Relief of Maefking Camporee

October 12, 2009

Our District’s Fall Camporee this weekend took on ‘The Relief of Mafeking‘. The troop planning the program put on a 24-hour survival operation based on proficiency in First Class skills. Scouts were tested on their ability to react to a high stress, low-rest environment while performing Scout Skills in an outdoor environment.

Stations included:

  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Action Archery Lane
  • Canoe Crossing
  • Swimmer Rescue
  • Land Navigation
  • River Crossing (simulation)
  • Submarine Battle game
  • Bear Bag Hang
  • Shelter Establishment
  • Water Boil
  • Victim Extraction
  • Minefield Clearing
  • Breakfast
  • Scout Oath and Law

The Camporee guide outlined materials required for each Scout and each Team of 4. Individual Scouts were to carry items such as a 2nd Class First Aid Kit, mess kit, 2 quarts of water, raingear, a canoe paddle and PFD. Team equipment included a tarp, 100′ and 500′ lengths of rope, large skillet and spatula.  The guide recommended that Troops train to:

  1. Become familiar with identifying certain trees and shrubs
  2. Become familiar finding sings of certain prairie animals
  3. Become proficient tying two-half hitches, tautlines, bowlines, and timber hitches
  4. Develop methods of carrying victims long distances
  5. Develop methods to throw ropes with great accuracy
  6. Figure out how to light fires quickly, with and without matches
  7. Determine an azimuth and measure distances for land navigation

I like the idea of a challenging event. Our camporees often center around a Merit Badge, which is nice to expose Scouts to different topics but can end up too much like Scout School. The thing is, we have boys from age 7 to 17 in Scouting (and up to 21 in Venturing) with many different skills and interests. There’s a big difference in interests between a new Tiger Cub & his Akela and a 2nd year Webelos about to earn his Arrow of Life. Activities that draw a high school freshman Star Scout may draw yawns from the college freshman Venture Scout.

There has to be some balance in our Troop programs between learning skills and opportunities to demonstrate proficiency. This event drew the interest of several of our older Scouts, but the other half of our troop are still working on their First Class rank. It’s one thing to challenge youth. It’s another thing to set them up for exclusion and failure.

Even so, our Troop put together a team and was ready to go a week out. Then we got a look at the weather forecast. Low of 20*F and 4” of snow. This is doable with the right equipment; however, our Troop does NOT have the right equipment for 4-season camping. By Friday night there was One Scout standing: a Tenderfoot. Two Assistant Scoutmasters had volunteered to help out with the event so they did camp Friday night. I myself took the opportunity to be Akela with my Bear Cub for the Cub Scout day camp activities.

Hopefully next year we’ll Be BETTER Prepared.



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