20 years of Summer Camp and still counting!

Today I am diligently working on clearing my desk and packing my stuff. It it is that time of year again. Yes it is time for Boy Scout Summer Camp! Tomorrow I will hit the road, along with 11 other adult, to take 36 boys for a week at Camp Thunder, Georgia. Yeah, that’s right.. 36!

If my math is correct, this will make 20 years that I have been involved in making preparation, loading up the trailer and hitting the road to Scout camp. That makes a lot of miles and a lot of memories. Our first trip was i 1994, when my oldest son Tyler made his first trip to camp. Jo Ann and I and the two youngest boys tagged along to Camp Comer in Mentone AL, a beautiful spot in northeast Alabama on Look Out Mountain. Little did we know that it would be the beginning of an annual pilgrimage that would last all these years.

That first year there were about 12 boys in the Troop. Over the years, the Troop has grown.. and grown.. and grown. Last year we took 27 Scouts to Camp Buck Tom in Tennessee. That was a record number for us. This year we are blowing that record out of the water!

We have been fortunate that we have had many wonderful trips over the years. The fun and camaraderie are hard to put into words. There is something special about taking a group of boys, most of them between 11 years old to 16 years old, on an extended trip and seeing them not only have fun, but also grow, mature and become self reliant. For many of them, this is the first time they have gone off “on their own” for an extended period of time. Remarkably, they seem to have no problem leaving Mom and Dad at home. The problem, particularly for first timers, is getting Momma to be cool with her baby going off in the woods for a week. LOL.

I should say here, that getting everything together and pulling off a successful trip doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of work and planning. Planning is not my forte’. I am more of a big picture kind of person. Fortunately, my wife Jo Ann has a head for logistics that would be the envy of a four star general. People often tell me what a good job I have done putting together a summer camp trip. The truth is, if it were up to me, we would still be sitting around trying to figure out where we were going to camp for 2008. But fortunately, she is a master at figuring things out. When I left home this morning, she was sitting at the kitchen table with a stack of small bills, stuffing spending money envelopes for everybody. And that is only a small part of what she does to make these things go off without a hitch.

Our summer camp trips generally involve some sort of fun activity on the way to camp. Camp Thunder is just south of Atlanta, so Sunday we are taking a detour for a day at Six Flags over Georgia. Some of our other fun days have included Disney World, Rock City, Silver Dollar City, Desoto Caverns and Raccoon Mountain. Last year, we went caving in Chattanooga and spent the night sleeping in the cave. Hopefully, we are making memories that will last a lifetime.

Some of your first year guys ready for Wilderness Survival at Camp Buck Toms

Caving!

We try to keep things fun and light at camp. We do things like declaring that today is Crazy Hat Day:
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Our guys always take pride in looking sharp for evening flag and dinner. Here is a pic from 4 years ago at Camp Comer.
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By the way, although they weren’t then, I count 8 Eagle Scouts in that picture.

Camp Lanochee 2012

One thing that always amazes my about camp is the fact that our guys, who I have reliable reports can’t see the floor in their room at home, always keep things ship shape enough to score 100% on campsite inspections.
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While camp can be a lot of fun, it is important that discipline be maintained at all times:
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There are always lots of activities and Merit Badge classes to keep the guys busy. But every once in a while you have to just take the opportunity to do something different and let boys be boys. Like spending an afternoon hiking to a waterfall which empties into a very cold swimming hole:
Twin Falls, Camp Orr Arkansas
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I don’t know yet what this Summer Camp will hold. But you can bet I can’t wait to find out!

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Welcome to my new blog

Welcome to my new blog.  Writing my own blog is something I have considered doing for some time now.  I like to write and have been told I am pretty good at it.  In a sense, I am a professional writer, since much of my work time involves written communication. But, nobody wants to read that.  I like to think that one day I will try my hand at writing the Great American Novel.  But in the meantime, I have a day job, so blogging will have to do

My inspiration for starting this is my high school friend, Sharon King. Sharon writes a delightful blog call Midlife Moments.  You can find it here: http://midlifemoments.me  I love reading what is on her mind.  Her writing can be powerful, insightful and witty.  It has made me laugh out loud and cry unashamedly. She even let me do a guest blog for her one time.  When I did, I thought “this could be fun.”  I also thought, if she can do this, so can I!  😉

Sharon focuses on her trials and triumphs as a single, middle aged woman in today’s world. Well, I don’t know much about that kind of thing, so I guess I’ll just have to write about what I know. By now, you may be asking yourself “just what is that?”  Good question. When I figure it out, I will let you know. In the meantime, I can tell you about who I am and maybe that will give you some clues about what I may write about.

I am a 50something white guy.  I am a husband to the same wonderful girl I married 31 years ago.   I am a father.  I have three sons who are grown and on their own.  I am self employed and have been most of my adult life.  I am no George Clooney, but I have been told I have the body of a god. Unfortunately people mean Buddha when they tell me that.  But, I am used to that.

I am an American. I was blessed enough to have been born in the greatest country on earth. Sorry, but I don’t apologize for that.  I am a patriot.  I love my country, but don’t trust my government. I am among the youngest of the true Baby Boomers.   I am a Southerner.  I was born and raised the Deep South back when that really meant something about who you were.  I have a sign that hangs on the wall in my office that says “American by birth, Southern by the grace of God.”  I believe that. Really.   I am a gun owner and an NRA member.  I am not a right wing nut job, but I also know that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t have a thing to do with hunting.

I am a sinner, but that’s okay, because I am washed in the blood of the Lamb.  I was raised a hard shell, foot washing Southern Baptist.  I still am, although I might not be as devout as my Momma and Daddy would have hoped I would be a this point in my life.   I spent most of my life believing I was a Republican, but have come to the conclusion that these days I am really more of a conservative libertarian.  My first political hero was Ronald Reagan.  My current once are Herman Cain, Rand Paul and Judge Andrew Napolitano.

I like movies.  Particularly anything about World War II or anything with John Wayne.  I have varied tastes in music, so I am good with both country and western.  I would much rather listen to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline or Willie Nelson over Billy Joel or Taylor Swift and don’t even get me started on Justin Bieber.  I am told I am funny and make friends easily, but my best friend is the same guy it was when I was in second grade.  That’s just how we roll.  I love to eat and I love to cook.  But if you want to know about my cooking, don’t expect anything light and fruity or healthy and delicious.  When I cook the food is brown hot and there is plenty of it, usually involving, or served over, rice.

I decided to call this Blog Advice from an Old Grouch.  I am open minded and more or less respectful of other people’s views.  However, I have reached that stage in life when you realize you don’t have enough years left to put up with stupid anymore.  Most of this blog will be about my take on life and the world we live in today.  I will occasionally write about political issue that get me stirred up.  If you agree with me that is fine.  If not, we can agree to agree that you are an idiot,  but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends.

So, I hope you decide to share this ride with me.  I have no idea where it is going to take us!