A Great Time at S-F

I feel like the title of this post is a little repetitive.  Yet, it felt worth stating.  I spent last Saturday afternoon/night at S-F Scout Ranch for the Shawnee Lodge’s Fall Reunion.  I am a big fan of the Order of the Arrow and really missed the Fall Reunion these past five years.  I went down with three of my good friends and I don’t think I could have had a better time at camp.

We were able to see many camp staff friends and I reconnected with a number of adults who I know.  I caught up on some of the goings on that I have missed by not being in St. Louis.  We had our chapter meeting during which time elections were held.  I used to be the New Horizons Chapter Chief – and wow our chapter has come a long way!  I knew some of the people running (many of whom won 🙂 ) and met several others.

We got invited to join a troop for dinner – one of the benefits of having been around and getting know great people.  We walked from the end of the camporee field to the Camp Gamble aquatics area (for those who know, as decent distance) to see a cabin that was built by hand over the summer.  I was pretty impressed.

In the evening I attended a Brotherhood ceremony and got to walk through Camp Famous Eagle to a ceremony site on Nims Lake, one of my favorite places for ceremonies.  The ceremonial team did an amazing job!  I’ve seen a number of Brotherhood Ceremonies since I got the Brotherhood Honor, but this was far and away the best!  After the ceremony, we hung out at S-F for a while and then went to Steak-N-Shake in Farmington with a pretty big group of camp staff/OA guys, before heading back to St. Louis.

To pretty much everyone reading this post all of this probably seems like mundane details.  But it makes me smile.  I really do love S-F.  While things there and in St. Louis Scouting have changed a lot over the past few years, it still feels like home.  In fact, I realized that I had the phone number for S-F in my phone as “work,” appropriate while I worked there.  Now I think I will re-label that as home.

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Visiting Camp

Again, this should have been posted a while ago.  I’m trying to catch up now.  Because of that, this post is shorter and perhaps more of an overarching view as opposed to the details I had originally planned on posting.

I visited camp last weekend, June 11-13, and this past Thursday, June 17, night for the Order of the Arrow Call Out Ceremony.  S-F Scout Ranch is truly an amazing place.  I have had so many memories there with so many amazing people (including many of my best friends) that not spending the summer there is definitely a major life change.

It is strange to be at camp and not be in charge of things.  I have worked for the past four summers as the Business Manager at Camp Famous Eagle and one earlier summer as a Nature/Troop Counselor at Camp Gamble (teaching Soil & Water Conservation Merit Badge, among other things).  As Business Manager, I learned the inner workings of the camp and over the years, amassed more knowledge and more responsibility than typically associated with the position.  As such, I have been having nightly conversations with people at camp to both find out how camp is going and offer thoughts/suggestions.  I have spent a lot of time teaching this year’s Business Manager how to do his job, along with referring him to his supervisors for more detail.

It is strange to return to camp without any obligations or responsibility.  I do like the freedom that comes with it.  I even went to Huck’s Cove, the private Scout “water park” on Nims Lake without my cell phone for the first time in four years.  I did not have to be available for any issues – how strange!  Nevertheless, I felt an obligation to help out and a sort of longing to belong and be a part of it all again.  I have certainly been welcomed and have enjoyed spending time with my friends and getting to know the new staff members.

We (can I still say that?  I think so…) have a great staff and I do like many of the first year staffers.  Hopefully, I can impart some of my knowledge upon them and help them in their experiences.  I have helped/trained the staff with check-in and assisted with behind the scene details for the Order of the Arrow ceremony.  I am glad to be a part of the camp, even in a minor way.  It is definitely an internal struggle though to refer issues/questions to other people who should deal with them – especially when I know the right response and they may not yet know.  It is part of the learning/growing process though.

I’ve enjoyed my visits thus far.  I plan to visit again this weekend and then, hopefully, another two weekends throughout the summer.  It is a great “escape” from the city life for me, a chance to visit friends, an opportunity to return “home”.  I do need to balance spending time with friends and family in St. Louis with my time at camp.  I hope that I do this successfully.  Spending time at camp off and on throughout the summer is definitely something I look forward to.  I am excited to see how the summer at Boy Scout camp progresses – and what my friendships look like at the end of the summer.