“Respect,” was Senior Patrol Leader Spencer’s theme for the week. It is very impressive for a 17 year old boy to choose “respect,” let alone have any theme at all.
But having a positive motto ended up being the evidence to Spencer’s stellar leadership and not the cause of the great behavior of the troop. The boys-in-charge lead by example and made fantastic decisions on their own, which lead to a successful camp experience.
The boy leaders banned pranking (mostly successful), spoke honestly and emotionally at meetings, and supported each other (including other troops) during competitions and events. I have said it before, but I am amazed at how much more positive and nurturing the boys in Troop 14 are now, compared to when I was in the troop a decade ago.
2015 marked the 90th anniversary of Camp Royaneh, the crown jewel of Boy Scout camps in the San Francisco Bay Area. The camp staff made this year special in many ways, but the most noticeable was the a new spirit stick.
The stick is awarded to the troop who shows the best camp spirit through yells, contests and courtesy towards others. It comes with the honor or performing the color guard for the next day until another troop is awarded it.
Troop 14 earned the spirit stick on the second day, and I was quite proud.
Once again, the Gladiator Games were the highlight of the week. In one evening, all troops in camp compete at various tasks including tug-of-war and strategy games. Troop 14 regularly does very well, often winning first place. This year, the boys were determined to repeat. Not only did they win at tug-of-war, but the defeated the camp staff in a bonus round.
Troop 14 also has an important anniversary. Our troop is 100 years old and as such is taking measure to mark the occasion. One of the most important efforts by the parents committee and alumni was to retrofit the original cabins (built in the 30′s?) with new roofs and foundations so that another 100 years worth of boys can enjoy them. To help raise the money for the project, the cabins were renamed after the families of generous donors.
The horseshoe competition is back in full swing with nearly every boy in the troop participating. In the finals, a staff team which had been dominating the tournament went against a younger team of two star scouts, not yet even patrol leaders.
On the final throw, one of the boys from the younger team took a time out to calm himself beacuse anything but a “ringer” would have lost the game.
In a sports story for the ages, the younger scout threw a ringer to win the championship and was immediately dog-piled by other younger scouts.
The older staff members were shocked and distraught. It was a finals game which will be told for years to come.
Equally impressive are the campfires of our troop. This year, we not only had several original skits and yells by the boys, but several scouts played the guitar or even sang solo for the troop. Their courage and creativity continues to surprise and excite me.
More images can be found here.