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Boy Scout Troop 485 Jax, FL -
"Delivering the Promise"

Camp Rainey Mountain Diary 
July 1  through July 8, 2001
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July 1 - Sunday

We had an easy trip up from Jacksonville -- made it to camp at 2:30 PM with only four stops in 452 miles. First day was just setting up camp and getting a tour for the boys.  The first dinner was chicken, mashed potatoes, beans, rolls, and cake. There were a lot of clean trays thanks to a few boys who ate their buddies leftovers. We'll watch that closer from here on out.

At dinner Troy and Michael had waiter duty. Every boy will get their turn. They have to set the table and keep the drinks filled. Every boy has to drink an 8 ounce ice water before they get any thing else to drink -- great idea by the staff!

Watching the staff march in with their chants echoing off the hills over the lake is impressive. I think every boy was ready to sign up for job as soon as they are old enough. A video of the opening ceremony would be an outstanding recruiting tool.

The leaders had lots of paper work and a meeting after dinner until 10:30. There was lights out with no complaints at 10:45.

Our campsite is the highest site on the ridge above the lake. At least it is down hill for meals, but it is about a 200 foot climb coming back. ALL of are tents are only four weeks old, and most of the platforms are new. The site is about half way up the ridge line in a grove of Yellow Poplar trees with a lush under story of poison ivy.

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MVC-417S.JPG (54190 bytes) Flag raising at parade grounds MVC-418S.JPG (45063 bytes) MVC-423S.JPG (123146 bytes) MVC-420S.JPG (44313 bytes) MVC-422S.JPG (122864 bytes)
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Staff marching to dinner. Very impressive!
July 2 - Monday

We have our first great story from Summer Camp 2001. Two boys (I'll hold the names to protect the guilty) woke up at 1 AM -- and thought their watch said 6 AM. They woke up five other boys and took showers. Mr. Bob woke up at 2 AM and caught a group of clean boys in class 'A' uniforms waiting for Reveille. Lucky  some of the others were so tired that the early birds couldn't wake them up. Mr. Bob told the boys that as long as they hear a growling noise from Mr. Joe and Mr. Raul's tents -- stay in bed.

First breakfast met with approval. Waffles, sausage, cereal, milk, and juice -- and coffee for the Leaders! The good news of the day was the class A uniforms are for dinner only!

The day went smooth and all they boys made their classes on time. There was a few complaints about working on the baskets and other items in the campsite -- homework isn't fun in the summer.

The leaders did their service hours. Raul balanced the books at the Trading Post, Joe fixed the plumbing in the campsite, and Bob fixed the staff computers so they can get on the Internet.

In the evening 7 boys went for a free swim. William was working as a lifeguard on the water front, so we all felt extra safe.

The other boys went for a free shoot at the rifle range.

We made popcorn in camp for a snack and built a fire. The boys are taking turns building a fire each evening to earn their "Fireman Chip".

MVC-428S.JPG (39831 bytes) William blows Reveille comes at 6:30 AM.. MVC-438S.JPG (54790 bytes) The mess hall MVC-439S.JPG (62830 bytes) Staff bugler.
MVC-441S.JPG (39838 bytes) Water front 1. >MVC-442S.JPG (29471 bytes) Water front 2 and administration building. MVC-443S.JPG (37382 bytes) CAMP01.JPG (73263 bytes)


July 3

William had to blow reveille for each tent individually this morning. What will happen by Saturday?

Good breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and cereal. Lots of clean trays this morning. Yes -- even CJ! The boys are falling into the routine. Here a quick sample of the morning schedule -- 6:30 reveille, 7:00 troop formation, 7:15 waiters report, 7:30 breakfast, 8:45 flag raising, 9:00 first class -- and the day has begun!

A long day of class for the boys. It started raining about 2 PM and the lightning blew out the computers and canceled some of the water front classes. The rain stopped long enough to get to dinner and continued until about 9 PM. 

