Troop 21 - St Joseph, MO

Troop 21 - St Joseph, MO

Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2016...

Wild in the Wilderness - Troop 21 Survival Campout

Bendena, Kansas - Fall arrived and with it the time for the eagerly anticipated Wilderness Survival camp out. 14 hearty and adventurous scouts and 5 brave adults met at the church Saturday, October 29th to pack for the overnight camp out.  Since it was Wilderness Survival there was minimal packing, but for water, sleeping bags and back packs.  Every one divided up into vehicles and we were on our way west out 36 highway to Bendena, Kansas.


Mr. Jeremy's family graciously hosted us on their farm land two years ago and it was a great location so we opted to camp there again.  After less than a 30 minute drive we arrived at Friendship Road.  We parked the cars and only the bigger vehicles drove through the fields to the camp site.  All the scouts walked to the camp site.  Once we arrived we surveyed the area and saw the remains of some of the shelters that were built a couple of years before!  Elaina's and Colton's stood and there were remnants of Ms. Gracia's though the mower recently destroyed hers.  It made for good scavenging of wood.  


Mr. Jeremy gathered us all around and proceeded to go over and review good and pertinent information, as well as rules, safety and a tentative schedule.  Afterwards he dismissed us. With perfect fall weather we all went pretty much straight to work.  In the meetings the scouts had learned beforehand how to make shelters.  There was plenty of wood to gather (be careful of snakes under logs!) so we were busy for a couple of hours working.  Some people buddied up and others decided to go solo.  In no time spines and ribs began to form and lean to shelters began to take shape  Most used a tarp over the formation and some went to the corn fields to gather corn husks and leaves to insulate it.  The weather again was unseasonably warm so not a lot of insulation was needed, though it did drop at night and a fair wind picked up making it colder than anticipated. However it was balmy compared to two years ago when it was quite cold!


We built shelters until noonish and then it was time to break for lunch.  A fire was started and hot dogs roasted and enjoyed with chips and chatter.  After lunch Mr. Jeremy had us gather around and we all went around to each shelter with discussion as to each one's pro's and con's. There was a variety of different shelters that had taken shape.  Mr. Robbie's was a great shelter and similar to the one he built the year before. It was low to the ground, having a small opening and very well insulted.  He's had some years of practice making them as he's attended multiple Wilderness Survival camp outs.  Afterwards more work ensued.  After most shelters were built there was free time and fun to be had.  Some went for hikes and to explore the creek and some played with a ball. Some found bones and made weapons out of them. Several of the adults took a hike along the creek and found fallen walnuts.  We cracked the shells and ate the delicious meat. We took them around to all the boys to taste them if they wanted.  Some of the boys then collected some and roasted them sharing with the adults.


There was also other survival skills being worked on.  Some tried to use different methods for making fire.  Ms. Gracia was successful at getting an ember from pinpointing the sun's rays through a magnifying glass to a piece of char cloth.  We didn't need a fire at the time so she didn't use the ember to further start a fire. Other methods tried were getting a fire by pin pointing the sun's rays through a water bottle, polishing a cola can with toothpaste, and Mr. John used a bow saw trying to get an ember through friction. Some new knots were also learned.  After some hours of down time it was time to think about dinner.  Christian was chosen to make a fire.  Using char cloth and twine a fire was started and the fire burned until there were nice ashes for the foil dinners to cook.  Foil meal dinners were chosen as the meal.  Everyone went through the line to get their foil, meat and a helping of veggies.  The trick to foil meals is to seal them tightly.  Every one gathered round the fire as their dinner cooked and we all chatted.  Some really being very minimalistic didn't pack all the usual gear such as mess kits.  So some used rocks as plates and some ate with their hands or used sticks.  Where there's a will there's a way and everyone managed to eat heartily and enjoy.  


After dinner there was clean up and some down time. We were going to do night time navigation, but the sky didn't cooperate as clouds covered the stars.  Some gathered to walk out into the corn fields to see what they could see as there were some stars.  Standing out in the middle of the corn field looking up and contemplating, the quiet was interrupted by the calls of coyotes.  From one direction and then another came the calls.  Some were a bit jolted and frightened by the coyotes and others were startled by just being outside at night in the woods.  Our group grew closer in proximity to one another, as it did last time too.  Again, the temperature dropped and some gathered around the fire, but it was still nice enough that a few just slept on tarps in their sleeping bags without shelters.  Around midnight or so each person drifted off to sleep tired by the work of the day of making one's own shelter out of Mother Nature's materials, exploring and just breathing in fresh air and being in sunshine.  The wind blew a bit through the night and some coyotes called, but overall it was a very peaceful night.  Morning came and with it the rising of a few lighter sleepers.  Eventually everyone woke and another fire was started.  Water was boiled for oatmeal.  Again, being Wilderness survival some opted to not use bowls or cups or even utensils.  Every one was warmed by the oatmeal and talk of the night before.  Time came for the camp to be dissembled.  Fires needed to be put out, lashings needed to be untied, tarps needed put away.  Other than that every thing else largely remained.


We will be anxious to see in several months up to two years when we go again, which shelter, if any at all, remain.  

A quick policing of the area and we walked the walk back to the farm house.  Some went into Mr. Jeremy's grandparent's cellar to see what a tornado shelter is like and then we gathered back into cars and after a short drive were back at the Church with another successful camp out completed.  

Rock on and be Wild 21!    

Ms. Gracia Pinzino

Troop Media Coordinator / Committee Member