Annual Camporee held at Rainwater Observatory

By Pushmataha Area Council


Boy Scouts from across the Pushmataha Area Council 10-county region gathered the weekend of November 8-10 for their annual Fall Camporee. The camporee was held this year at the Rainwater Observatory in French Camp. Scouts established their camps on the extensive fields surrounding observatory hill, and participated in a wide array of competitions, service projects, and observatory tours.

Troop 41 of Ackerman attended, led by Senior Patrol Leader Alex Robison. Mike Hughes serves Troop 41 as Scoutmaster. Troop 41 placed second among the 14 units attending during the Campsite Inspection. Campsite Inspection demonstrates a troop’s knowledge and understanding of proper camp health and safety procedures, and includes an assessment of the ability of the troop’s scouts to make proper and useful campsite improvements.

The Scout units present for this camporee were Troop 1, Columbus; Troop 3, Columbus; Troop 5, Louisville; Troop 9, Caledonia; Troop 14, Starkville; Troop 17, Okolona; Troop 27, Starkville; Troop 30, Eupora; Troop 38, Aberdeen; Troop 41, Ackerman; Troop 45, Starkville; Troop 109, French Camp; Troop 141, Ackerman; and, Venture Crew 45, Starkville.

Saturday morning was spent in inter-troop competitions that tested each patrol’s skill sets. Each troop brought between one and three patrols, and each patrol is usually comprised of eight Scouts.

The Chariot Race mimicked an emergency situation in which an injured person had to be transported in a wilderness situation. This involved lashing together four poles into an A-frame structure, and using that to carry a Scout a specific distance. This was a timed event, and judging was based upon the patrols efficient use of appropriate lashings, knots, and emergency response practice. The Troop 3 Marmot patrol won first place, Troop 14 Wild Goose Chase patrol received second place, and the Bamboo Patrol of Crew 45 took third place in this event.

The Compass Course required each patrol to use a compass to follow a set of bearings for specified distances, and arrive at the correct sport. Scoring was based on the accuracy of the patrol’s arrival point and the amount of time it took them to arrive. The Rope Patrol of Troop 45 took first place in this event, the Troop 9 Eagle Patrol earned second place, and the Bamboo Patrol of Crew 45 took third place.

Fire Building is always a fun event. In this version of the Fire Building competition, Scouts had to build a fire using natural materials they gathered on the ground, and were allowed three matches for getting the fire started. With the windy conditions Saturday, the three-match limit was a bit of a challenge. Patrols scored during the event on the time it took them to boil water in a can, their adherence to Leave No Trace principles, and their Scout Spirit. Troop 45’s Rope patrol won top honors with first place, with The Bamboo Patrol of Crew 45 close on their heels in second place. Troop 34’s Marmot patrol took home third place.

Every Scout is trained in First Aid by the time they reach First Class rank, so the First Aid event is always a good one. This event required patrols to respond appropriately to an emergency injury, securing the area, calling for appropriate medical help, and administering first aid to the injured party while treating for shock (as needed). This was a timed event, and the Spartan patrol of Troop 27 held the high ground in this event with first place, Troop 9’s Wolf patrol earned second place, and the Big Red Button Patrol of Troop 14 placed third.

Knot Tying seems to be equated with Scouting, so no camporee would be complete without a Knot Tying competition. Troop 30’s Chief Patrol earned first place, Troop 109’s Yogi Bear Patrol earned second, and Troop 1’s Fire Breathing Rubber Ducky Patrol took home third. Closely related to knot tying is lashings (using rope to fasten poles together), and the Lashing competition was won by the appropriately named Rope Patrol of Troop 45, with Troop 109’s Yogi Bear Patrol close behind in second place, and Troop 3’s Marmot Patrol in third place.

A new event for this camporee was the Pancake Flip. Each patrol had to cook a pancake, flip it over a rope line, catch it in the pan on the other side, and finish with the Senior Patrol Leader eating the pancake. This was a lot of fun to watch, and even more fun to participate. The Spaghetti Patrol of Troop 45 won the first place ribbon in this event, Troop 3’s Marmot Patrol won second place, and the Rope Patrol of Troop 45 brought home the third place ribbon.

The Stretcher Race was a lot of fun. Each patrol had to use a blanket and two poles to make a stretcher, and then carry a Scout around a short course. This was a timed event, with the best time being turned in by the Survivor Patrol of Troop 14. Troop 109’s Blue Wolves patrol won second place, and Troop 1’s Fire breathing Rubber Ducky Patrol gained the third place slot.

The Tent Pitching competition doesn’t involve pitching a tent in the sense of throwing it. Pitching a tent in this sense means putting up a tent as quickly as possible. Troop 1’s Fire breathing Rubber Ducky patrol had the best time, the Spartan patrol of Troop 27 brought home the second place ribbon, and third place went to Troop 3’s Marmot Patrol.

Saturday afternoon was split between two events. Each patrol spent half the afternoon in a service project, rebuilding seating areas near the observatory at French Camp. The other half of the afternoon was spent touring the telescopes and observatory facilities on top of the hill. Observatory Director Edwin Faughn gave detailed tours of the facilities to both Scouts and adult leaders.

The evening hours began with dinner preparation and dining. Camp inspectors visited each troop and took stock of the food preparation, nutritional balance of the meal, the attractiveness of the meal, and the dining atmosphere created by the troop. Points were awarded based on the effort and efficiency of the troop. The Bamboo Patrol of Crew 45 brought home the first place ribbon for this event, the Wolf Patrol of Troop 17 won second place, and the Troop 14 Survivor Patrol rated as third place.

A traditional Council Campfire was held late Saturday evening, with skits and songs by the patrols present providing the entertainment.

After an opening flag ceremony and chapel service, the last of the two competitions were announced, and awards were presented.

Sunday morning saw the last of the two competitions. Campsite inspection was won by Troop 27, with second place going to Troop 41, and third place going to Crew 45. Uniform Inspection is always a close call among the troops. Three patrols tied for first place with 100% correct uniforming, and after checking patch placement, epaulets, and other uniform minutiae, Troop 45’s Rope Patrol emerged in first place when the inspectors asked for Scouts to show their troop registration cards. The Rope Patrol had their registration cards ready, and that was enough to decide the contest in their favor. Second place went to Troop 14’s Big Red Button patrol, and third place to the Wild Goose Chase patrol of Troop 14.

The last award presented was the prestigious Red, White, and Blue Streamer for Best Overall Troop. With five first place wins out of 12 events, and one third place ribbon, the Best Overall Troop rating was presented to Starkville’s Troop 45, led by Senior Patrol Leader Jacob Reed.

Troop 45 has been chartered by Starkville’s First United Methodist Church since 1953. Patrol Leaders for the troop are Chandler McCafferty, Rope Patrol, and Ryan Harfst, Spaghetti Patrol. Junior Assistant Scoutmaster Evan McBroom rounded out the youth leadership corps for Troop 45.

Adult leadership at the event included Troop Committee members Charles Greene, Jim Harfst, and Richard Tollison. Assistant Scoutmaster David Humphries and Scoutmaster Allen McBroom complete the adult roster for the event.

Troop 41 Scouts, of Ackerman, waiting for camporee to start on Saturday morning. Pictured is (left to right) Barrett Shearer, Alex Robison, Tyler Cagle, Kirk Shearer and Kyle Lucas.

Troop 41 Scouts, of Ackerman, waiting for camporee to start on Saturday morning. Pictured is (left to right) Barrett Shearer, Alex Robison, Tyler Cagle, Kirk Shearer and Kyle Lucas.