then the guard steps back to salute and the flag starts back down all on its own. I like these ceremonies because, although I’ve seen such things many times, I have never heard a snicker or jeer. Imagine that, two hundred plus tired teenagers standing in lines while some kid from another “team” makes a blunder, and not making a peep. Why? Respect – respect for the flag, respect for the ceremony, respect for their country. Yes, and respect for the Scoutmaster standing ten feet behind them and for the
This troop is not perfect in their performance or in the respect they give to their flag and country, but they are learning the how of doing both.
In Camp, boys learn by their service to each other and the camp, the blessings they have at home. In camp they must deal with the mess in the shower house. They cook their own meals, gather wood, haul water, burn the garbage, and pack the bear box. No utility delivers the power; no mom is there to provide the meals, no dad to pay the gas bill. There are no garbage men, and no one to pick up after them. The consequences are real world too. When there is a mess in the shower they must stand in it or clean it up, when they leave the trail they see the forest die; leave litter on the trail and fail the inspection, leave your garbage out and get mauled by a bear. When boys complain about cleaning up that mess in the shower, it is the perfect time to talk to them, to point out to them that their parents have cleaned up after them for years. When they grumble about the duty roster, a wise leader will remind them that, back home, some one takes care of them every day.
This is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It is where the Park gets its name. It belongs to me, and to every American.
At the Friday flag ceremony, after the mile swims cards, the Rambo head bands, and the ACE bracelets have been handed out I tell a story.
Rulon’s Story: Years ago a friend of mine looked out the third story window of his high school. This was in the beginning of World War Two. As many of you know,
When Rulon Skinner was the Scout Executive for the Utah National Parks Council, he put together a High Uintah Camp and encouraged the units in his Council to attend. In the middle of the push, a mother came into his office; she slapped her hand down on his desk and demanded, “What could my son possibly get out of a week in the woods that’s worth $25.00.” (Kind of dates the story doesn’t it?) “Why madam,” Rulon replied, “Scouting develops character.” “My son’s already a character,” she replied. “He doesn’t need developing.”
What is Character? My mother used to say, "character is what you do when no one is watching."
I’m a big Paul Harvey fan. One fall I worked as a farmer. At the time I was engaged to a farmer's daughter. I lost the daughter and the farm within six months, but that fall I spent many hours driving her father’s tractor up and down seemingly endless grain fields in the hills above
Here’s a monologue from Paul Harvey called "My Hope for You".
"We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse.
For my grandchildren, I'd like better. I'd like them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would. My beloved grandson, I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you turn sixteen, I hope you have a job by then. It will be good if at least once in your life you see a baby calf born and your old dog put to sleep.
I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in, I hope you have to share a bedroom with your little brother. It's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him. When you go to a Disney movie, and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you let him.
I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope your driver won’t have to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone so uncool as your Mom. If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.
I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like. May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove, and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend. I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle.
May you feel sorrow at a funeral and the joy of holidays. I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster of Paris mold of your hand. These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness.
Written with a pen."
I was lucky enough to have watched Ronald Reagan’s funeral. It was the week between school and camp. I watched all day as I packed for
The Scout Law is all about Character. If a boy is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent, he will have good character.1977
In the begining we did everything in the parking lot. This is a Flag Ceremony - a young Senior Patrol Leader, Jeff Curtis, leads the Camp. Jeff was on Staff the next year.
One of the first "events" we held as a Camp was the Two Mile race. The entire camp would meet in the parking lot and anyone who wanted to could race up to the top of the Hill and back down. Dean Mohonri and I stayed with the spectators. We told stories and had some great talks with our campers. This is where the storyteller part of my camp persona had its beginning.
Another Camp wide event had always been the Water Front Olympics. One game was the Match Relay. The participants included a wader, a swimmer, two guys in a canoe, and two runners who relay the match back around the end of the lake to strike it on the Staffmember's clip board. This Staffer is Jeff Curtis.
One of the problems with the Water Front Olympics was that most of the Camp stood around for several hours doing nothing but watching while a few heroes played.