Mr. Bob was presented a birthday cake by the staff and "Happy Birthday" from all the scouts. The cake was big enough for the boys to have seconds -- and thirds.

There was a leader's dinner following the regular meal with steak, chicken, baked potatoes, salad, and cheese cake.

The boy's were entered in the Scout Skills competition. They had to light a fire with two matches -- it was raining hard. They had to do it all on their own with out any of the leaders. After and hour and a half, and several boxes of matches, the leaders had to ask William to call a stop. The boys were wet, tired, cold, and there were even a few tears -- but they were the last troop to give up. Some Troops got fires started, but most quit at least a half hour before us. The staff and other Scoutmasters told us that they loved watching the boys trying so hard with out giving in. 

MVC-444S.JPG (43932 bytes) Amphitheater on lake front. MVC-445S.JPG (58733 bytes) Trading post and snack shack. MVC-449S.JPG (47636 bytes) Staff at trading post.
MVC-447S.JPG (53698 bytes) Wood carving merit badge. MVC-448S.JPG (41705 bytes) Wood carving merit badge. MVC-446S.JPG (48594 bytes) Handcraft shack.
MVC-450S.JPG (64597 bytes) Archery Range. MVC-451S.JPG (73479 bytes) Entrance to our camp across a spring feed creek. MVC-452S.JPG (46392 bytes) MVC-460S.JPG (47878 bytes)
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CAMP05.JPG (61908 bytes) CAMP06.JPG (57034 bytes) Mr. Bob's birthday cake. CAMP07.JPG (41511 bytes) CAMP08.JPG (50086 bytes) CAMP11.JPG (52135 bytes)


July 4

We passed out flag shirts for the Fourth -- the cleanest the boys have looked since Monday. Spirits are up and we had a "sugar rush" breakfast of donuts, rolls, cereal, milk, juice, and fresh fruit. Beautiful morning here in camp. Clear skies and 70 degrees.  

We checked on all the boys classes today to make sure that they are getting their work done. There will  be a few "partial" badges this week -- mainly due to paper reports that are due. The camp isn't the best place for writing reports. It is easy work to finish when they get home -- if needed.

Mr. Bob spent the day in the site helping the boys with crafts during the free periods and around meal times. Mr. Joe is helping Adam with rifle and archery -- Adam has qualified at Archery and is three targets away on rifle. Mr. Joe is sighting in the rifles on the range -- I think all the boys in camp are more likely to get the scores they need.

We had a group of boys on Reptile and Amphibians were out  to 11 PM last night and one group tonight as well. They have to do a night observation. We had a great campfire tonight for the whole camp. The campfire was delayed over and hour for a lighting storm. The staff and some of the Troops did skits and songs. The highlight was a fireworks show to the 1812 Overture.

Almost all the boys are a bit home sick in the evening. They are too busy dunning the day to even think about it. The schedule for the day is class at 9 AM, 10 AM, 11 AM, Lunch at 12:15, classes at 2 PM, 3 PM, 4 PM, flag lowering at 5:45, dinner at 6 PM...

MVC-466S.JPG (27854 bytes) MVC-467S.JPG (32248 bytes) MVC-468S.JPG (36332 bytes) MVC-469S.JPG (59926 bytes) MVC-470S.JPG (58324 bytes) Flag shirts for the Fourth.
MVC-471S.JPG (44150 bytes) MVC-472S.JPG (49348 bytes) MVC-473S.JPG (56569 bytes) MVC-475S.JPG (46001 bytes) MVC-476S.JPG (86176 bytes) We looked sharp in matching shirts for the 4th that we brought from Jacksonville.
MVC-478S.JPG (53358 bytes) The boys with the counselor they called Doctor Doom. CAMP02.JPG (46720 bytes) CAMP04.JPG (62550 bytes) CAMP17.JPG (44824 bytes) CAMP18.JPG (50694 bytes)


July 5

It rained some during the night but we had clear skies by the time the boys woke up. William left the campsite at 6 AM to lifeguard at mile swim. Mr. Joe woke him at 4:45 by mistake and then Mr. Bob woke him at 5:45. The others boys got a treat and slept in to 6:45.

