Last month Ciárán had his Cub Scout Day Camp, but it wasn’t an overnight affair. Last week it was August’s turn. Only this time it would be drastically different as he had moved on from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. This wasn’t a 5 day camp from 9 to 3, but would go from Sunday to Saturday, and be an overnight affair – and without the cabins we enjoyed at Camp Sheppard.
I took the Millennium Falcon to camp on Sunday, packed with more Boy Scouts than you should ever pack in a closed vehicle. After relying on the teenager in the front passenger seat to relay directions from the map and missing three different turn-offs, we arrived not far behind the rest of the Boy Scout troop. Camp Parsons is on the Hood Canal, just over an hour’s drive (depending on traffic) from the ferry. It’s well out of the way and offers a number of great opportunities for Boy Scouts to advance, earn merit badges or simply have some fun.
Monday morning saw the beginning of the advancement program where August participated in various skills and bits of knowledge that are needed for advancement. Some of these are raising and lowering the flag (as you can see here) or learning how to find North at night and by that, direction. While he was participating in these morning courses for advancement, he wouldn’t be doing as many merit badges as most of the others in his troop. He was fine with that though, as these pieces for advancement are going to pay off in the long run.
He did get a couple of merit badges though. His first was Fingerprinting, which was a troop activity. I missed getting to watch that because I was busy meeting up with another dad blogger. Phil Corless, a.k.a. Idaho Dad is another Boy Scout parent who has been blogging a lot longer than I have. His son’s Boy Scout troop just happened to be attending Camp Parsons the same we my son’s troop was there.
One of the major features of Camp Parsons is the fact it is on the Hood Canal, part of the Puget Sound. This means a lot of water activities. One of those activities is a pier jump. The pier is approximately 12 feet above the water, depending on the tide, and the steps leading up to the jump platform add another 4 or 5 feet. August is a decent time to do this because the water has warmed up a bit. However, this is still the Puget Sound.
Being vegetarian I know it can be difficult getting appropriate food. Thankfully the dining hall at Camp Parsons was accommodating to our dietary needs. Not only was the food good but there was plenty of it. This was one of the things August was worried about, and thankfully it wasn’t an issue.
One of the merit badges August worked on was Communications. It took an hour each day of camp and then there are a couple of other requirements he needs to do at home to earn it. It is a good badge to work on as it will be eventually required for him to earn Eagle Scout, which August wants to do. Here is August and his tent-mate who also took the merit badge class working on their homework of creating a presentation to convince the counselor to try their Swidish Fish candy.
A couple of days in the middle of the week I had to return home to watch the kids while Laura prepared her classroom for the next week’s incoming Kindergarteners. I made it back just in time to see just how much rain was being dumped on the camp. Thankfully August’s spirits weren’t dampened.
We made our way over to the Craft Lodge to work on the Art merit badge, which he earned. It was too bad the camp cancelled the Hullabaloo, a fun competition for the scouts that was scheduled for Friday afternoon, but the threat of lightning was enough to cancel the water activities which in turn meant a great deal of the Hullabaloo was gone. Still, it afforded the opportunity for boys to catch up on some of the other requirements for other merit badges they were working on, or in the case of August start one and then complete it.
One of the things we also did on Friday was to check out the Camp Parsons museum. There are a number of great displays there, starting off with some native people’s artifacts.
There are a number of great displays showcasing the history of Boy Scouts as well as Camp Parsons and the building is well worth a visit. One shelf is dedicated to old Boy Scout books, including handbooks and novels featuring Boy Scouts. Think Hardy Boys, but with Boy Scouts.
Finally it was time to leave on Saturday. We all gathered for the closing ceremonies and said our goodbyes to Camp Parsons. August had a wonderful time and wants to return. The camp will soon celebrate its 100th year of continuous operation and that is a celebration both August and I would like to be a part of.