Brothering Other Troops
During my years as an Assistant Scoutmaster to the troop, we have come across smaller troops that need a little help in many ways. Sometimes, it's help with a fundraiser, needing to camp for rank advancement or just to have the camping experience, to share ideas, to teach scouts, to help adults with knowledge from more experienced scouters, needing two deep leadership, etc….
Well early on, we brothered a younger troop from another area (many moons ago), the troop had 3 boys and two adults. It has been our experience not to leave a scout behind for any reason if we can help that scout/troop within reasonable expectation of the scouting world. The other troop had attended several campouts and outings with us over the first year of the “renewing” of the troop because the area had tried a pack/troop many times but didn’t have much luck getting them off the ground. Our troop (194) had decided to have a campout at Bear Creek about 94/95. The brothered troop decided that they would join us for our campout. Well, as time would have it and early planning stages, there were many scouts going from different ages ranging 11 to 17 and plenty of scouters/adults (of the male gender) going. Back in the day, not many of the lady folk attended or helped out with the main part of events going on (yes, they helped with fundraisers, transportation and a few things like that). During the middle of that week, I received telephone calls at the last minute with “I’m stuck at work/out of town”, “I can’t make it (personal reasons)” etc…leaving the troop in a lurch. I told my group not to worry, I would handle it (thankfully had a really great Scoutmaster that welcomed me aboard with open arms). I’m thinking to myself at this point…I can do this… that I had been on several campouts previously, a summer camp or two and training that I had received. I didn’t know how receptive that the scouters (boys) and the other troop attending would take a woman being out there in the nature leading a bunch of boys/male adults….some with very little scouting experience. Needless to say in the early days this was a challenge (not that I was discriminated against being a woman). The scouting program was made up of mainly of the male gender in those days. As usual, NO wasn’t in my vocabulary, so I plunged forward and said, I can go and do my “best” at what I knew and could do…and knew that I had several older scouts that had a lot of training/knowledge and had been on similar camping trips. I knew that they could help out tremendously because they were true leaders, (not just in the scouting world but in all that they did) and would help to lead all the younger scouts/adults (including me) to teach the right things to do. With that note, I already had quite a bit under my belt with attending several campouts, summer camp (a time or two) and events that would help me through this campout. This campout was to be at Bear Creek, which is the Alamo Area Council (San Antonio) Area Camp, used off season for troop camping but used tremendously during the summer for summer camp (about 8 weeks worth).
Needless to say Bear Creek has a lot of rocks/hills and was a rugged camp and not close to town. It is just west of Hunt/Kerrville (TX). We met at the scout hut (T194’s) and loaded up the vehicles with scouters, camping gear, packs, tents, etc. At that time, we did not have a scout trailer so every thing had to go into vehicles, which included a couple of trucks. Plenty of wood was loaded from several of us because all of the cooking was going to be done over a wood fire and coals. Friday night is always brown bag because the troop does not cook due to getting where we are going and getting camp set up. Bear Creek is at least a couple of hours drive from Pleasanton. We left town about 6:30 PM (due to parents working in SA & arriving home) and arrived at Bear Creek about 9:00 PM. Scouts/adults worked diligently getting the basic camp set up with the tents in patrol areas, adults in their own area (separate tent area for the ladies (namely me). The other troop decided that they wanted their own area. About 11:00 PM, all was set up and scouts were ready to play games BUT the brakes were put on at this time because it was late and scouts needed to be up early to prep and cook breakfast. Well, let me tell you, it was not easy to get the scouts settled down but as time went on (about 1:00 AM), scouts were told either go to bed or they would be the first to get up and cook the breakfast (about 5 AM) even though they were not scheduled to do so…didn’t take long for silence to fall over camp…..around rolls Saturday morning and getting up early (myself) to get my bearings and get the morning started. It took several callouts to scouts in tents to get up, but finally got the morning under way. We were going to teach scouts how to start fires from scratch and cook over open fire for rank/merit badge purposes. Fires were started, breakfast was cooked, dishes cleaned up. We got through the morning okay.
We started teaching the scout’s wilderness techniques, cooking ideas and survival ideas. Being up in the hills and at that point of time, cell phones were at a minimum because not many people had them and there is only a spot or two that has service in the area. And then the skies began to darken and the clouds rolled in…. catch next week to read…the Rainmakers in action again...