Learning, fun highlight Boy Scout Camporee

By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterSeptember 27, 2012

Learning, fun highlight Boy Scout Camporee
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 27, 2012) -- For some, weekends are a time to catch up on sleep or relax in front of the TV, but for members of the Boy Scouts of America, it was a time for life lessons and survival skills.

The BSA held its 2012 Fall Camporee Sept. 21-23 and Fort Rucker did its part to help as Scout troops from Alabama and Florida came together at Buckhorn Lake to camp, learn survival skills, play games and get to know each other, according to Jay Guild, fall camporee chairman.

"I can't say enough about the support we've gotten from the Army and Fort Rucker for their involvement this weekend," said Guild.

Fort Rucker provided water support from two different brigades, instructors for Survival, Evade, Resistance and Escape training briefs, displays from the Fort Rucker Fire Department and even portable restrooms.

The majority of activities took place Sept. 22 and began early with a flag ceremony and a briefing of the day's events.

Following the flag ceremony, SERE instructors provided survival-training lessons in first aid, fire building and signaling, said Guild, adding that the camporee was an opportunity to teach the Scouts about leadership and give them a chance to work on the wilderness survival merit badge.

"I really enjoyed the fire making class and getting the opportunity to see the firefighters and the technologies they use on their fire trucks," said Andrew Beat, assistant senior patrol leader for Fort Rucker Troop 50. "It really taught me a lot."

Beat , 16, has been a member of the Boy Scouts from a young age when he joined as a Cub Scout. He said as long as he can remember, he has always wanted to be in a leadership position and the BSA has helped him gain that type of responsibility when he was selected as the ASPL for his troop.

"Once I reached my qualifications, I ran in every election [for a leadership position] and I never got it," said Beat. "I told myself this year was the last time I was going to run [for a position], and I ended up getting the assistant senior patrol leader position."

Beat's responsibilities include helping leadership in his troop manage the other Scouts, and he is accountable for the boys when they move from place to place. He is also responsible for getting the kitchen patrol in his troop ready during meal times and assigning cleanup positions.

Although much of the camporee was focused on leadership skills and earning merit badges, Guild said they put just as much emphasis on having fun.

"[Saturday] afternoon was pretty open with activities with Scouts playing ultimate Frisbee, BSA NASCAR, survival bracelet making and open swim," he said.

The BSA NASCAR is an event in which the different Boy Scout troops participated in a race with cardboard boxes as their cars.

"For the BSA NASCAR … they will make a lap, come in the pits and change their tires, which means they will take their shoes and socks off, put their socks back on inside out, then put their shoes back on before they head out for another lap," said Guild. "When they come around from the lap again, they will come in for a fuel stop, which is when they will come in and drink some water and members of their troop will douse them with water as well.

"When they come in for their final stop before their final lap, they will come in for the windscreen cleaning, which is more water thrown in their face by their fellow Scouts," he continued. "It really is a good time and it's definitely something to see."

For some, their main purpose in the Scouts is to gain leadership skills and go on to become an Eagle Scout, which is the highest rank attainable in Boy Scouts, according to Scott Thomas, assistant Scout master for Troop 99 of Enterprise.

"I've been in the Scouts my entire life and I want to help these Scouts get the one thing I never got, which is my Eagle," he said. "Getting your Eagle can help a lot in life with scholarships and it even looks good on a resume. It shows that you are a very determined individual."

For others, like Cohen Gillis, senior patrol leader for Troop 99, their purpose is to not only take the lessons that they learn in the Scouts and apply them later in life, but to make sure they have fun while they are doing it.

"Being in the Scouts has taught me a lot of valuable leadership experience and I've learned a lot that will help me later in life, as well as a lot of self discipline," he said, "but if you're not having fun, then why be here? I just want to have fun and learn."