Another problem was that during the Olympics all the rules the Scouts had been taught all week long at the Water Front were broken. This is the In-and-Out Canoe Race.
Although the Olympics were our big inter-troop program, we've long had activities in the parking lot. Here Staffer Dave Barton plays an Indian Game with his class. The man in the pigtails is Red Tail who was on the Staff at Treasure Mountain Scout Camp. I had met him at Camp School and he had come on a visit to Loll. The next year many of us would be at Treasure Mountain.
Let the Games Begin: My experience at Scout Camp has always included Camp Wide Games. The Highland Games which we run every Thursday night at Loll evolved over many years out of the best aspects of similar activities from many different camps. We have added many new activities, dropped some events and adjusted certain aspects of others; combining the good points of many. I owe a lot to my Program Directors over the years: Leonard Hawkes, Curtis Grow, Trent Warner, and Jody Orme. We have reduced the pressure of competition between units, emphasizing individual achievement - that which the Greeks called Arete. Some events have been eliminated for safety reasons: we no longer do match-lighting with a hatchet or build fires in the spruce grove. Some games have been dropped due to time or space constraints. At the Loll Games we no longer play Blob, nor do we play Old Sow as part of the Wide Games event. Scouts will play Old Sow for hours, and we would never get out of the woods. Since we also offer Scout Craft Skill Events on Tuesday night, we have segregated those events into that venue. For all the progressions, the purpose, the Aims, of the games remain Fitness, Citizenship, and Character Development.
I also want to warn you; you’ve got to understand; that if you don’t provide boys something to do they will come up with it on their own; they’ll tar the hog.1983
During Staff Week at Treasure Mountain we held a Staff Olympics. That's Leonard Hawkes in the Green with the flag staff. Brian Bock and Shaun Oborn also came from Loll, and as you can tell by their tee shirts are not about to forget it.
After each event we awarded medals and crowns of fir. Note the Olympic Flame burning in the background. The winner of the gold here is Dave Shupe, Jerry Lainheart won silver, Brian Bock at bronze.
Tarred Hog: Of course there is another reason why we play games at camp. I understand why kids need games because I was a kid once. In fact I was a rather rambunctious youth, to the point that my parents found it difficult to live with me. Oh, they didn’t mind the winter that much; I was either asleep or in school most of the day, but as the long summer days approached; when I say long summer days, I’m not kidding, we lived in Anchorage Alaska, and the sun doesn’t go down for any appreciable amount of time in the summer in Alaska; my parents became concerned. Their solution was to ship me off to my Grandparent’s place in
My Grandpa leased a big ranch right in the middle of the Indian reservation up in
In those days I thought my Grandpa a perfect man. Now, looking back, I can see he had his flaws. For example, he used to talk politics at the dinner table. In fact, I remember one night his saying that the Mayor ought to be tarred and feathered. The town was thirty-five miles away but it was the only one so we knew everybody in it. This Mayor weighed well over three hundred pounds, and the thought of him completely covered in feathers stuck in my mind. It was something I wanted to see realized in the tactile world but I knew the Mayor would not cooperate. Does that stop a kid, especially a kid with imagination and time on his hands? I say unto you – it is impossible.
My Grandpa had on that ranch a hog that looked an awful lot like the mayor; I figured he would do in a pinch. But, I knew my Grandpa would be protective of his hog, so I had to find a time when I could get my hands on the hog without my Grandpa knowing it. Now this wasn’t going to be difficult since I was an observant child and I had noticed a cause and effect relationship that I could use to my advantage.
You see, my Grandma, belonged to a group know as the Sweet Adelines. How many of you have heard of the Sweet Adelines? It is a singing group. These ladies would rotate from one ranch to another, do some singing, considerable gossiping, and eat fancy treats that they never take the trouble to prepare for their families. I know that sounds a lot like the Relief Society. Be that as it may, I had noticed that whenever the Sweet Adelines came to our ranch, Grandpa always had work to do out on the north forty. All I had to do was find the day on the calendar circled in red and marked Sweet Adelines and I knew the hog would be in my power.
