(Two-Weeks at Massawepie Scout Camp)
By M.T. Villanueva
There are a lot of traditions that come with coming to Massawepie Scout Camp.
You can’t really experience the full potential of these traditions in one week — that’s why Troop 5 stays for two weeks.
We got to the Maplewood Pool Parking lot around 6:00 or 6:30. The bus arrived, we loaded up the bus in preparation for the 5-and-a-half-hour ride up to Tupper Lake in ‘upstate’ New York.
When we got there, we went to our campsite — Newcome — as we’ve done in past years.
We didn’t also have a campsite at Tupper this year, so it’s kind of jampacked, but with the number of people coming and the number of people leaving, it all worked out in the end.
After we set up a tent, we went down to the dining hall for a medical check-up.
After that, we went down to the waterfall to take the BSA swim test. After the swim test, we went back to the campsite and finished setting up.
There’s a lot of time in between the evening Flag ceremony and the swim test so we set up our grills, made our duty roster, and made our beds.
At dinner time, the “Gophers” (patrol dining helpers designated on the roster) went down to get our buckets of food. We patrol-cook the first week of summer camp, and go to the dining hall for cooked food the second week of encampment.
We had the evening Flag ceremony, after which we eat dinner.
After dinner, there was the Monday night campfire where the Massawepie staff introduces themself and they’ll do a skit related to what they teach like sports or art.
The next morning, we got our schedules and started working on the merit badges we’d asked when registering for camp to be scheduled to work on.
This is the easiest place to get merit badges done because you have everything there.
Some of the merit badges I took were camping, small boat sailing, and pioneering.
Every day after lunch was ‘siesta.’ Siesta is a time where we can do some organizing or play cards with our friends or kind of like relax.
Also during certain hours the ‘Trading Post’ and ‘Big Jakes’ is open.
Big Jake is the snack shack of Massawepie, where you can get special slushies and can even request your own flavor. They also have candy and chips and ice cream.
During siesta is also when the ‘Bank of Tom’ is open. The ‘Bank of Tom’ is run by Mr. Tom Kilkenny, who holds individual Scouts’ funds in trust and safety during the encampment. When Scouts need money for things like at the ‘Trading Post’ or ‘Big Jakes,’ they need to visit the ‘Bank of Tom’ to be able to withdraw money for such things.
We went through the first week which was patrol cooking, which was an interesting experience, and finishing merit badges. When Friday comes around all of the other troops leave but we stay because we stay for two weeks.
During the weekend, we usually do a campfire in which we sing a song and each patrol does a skit. We do laundry, play ‘commandos,’ and do whatever we want to. On Saturday night, we have a Troop 5 cookout where we borrowed Massaweepie grill and grilled hotdogs and hamburgers. Usually, Mr. Stein and Mr. Barry do that. On Sunday we have a lot of free time because all the new troops are showing up and they have to do the medical checks and swim test. During Sunday ‘siesta’ we get new schedules for the next week and hang out.
The next morning we eat breakfast in the dining hall and then went to our first merit badge activity of the new week. We went through the second week like the first week.
During the last Saturday night we do something called the Honor Campfire. It is when Troop 5 Scouts vote on who should be named the ‘Honor Camper.’ We vote for three people during the siesta and they announce it during the campfire.
Also, we retire an American flag ceremonially and appropriately over the fire. Then we did some songs. When someone wins Honor Camper they get a leather neckerchief slide with the letters H and C. These neckerchief slides are made by a former Troop 5 scout.
When it was Sunday, it was time to leave, and everybody was so sad.
We packed up and got out of the camp around 11:00 a.m. We were heading back to Maplewood and we stopped at a rest stop it get some snacks and stretch our legs.
Over the course of the bus ride, we watched “Spaceballs” and “Monty Python” and the “Holy Grail.”
I think we watched more, but I fell asleep through two of them, so I can’t remember.
We arrive at Maplewood at 5:15 p.m. and there’s a large crowd of parents and adult leaders waiting to greet us.
Also, if you are a new Scout or a parent that has a Scout in the Troop, I strongly encourage you to come to Massawepie and don’t come for one week because then you’re not getting a whole Massawepie experience.
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