William is working on Scout Lifeguard. It takes 6-8 hours a day. The boys were talking at lunch yesterday about William. "He's one of a kind." says CJ. "NO -- He's better than that." says Jordan.

Only four Troops are chosen each week to raise the flags at the morning assembly. Troop 485 was the honor guard for the day. The guys did a great job and got complements from several of the other troops leaders.

We had our first accident of camp. CJ cut himself with a wood chisel in Woodcarving and Mr. Raul took him to town for five stitches. We aren't sure, but William thinks it was the same chisel that sent him out for stitches last year. We have a Troop tradition at Rainey Mountain! I wonder if we can take the chisel home? Should we make sure that someone signs up for Woodcarving next year to keep the string alive?

Thursday is staff night off. We cooked foil dinners in the campsite. For dessert we had brownies. After dinner, half the boys went rappelling at Big Rock and half had a troop free swim at the lake.

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MVC-518S.JPG (38023 bytes) MVC-519S.JPG (46592 bytes) MVC-522S.JPG (34751 bytes) We made foil dinners on Thursday. MVC-525S.JPG (37534 bytes) Mail call!
July 6

This is the last full day at camp. The written tests on the badges and the last chance to turn in the crafts. 

The boys are slowing down a bit as the day progresses. The leaders are having to push them to finish.

Last mail call was today. The is some real excitement when the boxes show up. Adam got a box yesterday. He unwrapped the brown paper from the package and saw a shoe box inside. "OH BOY MY PARENTS SENT ME SOME DRY SHOES! .....Wait, there is just some stuff in here!" I would have loved to have had a video camera.

Raymond got four bee stings today while building an Indian shelter with the other boys. He was OK after a brief visit to the camp Doctor. There are two leaders here this week that are Doctors. They donate 3-4 hours a day at first aid. It is a great service.

This afternoon Mr. Joe's father, and a good friend Mr. Guy, came lunch and to stay over night for the whitewater trip tomorrow. Now we don't feel as outnumbered by the boys and we will have two additional adults in the rafts.

Tonight was the big camp fire and awards. William received his Scout Lifeguard award to cap a busy week on the water front. CJ got the "Distinguished Finger Carving Award". Joshua got an award from the staff for his work on Nature merit badge. The highlight of the campfire was the three Kayaks that the counselors rode down the steps of the amphitheater.

Tonight we pick up the boys "report cards". The boys earned 47 merit badges earned out of a possible 67. This is really outstanding considering that 11 of the 13 boys were at their first summer camp. The partial credits on the other merit badges can be completed any time in the next year to earn the award. 

MVC-512S.JPG (55345 bytes) The Burton campsite mascot. MVC-515S.JPG (65635 bytes) Mr. Bob and Hal in the campsite.  CAMP10.JPG (80414 bytes) Joe and Guy at Big Rock with camp in valley.
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July 7

Rafting day is here! We picked up continental breakfast from the mess hall at 7 AM and hit the road by 8 AM. The rafting place is less than 80 miles from the camp but it is a good two hour drive on a very windy road. We had 4-5 stops for car sickness on the way over. 

Appalachian River Outfitters put us in the river around Noon in cool 70 degree temperatures with a fog hanging over the river. The water level was high and the rocks were almost all under the surface. Mr. Ray, Mr. Joe, and Mr. Bob each captained an eight person raft with six people in each boat.

We were on the river about an hour when we had our only person in the water. One of the rafts strayed a bit too close to the shore. As they approached a large log sticking out of the bank, all the boys moved to the left, pushing Mr. Bob out of the raft. There were a few tense moments for all the boys in the raft until William used his Scout Lifeguard skills for the first practical application and pulled Mr. Bob back into the raft. William did take a moment to take a photo before the rescue. I guess that is part of keeping your victim in sight.

