So you want to go on a campout

April 17th, 2014

Here’s a checklist of things to bear in mind for planning a great campout:

Where will you be going? Think about who will drive, and make sure you have sufficient adult leadership for the number of youth attending.

What is the timing? Consider the distance and time commitment you’re asking of the adults. Schedules fill quickly, so get your Campout on the calendar well in advance of the event. Is your just going for one night, you’ll still have to takeout as much equipment as you would need for two or three, but not as much food.

Equipment? Bring your tent, sleeping bag and pillow, and don’t forget the camp chair. A water bottle is also a necessity, and be prepared with a rain gear and a flashlight. You’ll need something to cook food on, but with planning you can take more or less stuff. Maybe it’s all backpacking food, or Dutch Oven, or maybe you want to bother with the full camp kitchen. Throw in some cleanup equipment, hand sanitizer, and your mess kit.


What will you be doing on your camp out? Is it all about the s’mores, water activities, maybe a service project? Don’t forget to pack everything that you need, including the sunscreen!


Check for fire restrictions before you buy on the campfire that night, keep it small and cozy, and have a great time!






Learning Leave No Trace

March 30th, 2014

When I taught the scouts in our troop Leave No Trace, I really wanted them to memorize the principles in order. We selected a key word in each principle, and used its first letter to create a memorable nonsense sentence,

I went to summer camp this year

September 8th, 2009

Well, it wasn’t really summer camp, but it felt a lot like it. I left my kiddos under the watchful care of their father (LOL) and headed to Philmont for Philmont Leadership Challenge. The first week was staff development, and the second week was the course with the participants. Two weeks in the mountains of New Mexico instead of North Texas in August is definitely my cup of tea. We were even in the meadow at Lover’s Leap for the Perseid meteor shower. One of the best seats in the house.

I will admit, I am suffering a bit of Mom Guilt. My youngest started school Monday after I returned late Saturday night, so I missed Meet the Teacher night. And didn’t have my wits about me to hit the shopping trail for tax free weekend.

As for my eldest, he left my house a wreck. He moped around after the big celebration he held at my house when his buddies headed back to college. I still can hardly move him with a cattle prod. Argh.

So, the return home was culture shock for many reasons. After being around fun, responsible and energetic adults, I returned to the slug on the couch (the son, not the dad, who thankfully lives in another house on the other side of town). And the inevitable return to make-up, blow dryers and heels. I feel refreshed for the change of scenery, and not quite overwhelmed by the tasks awaiting me at home. I would definitely do this again, but it will take some time to accrue more PTO. The job’s critical, and it’s good to have something I enjoy to support my Scouting habit.

This Mom Wears A Boy Scout Uniform

August 31st, 2008

I wear a Boy Scout uniform at least once a week, usually twice a week, and frequently on the weekend as well. It’s not my best color, khaki, but I have a hard time coming up with anything more appropriate when I’m headed out with my favorite group of camping and activity friends.

I grew up in scouting – Girl Scouting, mind you. I frankly was at a loss when God blessed me with two boys and it was clear that if I was going to resume scouting, it was going to be Boy Scouting. Thankfully, the organization finds a place easily for moms and other volunteers who aren’t only of the “dad” variety, as my sons’ father is certainly not cut of olive cloth, or khaki for that matter. Being a divorced mom, I sought a place to nourish my need for the outdoors with adventure and fun for my boys, and found it in Boy Scouting.

It’s pretty easy to fit into Cub Scouting as a mom. The challenge gets to be as the boys get older, such as in Webelos and Boy Scouts. There are certain guidelines and rules that really must be followed in order to make campouts reasonable for everybody – after all it is Boy Scouts. But I’m amenable to 2-deep leadership, with at least one other woman on a trip. And we found a Boy Scout troop that welcomes involved parental leadership regardless of gender, for which I will always be grateful. I participate in our district as a training chair, and continue to make sure I am abiding by the rules to make this scouting experience the richest for those it’s intended to enrich – the boys.

My eldest will age out of Boy Scouting soon, but I’m happy to say he continues to be involved in a local Police Explorers crew. With my youngest just starting Webelos, I’ll be in Boy Scouting for several more years, no doubt. It’s hard to imagine not being in Scouting… it’s just in my blood. I love the adventure of getting outdoors and sharing what I know, as well as learning something I couldn’t possibly have expected every trip. I treasure the values my sons are applying, as well as learning, and look forward to what they could mean in their lives in the future. I hope my sons will remember the support I gave them doing what they enjoy, too, and how we were able to share fun times.

