Summer Camp with the Boy Scouts at Camp Meriwether SUMMER 2015

Sure, we look good now....but wait until we return!
Sure, we look good now….but wait until we return!

At the end of June and beginning of July, our Boy Scout Troop headed down to Camp Meriwether located near Tillamook, Oregon. This was our third year there and this was probably my last Boy Scout summer camp. It was a bittersweet trip. Sure, I complain about summer camp and how the kids behave, their lack of good hygiene, and the sleeping conditions (hey, it’s not my comfortable bed at home). Don’t get me started about how far I have to walk to use a shower or flush toilet. But it is Boy Scout camp; not a hotel on Kauai.

This being my final summer camp, I had a pretty mellow attitude. I gave all the scouts and adult leaders (of our troop) custom paracord bracelets (made by one of our scouts) as a gift. I believe most of the scouts liked them. Of course, one of the older scouts took his apart to make a clothesline. So much for my $6 gift lasting forever and bringing fond memories of camp back to him. I found this was a bit annoying considering how long it takes to make the bracelet and that I paid for it.

Custom Troop 480 Paracord Bracelet
Custom Troop 480 Paracord Bracelet

Of all the times we have gone to Camp Meriwether, we have had some great weather. Cool and comfortable during the evening, not a lot of bugs (due to our campsite location), and not blazing hot during the day. Meanwhile back in the Seattle area, they had record high temperatures and it was uncomfortable. Sometimes, it is nice to get out of town.

Highlights: The scouts had fun building sand castles during the beach party. Some of the scouts and leaders did the Polar Bear swim on Thursday morning.  I averaged 22,000 steps per day and didn’t have my daily ice cream thanks to my friend Dan who was on a “camp diet”.

Overall, it was the best summer camp I have been to as a leader. It makes me almost want to go back next summer….almost.Right on the beach! Evening Flag ceremony Father and Son time!

Happy Mother’s Day! A message from your favorite Worthless Advice Blogger!

A Happy Mother’s Day to all the awesome moms that take the time to read my blog; I do appreciate you taking the time away from your kids to read my words of wisdom (or rather my Blog of Worthless Advice). Of course, by reading your blog you are really just learning how to be an even better mother than before, right?
Well, it probably has been a month since I last posted something; which is just plain awful. I was swamped with work (and still am) so I’ve put a lot of projects on the back burner. Then, when I do have free time, I’ve been working on Boy Scout projects or hikes. In fact, last month we did a service project and managed to get in a hike. I’ve decided to include my Girl Scout troop in on these hikes and the girls do just. Our last hike was on May 2 to Taylor Mountain here in King County. I thought it was going to be between 3 to 5 miles but we logged in 8.65 miles on a wonderfully sunny Pacific Northwest day! You can’t complain when you get a great hike in!
I’m still behind on my work, but I’m fairly confident, I can catch up this week. Of course, this is what I say every week. But again, I think I can do it this week. It’s all about positive thinking, right?

Hello Saturday! It’s a Volunteer Day!! Bring on the rain!

Today will be a nice stormy day in the Seattle area which should make my day interesting. This morning we are doing some volunteer clean up work with the Boy Scout Troop for the church that we meet at. Gusty winds with rain and temperatures in high 40s to high 50s. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Luckily, the clean up is from 9 am to 12 noon. These are the times I honestly hate having to “set the example”. You read all the time all about leading by example. I would much rather be at home this morning, sitting by my wife’s gas fireplace, watching some college football. Or even reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Beautiful and Damned” (it is my current book).

However, this is a good opportunity to give back to the church that allows us a place to meet and stow our Boy Scout gear. For a few hours of simple help, we can show others that we appreciate their sponsorship.

Being a leader is stepping up to the plate and setting the example even though you don’t feel like it. And being a sarcastic leader makes the leadership even more fun!

At least today will give me the opportunity to yell at Scouts and make them cry. Hopefully, it pours down rain and makes it a miserable experience. We wouldn’t want them to have fun, right? Giving back should be painful, right? Oh, I hope there are some blisters on their hands too!

Sorry, if my post today isn’t worthless advice to you. Have an awesome Saturday doing whatever you like!!