The next hour was exciting with a good stretch of class 3 rapids and a couple small class 2. We then pulled to the bank for a while. All of the boys under 100 pounds were shivering at this point. The air temperature was down to 68 degrees and the fog was still hanging over the river. The water temperatures was a cool 48 degrees. We started to wrap the boys in Mylar space blankets to get warm. 

About this time, two National Forest Service rangers in Kayaks paddled up. They recommended that we walk up the bank to the road side and have the boys jump up and down to get warm. They passed out warm dry clothes to Jonathan, Troy, CJ, Hal, and Josh. They also passed out granola bars and raisin bread. About half of the boys wanted to keep going down the river. The leaders had a brief meeting and decided it was   time to call it a day about 30 minutes up river from the scheduled finish. The leaders waved down a bus from  Appalachian River to take a ride back to the cars. You are never sorry for being safe.

We drove past a spot on the river above our planned finish spot called the "Bump". We saw several rafts with 2-3 people in the water. At that point I think everyone as glad that we pulled out early. We found out later that it was 14 degrees warmer on Wednesday when the other troops from Rainey Mountain rafted. What a difference that would have made.

We got warm dry cloths on and headed to the Pizza Hut in Franklin, NC. We ordered eight large stuffed crust pizzas and it was just enough to fill up the 18 rafters.

Back at camp we had a troop swim at the lake for an hour, and then back for a camp fire. William organized a great troop camp fire with skits and awards. Mr. Joe handed out patches for the boys that hiked to Big Rock during the week. Mr. Bob handed out the Rainey Mountain patches. William and Jeremy got awards for sharing the Senior Patrol Leader duties for the week -- an outstanding week by both. Mr. Bob gave a special award to Hal for his conscientious work on this merit badges all week. Without any prompting from the leaders, Hal did a great job of juggling a busy schedule and completing all his work on time.

Mr. Joe fixed peach cobbler and made several pans of popcorn for a cracker barrel while Mr. Bob had conferences with each boy individually to go over their "report cards". 
>RAFT01.JPG (55936 bytes) Appalachian River Outfitters. RAFT02.JPG (73159 bytes) RAFT03.JPG (46657 bytes) RAFT20.JPG (60171 bytes) RAFT06.JPG (57604 bytes)
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RAFT11.JPG (63231 bytes) Hal, CJ, and Troy warming up. RAFT12.JPG (61062 bytes) RAFT13.JPG (40326 bytes) RAFT14.JPG (70314 bytes) The USFS rescue rangers
MVC-535S.JPG (31136 bytes) MVC-536S.JPG (46534 bytes) MVC-537S.JPG (43330 bytes) The pizza party in Franklin, NC. MVC-534S.JPG (25007 bytes) A long week.

July 8

Reveille for the last time at Camp Rainey Mountain 2001! We were up at 6:30 AM, but were unable to get out of the lot until 8:30 AM. The new scouts still need some help with how to break camp efficiently. After TEN stops for meals, gas, and bathrooms, in 450 miles, we made it back to Resurrection in Jacksonville. by 6:00 PM.

A great week with lots of memories. I know that a couple of the boys are convinced that they will NEVER GO BACK AGAIN!. The leaders can assure the parents that by fall those same boys will be planning on selling Christmas wreaths to go back next summer.

Huge thanks go out to the parents for allowing their boys this opportunity, the staff at Rainey Mountain, the camp doctor, the Clayton Hospital, the rescue rangers on the river, and the Appalachian River Outfitters. Thanks to Mr. Guy and Grandpa Butler for helping up on a hike to Big Rock and the raft trip. Finally, thanks to the leaders for taking a week of their vacation to spend eight days with the troop. I hope everyone enjoyed this diary as much as the leaders enjoyed putting it together.

Look out next summer for Camp Diary 2002!