Troop 35 has been summer camping at Camp Tesomas since 2005 or 2006, several years before William and I joined the troop. We pass several summer camps along the drive and there are many more Boy Scout camps that are closer, but all it takes is a visit to understand why we return, year after year.
It was hot here Wednesday and a few scouts learned why it is so important to drink water. After spending all day at Eagle Quest, Scoutcraft, Personal Wellness, Shooting Sports, Eco-Con, or climbing at Hanna’s C.O.P.E area the waterfront was like a magnet for scouts and leaders. Several scouts (and geezers) plan to attempt the mile swim on Friday afternoon and needed to complete their practice\training swims. A couple of scouts went sailing and the rest of the scouts just wanted to cool off and play. Even swimming the half-mile was relaxing and refreshing. I felt like a new person when I finished and watched the scouts play from the dock while I dried off.
Wednesday is a prime reason to come to Camp Tesomas. Besides the obvious, that Wednesday is the middle of the week, it is also a reminder to scouts they are almost finished with their advancement, their trek, or their merit badges; and the concept of going home have not set in, yet. For our first year scouts, Wednesday was another reason why Tesomas is a special place and for returning scouts another reminder – the Order of the Arrow Tap out Ceremony.
The Order of the Arrow is the Boy Scout’s camping honor society and it was formed in 1915. Members are elected from their troops by scouts; to be eligible scouts must have earned First Class rank and have camped at least fifteen days. The organization provides and leadership development and once a scout has been elected they are an Arrowman for life.
The first time I saw the OA ceremony at Tesomas I was hooked, so was William, and I suspect, every first-year scout in attendance. It is amazing, and words don’t do it justice, nor pictures or video. However, they will have to suffice until you can join us next year, or the year after. Since that first year, several of his peers have been elected and proudly wear the OA sash. This year the troop elected two new members – William and Andrew. A third scout was tapped out with our troop and joined us for summer camp from another troop. I have posted the videos below. I hope they whet your interest and can join us in 2013, 2014, or beyond.
After the ceremony, the scouts returned to camp and went to sleep. For most of our scouts, a week at camp is pretty strenuous and they are always on the move working, learning, and playing with little or no downtime. When we returned to camp, they were ready to climb into their tents and get to sleep. I know I was and the rest of the Old Goats were, too.
Thursday is mostly complete as I finish writing this afternoon. Tonight the scouts can swim at the waterfront, visit shooting sports, or enjoy time in camp with their friends. Whatever they do, I am sure it will be fun. Making the Days Count, with a few more requirements to check off before Friday.