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Board Game Camp 2017

posted Dec 12, 2017, 6:39 PM by Michael Hartford
This was our 3rd board game camp at Kiwanis Scout Camp, following a familiar pattern:

* 14 Scouts and 4 adults attended, which seemed like a perfect number for this trip
* We made reservations at Kiwanis Scout Camp about a month and a half in advance; the camp isn't very busy in December (we shared the camp with a Grey Wolf training session; in past years there have been one or two other units in camp), but early reservations ensure the right space
* We rented two cabins (Otter and Wolverine), and divided into roughly older Scouts and younger Scouts; these cabins are at the far end of camp, giving us privacy, and the cabins are very close together
* Cooking was done primarily inside with hot water from a coffee percolator, though the older Scouts made a Dutch oven supper in the fire pit
* We brought one patrol box, two sets of wash tubs, two water jugs, an axe, and a hatchet, which seemed like the right amount of gear for this camp
* Scouts mostly played board games, and ventured outside for games and fire building

Things that worked well:

* Hot water or no-cook menus (noodles, oatmeal, bagels, sandwiches) kept things simple; there are no cooking facilities in the cabins (though the radiators run hot and can be used for toasting bread or warming a pot), and it's too cold to use propane outside
* Scouts left boots outside and wore slippers or socks inside, keeping the dirt in the cabins to a minimum
* Scouts organized their own games, and my sense is that everyone participated and had opportunities to play the games they wanted to play
* We were able to work on advancement as well, with casual discussions on T21 requirements and merit badges

Things that were challenging:

* In a mixed-patrol cabin, establishing leadership is difficult. This wasn't a problem in the older Scout cabin, but in the younger Scout cabin there was dissension and argument, which prevented lunch from being made until 2PM (with adult intervention).
* The younger Scouts' menu was a little sub-par; we've made it a goal for upcoming troop meetings to establish better guidelines for meal planning and to try to add diversity and more nutrition to camp meals.
* The younger Scouts' menu also had communication problems--they selected one meal at the prep meeting without having the recipe, and didn't get the recipe to the grubmaster in time for him to buy the food; we will include this recipe in the troop's cookbook, since it's popular, and also work to establish better guidelines for camp menus having a recipe that everyone agrees to.
* We only had one coffee maker, so one cabin had to use a thermos to carry hot water; we will get a second coffee maker and a couple of hot plates, since this kind of camping situation isn't uncommon (Game Camp, Ski Camp, often a camp in late fall or early spring with a mix of outdoor and cabin cooking)
* The cabins have one table each, so long games (Risk, Monopoly, etc.) tend to take over the game space; one possible solution is to bring a couple of folding tables, or improvise a playing surface that can be put on the floor so each cabin can more easily have two games going at a time.

This is a popular camp, and I expect the Scouts to want to make it a tradition.
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