And to tell you the truth, I’m glad the uniforms are being updated. It’s a reminder that times change, and scouting still brings something to the table that our children would have a hard time finding without it. Bring on the changes!

Dear Scouter

December 18th, 2006

At the end of October 2006, our Boy Scout troop lost one of its dearest assets, a long-time assistant Scoutmaster. Steve H. was the father of four boys, three of whom have completed their Eagle rank, and married to a wonderful woman who supported him and the boys, not from a distance, but from the front trenches. Scarcely an event went by without most if not all of the family there, serving, working, playing, laughing, teaching. Steve worked with the Trail to First Class boys, and he knew every boy in our troop, even while the rest of us were still trying to straighten out which one was Ryan and which one was Sean. At 50, Steve made his second trek to Philmont with my son, who reported he was a maniac, especially for his age. Quiet, behind the scenes, hard working, devoted to teaching boys to become the kinds of men that would make a mom proud. I wish I could’ve told Steve what that meant to me. We all miss him, and I hope my son never forgets the kind of person Steve was.

Wintertime, I hear

December 18th, 2006

I thought I had met wintertime. Once. At a camp reunion we had between Christmas and New Years. It snowed in the mountains, and those of us reuinioning spent most of our time chopping wood, huddled under sleeping bags and blankets on thin mattresses in the staff room, or drawing straws to see whose turn it was to go fix something really hot to eat or drink. How quickly we forget (well, it was some 25 years ago. Egad.).

I was assigned an Order of the Arrow ordeal with my eldest at the beginning of December at a Boy Scout camp in Texas. I was relieved it wasn’t going to be in August, as trail clearing and trash hauling tend to be the order of the day in the Order of the Arrow. And even though I had packed my positive attitude and (incognito, not knowing how welcome they would be) a few pocket warmers, I was amazed at the temperature in the teens we experienced both Friday and Saturday nights.
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Water Problems

July 13th, 2005

The North Texas Municipal Water District announced an emergency this fine mid-July day. Turns out a 72-inch water pipe has been damaged, water has been redirected, and the general population of Collin County has been asked to make do with a substantially limited amount of water for the next three days. Heaven forbid, a blade of that lush green grass in front of the bank may have to do without a drink for a few days. I know I’m disappointed I won’t be able to drive through the puddle of overspray that is on the street every single morning, drought or not.
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Equipment Roll Call

July 5th, 2005

My Life Scout returned from his trip to Philmont. Which was a great success for him, I am delighted to report. There were moments in the months leading up to this I wasn’t sure it would be, especially in regard to foot care. He was quite determined to not wear the requisite sock liners under his hiking socks during practice hikes, and he paid for it with many a serious blister. For Philmont, he wore liners for the entire trip until the last two days. So he still came home with major blisters.

A quick survey of the returning equipment turned up a few missing items. So if you’re hiking around Philmont and happen across these items, you can drop me a comment and thank me.
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Cinnamon Rolls

June 24th, 2005

Reunion Recipe Favorite Number One has to be homemade cinnamon rolls for Sunday morning breakfast.

The teenagers in camp for the reunion are the workhorses for this event/meal. So this year, there were three 14 and 15-year-old guys, Ben, Michael and Brad. They turned out to be pretty good in the kitchen, amiable, a little smart-mouthed, and a lot of fun. They even found a radio station that worked for all of us.

You certainly wouldn’t want to try this on a campout, but if you have access to a reasonable kitchen, try out this recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls.
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June 24th, 2005

I returned from a reunion of alumni of my Girl Scout camp several days ago. It was a grueling 11-hour drive across Texas to the southeast corner of New Mexico, but I wouldn’t have missed it. The annual meeting went without a hitch, the familiar faces were all happy, and precipitation has been kind to the Sacramento Mountains this spring. One evening was spent in the Lodge dancing, another at a campfire, then we were headed back to the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. It amuses me to see how much fun my sons have at my old GS Camp, and I look forward to getting the place back in order to welcome all types of campers of all ages.