1. Parenting

Cub Scout Camping Trip

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What a weekend – my first camping trip with my Cub Scout son.

Each pack plans it's own trips, so your Cub Scout camping experience will probably be different than ours, but this should give you at least an idea what to expect when your Cub Scout takes his first camping trip.

Our Pack Master tries to plan an easy camping trip for the first one each year. We weren't far from home, so it was a great location for new campers should there be any problems – though there weren't. All family members are welcome on the trip.

The campout officially started on Saturday morning, but a handful of families arrived Friday night for a relaxed evening around the campfire. The night was cold, in the mid 30s, and clear. We had a gorgeous view of the sky. Children went to bed at 9pm and the adults sat and chatted by the fire.

The morning was bright, clear and cold. Camp stoves kept us warm while we cooked our breakfasts.

We had some free time before the first official camp activity – a safety meeting at 9am. We did some fishing in the lake and watched the egrets catch their breakfast. The sun on the water was just beautiful. They cub scouts had a great time practicing their fishing skills, though only one boy caught anything.

After the safety meeting, each den had time to split up for activities. Some went hiking, while our den opted to keep fishing.

The afternoon turned out to be just perfect: sunny and mid 60s. After lunch, the boys learned to play Ultimate – a sort of Frisbee football game. Then they went on a treasure hunt to learn compass skills and spent the rest of the afternoon running around and playing with each other.

Dinner was a pack affair of hot dogs, sloppy joes, baked beans and cole slaw provided by a local business.

Our evening campfire was the highlight of the weekend. The Cub Scouts got into their uniforms for a fireside ceremony. All of the young Tiger Scouts (1st graders) who were there had earned their Bobcat awards. The Bobcat is the first award a Cub Scout earns to show his knowledge of scouting. They received their Bobcat patch for their uniform and a pin for their parents. The Scout Master stamped their cheeks with a tiger paw.

Three of the boys in my son's Wolf den also earned their Bobcats, including my son. They led the group in the Cub Scout Promise.

Some of the Bear Cubs earned their Bear award and received a patch for their uniform and a pin for their parent. Many of them had earned whittling chips, a special patch that shows they've learned to use and earned the right to carry a pocket knife. Several had also earned other activity awards or arrow points for additional work they'd done.

After the ceremony we had the traditional campfire treat: S'mores: chocolate bars and toasted marshmallows squashed between graham crackers. Then the boys played while the adults settled in around the fire.

When the children were in bed, we continued to chat around the campfire. We watched the fog form over the lake. The night wasn't as cold as Friday night. It actually seemed quite nice.

The fog remained on the lake for a while Sunday morning while we cooked breakfast and the boys fished again. Many of us made omelets in bags: eggs, cheese and fillings are zipped into a sandwich bag, squashed up to mix and dropped into a pot of boiling water. Coffee flowed freely around the camp. It was a great breakfast.

Then we broke down camp, cleaned up and headed home.

The weekend was wonderful. The pack master and den leaders had planned a nice variety of activities along with free time for the boys to play. They boys had a lot of fun, made new friends, and worked on scout projects (they all earned fishing and ultimate belt loops). They got along really well together and are looking forward to the next camping trip – as am I.

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