Article and photos by ScoutingNewsStaff
CONROE, TEXAS – With warm clothes and hand warmers stuffed in their packs, Scouts started to roll in to Camp Strake, one of Sam Houston Area Council’s four council camps, at 13:00 the day after Christmas for Scout Odyssey Winter Camp. Troop trailers and passengers made their way to each designated campsite. Security and the registration staff had their hands full in a matter of minutes. But after months of preparation and planning, it was nothing they couldn’t handle. Within a few hours, the camp was filled with approximately 1,200 Scouts and Scouters. By 15:30, almost all the Troops had checked in and the camp staff finally had a chance to catch a breath.
For many years, they come out to brave five cold nights in the wilderness to get away from everything they usually take for granted – TVs, computers, indoor heating, warm beds – the list goes on. With
temperatures dipping into the 30s, Scouts learned how to pack extra warm at their last meeting before Winter Camp. Like any campout, preparation is absolutely essential. Although Camp Strake provides meals and activities, Troops must bring their own patrol boxes and camp gear for campsite set up. For Troop 557 from Katy, Texas, their first priority was to get camp set up, and second to plan for the week ahead. The Scoutmaster and other adult leaders gathered the Scouts around the camp tables for the debriefing.
Winter Camp offers rank advancement like First Class Emphasis and the opportunity to earn merit badges led by knowledgeable volunteer Scouters, who are also professionals in their fields of expertise. Archery, Rifle Shooting, and Athletic Merit Badges were among the most popular, while Environmental Science, First Aid, and the three Citizenship
Merit Badges are offered for First Class, Star, and Life Scouts as they journey ever closer toward Eagle. The combination of board games, dodge ball, tag football, fellowship, skit and movie nights, and the outdoor setting turn an ordinary classroom into a fun-filled week of learning.
Registering your troop’s summer and winter camps with your council is a great way to circulate funds back into where it matters for Scouts registered in that council. “By attending their council’s summer and winter camps, Troops can help fundraise for new camp amenities and programs,” states Program Director Bobby Warren. Maintaining the campground is no simple task. Dedicated camp residence and volunteers put a great deal of time and effort into keeping the
premises properly maintained and functional for Scouts to enjoy. It is very important for Troops to support their council camps, so that the camps could continue to build new and upgrade existing facilities.This year’s Winter Camp was a great success. If your Troop missed this year’s Winter Camp, consider signing up next time around!
You can find more photos of Scout Odyssey Winter Camp on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ScoutingNews.