Daily Reports from Summer Camp 2019 at Camp Ottari

By: James Belcher, Scoutmaster

Photos from the week at camp are available here.

Day 1 (Sunday):  We arrived at camp safe and sound this afternoon where we checked in, dropped our gear at the Apache campsite and then received a tour of Camp Ottari.  During our tour our scouts completed their swim tests and all of our scouts were classified as "swimmers", which is the highest classification and allows them access to all depths of water on Lake Ottari.  We then returned to our campsite, unpacked our gear and made our way to the evening flag ceremony and dinner.  After dinner was the opening campfire which included skits performed by Camp Ottari staff members.

Day 2 (Monday):Our older scouts began working on their various merit badges today and our younger scouts started the "Brown Sea Island" program which introduces and teaches the basic scouting skills to them and helps them advance towards the First Class rank at a good pace.  The day started off sunny and warm, but thunderstorms and at times heavy rain moved in during the afternoon and early evening.  That didn't dampen our scout spirit though and 3 boys attended an evening merit badge session and earned the Fingerprinting merit badge.  Other scouts attended the muzzleloading evening open session and got the opportunity to fire a .50 cal black powder rifle and others got in a quick game of ultimate frisbee in the campsite.  It was a fun first full day of camp.

Day 3 (Tuesday): Another day that started out warm and clear but afternoon thunderstorms and showers quickly moved in after lunch leading to more soggy conditions. Luckily, the rain didn't cause many issues with the programming around camp.  The older scouts continued working on their merit badges and our younger scouts in the Brown Sea Island program took a hike down to the Foxfire campsite this afternoon and set up their campsite for their overnight camp.  Tonight was the Commissioners Campfire, which was held in the dining hall and didn't include an actual fire.  Our very own Ben "Sparky" Sparks opened up the show with a comedy routine.  Each Brown Sea Island patrol also performed two skits during the campfire.  The rain cleared for the evening and we managed to get in some farkle and plenty of laughs before bed.

Day 4 (Wednesday): It was a warm, sunny day at Camp Ottari.  Thunder could be heard in the distance and some ominous clouds appeared overhead from time to time, but quickly moved away from camp giving us some much needed relief from the rain we have received over the past couple of days.  Our older scouts continued working on their merit badges today and the Brown Sea Island scouts worked on some of the requirements for their Totin' Chip and Fireman Chit this morning before heading down to Lake Ottari to work on some of their swimming requirements this afternoon.  Tody was OA (Order of the Arrow) day at camp.  Those of us who are members of the OA participated in an hour of service to the camp during the afternoon siesta after lunch.  Today was also the day our troop was assigned to clean the restrooms and showers that serve our campsite.  We brushed up on some of our cleaning skills and got the job done just in time for the scouts to head to their afternoon sessions.  In the "down time" between the last class and dinner, we handed out the cards and care packages from home and ate some of the fresh fruit which was delivered by Mrs. Bass earlier in the day.  It was a welcome treat and much appreciated by all of us.  Many of the scouts attended either the rifle, shotgun or archery open sessions this evening.  Our scouts working on the Nature and Reptile & Amphibian Study merit badges went on a "frog hike" to complete some of their requirements towards their badges.  Our scout in the Wilderness Survival merit badge set out on an evening survial hike and will have to make and sleep in his own shelter (not a tent) and survive the night in the woods.  OA members were treated to an evening cracker barrel which provided fellowship with fellow OA members and some special treats.  It was a great day at Camp Ottari and we're looking forward to what tomorrow holds.

Day 5 (Thursday): With the exception of a couple of quick sprinkles, we didn't have any rain today and the weather was perfect for another day of fun here at Camp Ottari.  The younger scouts in the Brown Sea Island program worked on some more of their basic scouting skills in their patrols and went to the waterfront and worked on some more of the swimming and water related requirements there as well.  The older scouts continued their progress towards the completion of their merit badges and most have nearly completed all of the requirements for their merit badges.  After the scouts completed their daily Brown Sea Island and merit badge sessions a luau was held on the parade field where scouts, scouters and camp staff enjoyed music, games and fellowship. Evening flags and dinner were also held on the parade field which allowed everyone to continue in the fun and fellowship.  After the luau and dinner, the majority of our scouts attended the water carnival at the waterfront.  While there our scouts participated in free swim in the "swimmers" area, a log roll/balance game in the "beginners" area and dodge ball in the "non-swimmers" area.  Other scouts participated in the open shotgun range, open rifle range, open archery range and zipline.  After the evening activities, we all returned to camp and had a camp fire where we roasted marshmallows and the scouts told stories.  We concluded the evening with a brief devotional before lights and some much needed rest before our last full day at camp tomorrow.