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This is Boy Scouts, not Whiney Scouts!

Yesterday, our Boy Scout troop hiked through the Ape Caves. This isn’t the easiest of hikes, nor is it the hardest of hikes, but it is a hike. You will be walking, climbing, scrambling over piles of boulders, and getting wet. Now, my Boy Scouts took all of this in stride. However, we had some visitors (age 11) from a local Cub Scout pack with us. The Cub Scouts were fine, it is their adult leader that was a pain.

One situation that sticks out in my mind from yesterday’s hike was climbing the lava fall (like a dry waterfall). It is an eight foot wall (drop) and we were climbing up it. To be honest, if your kid likes to climb trees or climb the playground structure at his local elementary school, he can climb this wall. My Girl Scouts could climb this wall (disclaimer: My Girl Scout troop is pretty much fearless and they do an awesome job. In fact, they do a lot of things better than boys. That is for another blog post. And there is nothing wrong like “throwing like a girl”.)

So Mr. Gung Ho Webelos Leader gets to this wall and says “Oh, we can’t climb this. Looks like we need to turn around.” What? I don’t think so. We don’t give up because of a small wall. We passed little kids in this lava tube cave that made it up and down this wall. We passed people that had extra padding on themselves (they were overweight) and they made it up and down this wall. You bet your candy ass, we are making it up this wall.

Sure some of the younger scouts were a little scared but nothing to the point where they were having an epic meltdown. They were frightened but nothing to where we needed to turnaround. Using the EDGE method (Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable), we allowed the older scouts to go up, then some of the younger ones, and finally the fat ass old adults.😄

We helped the Webelos Scouts up and they didn’t have a problem making it up. Sure, it might be a little scary but you don’t give up. Overcoming a little hurdle makes a big different in helping to build their self esteem and demonstrating that teamwork helps to accomplish your goals.

You also have to push your child sometimes. A little motivation from older Boy Scouts and other leaders (other than your parents) can be helpful to get over those whiney moments. A little push in the right direction never hurt anyone.

So what happen to the scouts that were a little afraid? They all made it up the wall. Five minutes later the fear of the wall was a distant memory and they were scrambling over the next pile of rocks.

I asked the scouts afterwards “Did you have fun?” This is when they all broke down, started crying uncontrollably, and said they hated me and Boy Scouts. They screamed and asked in their high pitched voices (between all the sobs and sniffles), why I made them do it.

I didn’t wait for an answer, I just turned and walked away. Jumped in the Green Van of Doom and drove myself home. Bye, bye whiney scouts!!

Some other data from the cave hike: we had six Boy Scouts ranging in ages (12-15), three registered Boy Scout Adult Leaders, a Webelos Leader, and three Webelos scouts (ages 10-11). It took our little band about 2 hours to go through the Upper Ape Cave. We started at the lower entrance and exited out thought the upper entrance. Due to recent rain, the cave/tunnel is wet and there is a lot of water dripping. Be sure to wear waterproof clothes to stay dry. Temperatures in the caves average 42 degree F year round. A single person or a group of two (in reasonably good health HWP) could probably whip through the tunnel more quickly. The hike back is very easy. Make sure you take two sources of light (headlamps were better than flashlights), extra batteries, etc. No food is allowed in the caves.

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Everyone Wants to Be Special or at least feel Special

Let’s get something straight….everyone wants to feel special. They might say that they don’t want to be special, they don’t want to be noticed but, in reality they do. Regardless, everyone wants to be special whether they admit it or not.

If you write a blog, you know this to be true. Sure, you can say you write your blog for yourself, but secretly you hope it becomes hugely popular and you have an extremely large following of devoted followers.

You can say you are an introvert and therefore don’t want to be noticed. This isn’t true. You might be very outgoing when you need to be, yet hate to be around people. You can write an extremely funny blog yet never be able to hold a conversation at a party with new people.

However, on the flip side, if you are comfortable with the people at the party, you are the life of the party.