That day we headed for the barn. My older brother was with me; he was very useful in activities that required muscle. We didn’t have any tar. But does that stop a kid? No. You see my Grandpa had a big Folgers Coffee can filled with pine pitch glue. Now the only difference between tar and pine pitch glue is that when pine pitch is cold its as hard as amber, which is really what it is, and when heated to the proper temperature it takes on the consistency of honey. In fact it makes a great trick sandwich if you’re into that kind of thing. We hauled that can of pitch down to the barn and put it on the wood stove to warm. We didn’t have any feathers either, but my Granny did collect goose down; to stuff pillows and comforters and the like. The only difference between a down and a feather is a feather has a stick down the middle and a down does not. I figured I could over look this, so we pulled two big bundles of down from the loft and headed for the pig sty. All that was left was to get the cooperation of the hog.
This wasn’t hard because I knew what hogs like, they like corn. My Granny had some corn. It’s called Indian corn. You know, red and purple, all shot through with gold and silver. She had a big bundle of it which she hung at the front door every Thanksgiving and left it there through New Years. But this was July so I knew she wouldn’t be needing it. I handed the bundle of corn to my brother. His job was to stand in front of the hog and keep its attention. This left the hind end, which was the part that looked most like the Mayor, for me. I slathered that pine pitch all over that hog’s hind end. You talk about your glazed hams; this was a thing of beauty. Where every bristle bent, it caught the sun like a rhinestone. Then I pasted on those feathers. Have you ever seen those Hostess cupcakes made out of marshmallows, all covered with shredded coconut; a pink one and a white one. Well, get rid of the pink one; take two white ones and squeeze them together just a bit and you have a picture of what I was looking at.
But, I noticed that there was a bald spot, about the size of my hand, on the left side – that’s running with the hog. Now, my hands were smaller in those days, but I have always been a perfectionist, so I figured I’d touch up. When I got to the pitch can, it had gone cold. All the pitch was either congealed on the sides of the can, or gluing the brush to the bottom. I ran back up to the barn, put that coffee can on the stove and pumped the bellows a couple of times. You might imagine the sound of that pitch as it began to bubble and flow down the sides to come to a boil in the bottom. That can was so hot, I had to pick it up with a pliers. I ran back to the pig sty, loading that brush up with that boiling pitch. When I got there, I planted it on that hog’s hind end. He forgot all about the corn, he forgot about the pig sty, he forgot about my brother. He went over the top of all three and up the front lawn and into the parlor with the Sweet Adelines. The only creature on that ranch with a sorer hind-end than that hog; myself, with the possible exception of my brother.
At Treasure Mountain we held the Water Front Olympics in Treasure Lake. Here a very young James Coburn serves as the "wader" for the Match Relay.
Jerry Lainheart, a true winner whose story I will tell someday, was our anchor man on the running part of the race. We always had the staff compete in the games, although they were always disqualified on some pretext.
This gross violation of Water Front safety rules was called the Centipede Race. The good thing about life guarding on Treasure Lake: all the life guard had to do if someone's boat went under was yell, "stand up!"
Because Treasure Lake was so small we had to come up with some suplementry events at T. M. We played our Wide Games on the field infront of the flag poles. Here Scott Pierce directs the Tug-O-War.
Shawn Oborn and Red Tail, in full Indian garb, run the Trading Session.
Here we play Blob on the Flag Ground at Treasure Mountain.
Doug Hopper and Shawn Oborn man the Caber Toss.
This is Cave Man Bowling done right.
Here the Chamberlain brothers participate in the Indian Scalp Game with the campers.
Here are some games to play with Scouts:
Old Sow: Sticking with the pig theme; we all know how an old sow is plumbed. There are so many feeding stations and sometimes there are more piglets than there are places to eat. If you’re the runt, and no little girl with her spider show up to save you, you starve. That is the premise behind Old Sow. (I was taught the game by Vern and Winston before I ever went to camp. The game has many names, but the one Vern used seems best to me.)
These Scout Leaders are learning Old Sow at a Round Table at Camp Bartlett in1985.