Everyone says extroverts are the outgoing ones and you want to be around them. However, they dominate the conversation because they need to be always “on”. I think extroverts are a overwhelming. Extroverts love to hear themselves talk. Introverts have the power to turn “on” (or “off”) the “outgoing” side. Introverts have the ability to sit back and not say anything. They can melt into the background, hide in the crowd, and just observe.

I, like everyone else that blogs, hopes my blog takes off and becomes hugely successful. It would be ideal to sit back and construct witty blog posts everyday that lead to more and more followers.

So click on the “like” button and share with your Facebook friends my blog….

Continue reading “Everyone Wants to Be Special or at least feel Special”

Boy Scout Camp: Camp Meriwether – The Camp of Broken Dreams, Tears, and Crybaby Hill

Boy Scout Camp: Camp Meriwether

  In June, I took over as Scoutmaster for my son’s Boy Scout troop.  This was my first Boy Scout camp where I was in charge as the head Scoutmaster.  In year’s past, I have always been the Assistant Scoutmaster; not the guy in charge.  I’m happy to report that this year things went smoothly at summer camp.  No major issues to report.  The new First Year Scouts (that have recently joined our troop) weren’t too homesick and our older scouts weren’t too much of trouble makers this year.  No fires to report; no hazing; only one scout who wandered off in the middle of the night; and only one disrespectful scout (who won’t be coming back) because as I told him “There is a new sheriff in town.”

  We had 19 scouts and 6 adults attend Camp Meriwether (located on the Oregon Coast near Tillamook) this summer.  It was nice to go back to the same Boy Scout summer camp again this summer.  Again, we were luckily enough to have a great campsite with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.  It is quite a bonus to wake up and see the surf crashing on the beautiful sand beach each morning.

  Boy Scout summer camp is in no way a picnic.  It is fun but it isn’t a vacation.  A vacation would entail me actually relaxing, sleeping in a comfortable bed, drinking a nice bottle of beer (or scotch) and having some really good food.  In reality, Boy Scout camp is me having to walk at least five minutes to a flush toilet, ten minutes to a hot shower, and waking up every morning at 6 am.  Not exactly my ideal vacation.  I also have to supervise 19 Boy Scouts who are mostly teenagers or pre-teens.  Imagine herding cats and you now know what Boy Scout camp is like.

  Some of the Boy Scouts are good; some are misdirected.  They are typical teenagers.  They want to sleep in (but they can’t).  They stay up too late.  Their nerves on at their last shreds of working and they begin to annoy each other.  They don’t take enough showers.  Some scouts like to take two showers a day while others don’t shower for the whole week.  Throw four boys into a cabin and it looks like the room was tossed by some overzealous vice cops on a drug bust; the cabin is just plain awful.  God knows if they actually brush their teeth or not.  Wash their hands?  One can only hope.

  On the plus side, we had great weather with mostly sunshine and no rain.  The food isn’t bad but I wouldn’t eat it long term.  To be fair, Camp Meriwether has the best food I have experienced at a Boy Scout camp.  Overall, the Scouts (and the adults) had a positive experience. 

Oh man…it has been a month since I’ve been posted anything?

I didn’t realize that is now about a month since I last posted.  I can honestly say, I’ve thought about writing a witty blog entry but those thoughts have quickly passed.  I’ve been busy with work.  I even convinced my wife to allow me to suspend the cable TV service for the summer so I refocus on family, friends, and blogging.  Sadly, this is Day 2 of no cable TV and my dear wife is going through severe withdraw shakes at the moment.  I’m afraid my great experiment is doomed.

Now, I know you are probably wondered what else I have been up to.  I’ve stepped up to the plate and took over the Scoutmaster position in my son’s troop.  I’m hoping that he will hurry up and get his Eagle Scout award in the next twelve months so I can “retire” from the job.  I’m also still my daughter’s Girl Scout troop leader.  We are bridging over into the next level: Cadettes.  New uniform and new challenges.  This summer we are planning to do a two night campout at the local state park…I hope they have Wifi!

We also managed to get our ghetto swimming pool set up for the summer.  In the Puget Sound area, we don’t get a lot of hot weather but my daughters and her friends think we live in Florida.  They are in the swimming pool all the time and the water temperature is only 65 degrees.