Scouts love Old Sow because it has the appearance of violence. One begins by arming each scout with a club or staff, one they can wield like a hockey stick. Recently I’ve been suggesting scout staves; they are smooth and are for sale at the Trading Post. The Scouts can get their own Old Sow Stick out of the woods but be sure to remove all the snags; they will dig furrows in the palms of the player’s hands during the heat of the game.
The Scouts form a ring around a central hole. This hole is the belly button of the old sow. Each Scout digs a small hole at their point on the ring to represent the feeding stations on the sow’s belly. There must be one more player than there are holes in the ring. This odd player begins at the belly button by using his stick to push an empty tin can toward any other hole. The mouth of the can should be smashed shut so no one can shove their stick in it during the game. The goal of the game is for the runt (the guy in the middle) to push the can up against any other stick in the ring while that stick is still in its hole. If he does this, he claims the hole; the player thus ousted must take his place in the middle. If this happens to any player three times in any given game that piglet “starves to death” and must go to hog heaven. One of the holes is then filled in and the game continues until there are only two piglets and two holes left. These are the winners and they are taken to the butcher – the ultimate goal of all good piglets.
Of course no player is going to stand by while the runt pushes the can (his snout) into their feeding station. As the runt approaches, the defender will take their stick out of the hole and try to knock the can away. The challenge is that once the stick is out of the hole, any player in the circle can claim it by placing his stick in any empty hole. This leaves the other players to race for any vacated hole and the entire group scrambling.
The game requires a referee to enforce one very important rule. No one is allowed to raise the business end of their stick above the ankle bone. This confines all damage to the feet and boots of the players.
Bat and Moth: Some call this game Marco Polo, but in a Camp setting, the nature theme is more appropriate. The Scouts form a circle. Start fairly big – arms out stretched. This forms the cave in which the bat will hunt the moth. Pick one to be the bat and blindfold him. Once the bat’s eyes are covered, select another player to be the moth. Spin the bat around a few times to muddle his sense of direction and then begin the hunt. The bat says “bat”. At the speed of sound, the moth must say “moth”. The moth can dodge and weave as much as he likes. The bat repeats his call again and again, the moth responding as the bat chases his dinner down by sound. Explain about how bats hunt as a set up to the game. If the bat has trouble catching his dinner, the referee can call, “cave-in,” at which the circle moves in on each other, restricting the moth’s movements and improving the bats chances. If the bat gets too near the cave wall the cave can call out, “cave”. Once the bat has nabbed his dinner, he removes the blindfold. He becomes detritus – part of the cave – the moth is blindfolded and becomes the new bat. Continue the game until all have had a chance to play both roles.
Loll Staffer, James Phillips sets up Bat and Moth in the Spruce Grove, 2010.
Indian Curling: I learned this game while visiting the troops. A great old Scoutmaster had his boys contentedly playing it. I stole the game at once and added it to Loll’s trove. I usually introduce this game by reminding every one of the 1992 Winter Olympics. They were held in
To set up the game, find one large and as many small rocks as you will have players. Place the big rock (about the size of a human head) in the middle of an open space. Everyone then selects a small stone and puts one foot against the center stone. Then everyone simultaneously takes two giant steps back. Then go around the circle of players and have each cast their stone. The thrower whose stone lands farthest from the big one, must leave the game. All who remain return to the center. This time they take three steps back before casting their stones. The process of casting and elimination continues until you have a winner.
These games are fun, more importantly, all develop Fitness, Citizenship and Character. All require some physical effort,: running aiming, dodging. And there is more. In Old Sow, note who keeps track of how many times a player has been sent to the middle? Each player does, and no one cares. The game is about having fun, not about winning or losing. One develops strength and skill and cunning, with no need to worry about scores.
There is more to Bat and Moth than running and dodging. I’ve noticed an interesting detail: the amount of time between the bat saying bat and the moth saying moth is often reversely proportionate to the distance between the two. This isn’t physics, but maintaining good form in this case is a good way to develop character.
In the same way, determining whose stone is the farthest from the big rock is a wonderful exercise in democratic consensus. Won’t it be great when it means more to a Scout to do what is fair and true than to win another toss?
My Dad always used to say, “as you travel down life’s highway, let this be your goal; keep your eye upon the doughnut and not upon the hole.”
In 1986 we were back at Loll. Once more we held the Water Front Olympics, but now we sent the Gods to run around the Camp and gather the Scouts to the Flag Pole. We got this idea from Treasure Mountain. T. M. is such a big camp you have to do a lot of gathering. We continued the practice at Bartlett and now at Loll. These Gods are, left to right, Dave Maughn, Alan Francis, and Bruce Liston.
At the Flag Pole we provided some activities for the guys before sending them to the beach. Here Mark Danials demonstates Indian Dancing.
This is Curtis Weller, lighting the torch for the Staff Week Olympics. In the background the various departments represent the city states in competition.
Doug Hopper heads up the Water Front crew.
The Marathon was twenty-six times around the Island. Trent Warner leads the way. Remember Phillipides.
Here Trent participates in the Poetry Contest, in those days an important part of the Staff Olympics.
In the late 80's and early 90's the Olympics were still the "main even". Here the Gods prepare to make their ceremonial dive into the lake. Let the Games begin.
Indains ceremonies were to be an important part of the Wide Games and the Honor Trail. Doug and Dave Hopper set the standard.
One of the best things about the Wide Games is that the boys get to play with the Staff. Here at the Indian Arm Wrestle friendship is a hands-on experience.
Trent Warner organizes the Bat and Moth game.
The Camp Loll Cooks attend the games in the Grove: left to right - Shannon Conner, Carolyn Conner, and Lorinda Hopper.
Here is the Commissioner Crew of 91 - left to right, Dan Reeder, Craig Miller, Paul Bates, and Mateo Remsburg.
As always the Staff models and the Scouts follow. Here Jason Jackson, left, arm wrestles our real Indian, Trent Warner.
Trent then goes on to direct the Scouts in competition. The boy in the purple shirt and home-made shorts is Lafe Conner. He is a winner.
The Nail Driving Game: For two years I was the District Scout Executive in Jackson Hole,
Jeff Wilcox with a fine skull collected on the Elk Refuge and ready for auction. Jeff still lives in Jackson. He has taken the Camp Loll Staff on some wonderful rides down the Snake River.
The Antlers are bundled and made ready for sale.
In that office we held our monthly Cub Scout Round Table. As anyone who has ever attended a Cub Scout Round Table knows, this is the most important meeting for a Cub Leader. There all the activities for the Den and Pack meeting for the month are presented. Our Round Table Commissioner was Peggy of Peggy’s Cakes of Jackson Hole. One night we had just finished playing the Nail Driving Game. You place two boards at one end of a long room with a nail started equal distance, into each. At the other end of the room you form two relay lines and arm each with a hammer. The first runner in each line takes the hammer to the nail and gets one swing. Hit, miss, bend it over, or ting in out, he gets one swing then runs back and hands off the hammer to the next in line. The relay runs until one team drives their nail flush. By the way, make sure that the boards are thicker than the nails are long, otherwise you are going to attach them right to the hardwood.
That night we finished the race and everyone was panting and blowing as we put our chairs back into the semicircle. Peggy produced a huge pink paste-board box filled with beautifully decorated cupcakes and began handing them out. She gave one to everyone – One to “she who ran with the cutest wiggle”, one to “he who held the hammer with the most determination” and so on. Soon everyone in the room had a cupcake, or the remains thereof, in their hand. Peggy stood back just beaming. “Whenever you play a game in Scouting,” she said, “you need to be sure to give everyone a prize.” Sitting right in front of her was the Cub Master who was also the Little League baseball Coach. “Why’s that?” he demanded. “Because we want to teach them to be, (I’m not sure why she chose these words), good losers.” “Lady,” growled the Cub Master, “show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” That fellow was lucky I was there, because she was considerably bigger than he was. I got in between the two of them and pushed them back into the far corners of the room where all they could do was shout at each other. But they got me thinking, “do we really want to teach our kids to be losers, even good losers?” I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this over the years, and I’ve decided that it all depends on how one defines the word loser; how one defines the word winner.
Roy Nakatani: I started out my
This is the 1984 Camp Bartlett Staff at their Olympic Games on Grizzly Field. This is the view looking down toward Fife Lake.
Still at the Staff Olympics, the race was once around Fife Lake. You can see Grizzly Field in the background.
By my third year on staff, I had worked my self up in the camp director’s esteem to the point that I was appointed Tug-O-War Director. I was determined to do my best and “spice” up the action. There was a ditch running down the middle of Grizzly Field, so I would run the rope across the ditch, so the winners could drag the losers down into the ditch. That would be great fun, for the winners, and for me. Of course the problem with a ditch at
Now, you probably think it’s a pretty easy job, Tug-O-War director at a Boy Scout Camp, but there are challenges. For instance, have you ever noticed that Scout troops come in different sizes? How do you have a tug-o-war between a troop of eight kids and a troop of 18 kids? At the time I was 17, so I knew everything, and I knew how to handle this. I’d look across the field and count the number of scouts in each troop. When they got to me I’d turn to the bigger troop and say, “you can pick eight guys.” Want to guess which eight they picked, and do you want to guess who won that Tug-O-War? But, it was fair.
One day I looked across the field and there came Roy Nakatani of the
The Highlanders became part of the Wide Games while we were at Cherry Valley in California. Jason Jackson pointed out that the Commissioners and the Scouts lived in the Highlands while the rest of the Staff lived down canyon in the "lowlands". He started wearing a kilt, boy did that catch on, and the whole Staff went in search of their Celtic roots.
Highlanders love their woad. These fearsome Celtic heroes are, left to right, Tatton Blackner, Russell Stevens, and J. D. McBride.
The nemesis of the Highlanders is the Wee Scout. Here he has "dissed" the Games and faces justice. This Wee Scout is Mitch Sutherland. Watch for him in the pictures coming up, it will be proof that the weeist Scout grows up.
At this monent one wonders if he will even live out the night. This is of course the most gratuitous violence, but remember - don't try this at home -the Wee Scout is a trained professional.
Sometimes the Highlanders look a little like Smurfs - it's all part of the fun. Here they are teaching the scouts to dance a jig.
At the Indian Scalp Game the whole troop starts out in the battle. It can be inter or intra troop and gives everyone a chance for individual achievement. It is not always the biggest or the strongest who is the last one standing.
Everyone get a chance to play - here the adult leaders try their hands at the Tug-O-War. It's about getting everyone playing, everyone winning.
At the Indain Leg Wrestle one stays in as long as they can throw the other guy. When you lose the wrestle you need not lose your dignity. Just get up and cheer the next guy on.
This is the Indian Rope Game. The Staff brings down a tub of ropes and the Scouts play as long as they want. Many stay at it from start to dark.
I have a favorite poem called
This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:-
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle’s edge,
And thought, “had I a sword of keener steel –
That blue blade that the king's son bears – but this
Blunt thing!” – he snapped and flung it from his hand.
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king’s son, wounded, sore bested,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt – buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle – shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.
In Scouting we fight the great fight for the king’s sons. We have wonderful “blue blades”, like
The Highlanders teach the Scouts to sing "McTavish Is Dead": McTavish is dead and his brother don't know it, his brother is dead and McTavish don't know it. They're both lying dead in the very same bed, and neither one knows that the other is dead. Then they teach the scouts a jig to dance while singing the tune.
These excellent specimens of Celtic manhood are, left to right - Cory Christensen, Travis Billings, and Matt Bredthauer.
A second set of Highlanders dance and sing to the Scouts delight. Here we replace Travis with Jacob Mortensen.
Every Scout wants to be these guys. They completely immerse themselves in the game, they demonstrate enthusiasm and good sportmanship; they are obvious winners and they don't need any scoreboard. The Scouts grow by joining them to play.
Could it be the "Old Man and the Sea"? One can hope that the memories of the contests and efforts of this night will strengthen these boys in the years to come.