Night Camporee a Success
golden cliff (c60clg1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Tue, 30 Sep 1997 02:34:41 -0500
We had our "Night Camporee" last weekend. It was a success.
The theme was "Mission Impossible" and consisted of 11 night missions.
We had 185 registered (which is a respectable turnout for our district).
The event was held at the Three Fires Scout Ranch near Rochelle, Illinois.
We used the entire 500 acres for events. Scouts hiked 6-8 miles
(depending on their rotation) while completing the events/missions. First
missions 1-5, then mission 6 (a light meal), then missions 7-11. The
first 5 and last 5 missions were done in a round robin fashion, 30 minutes
each, while the meal combined everyone together for 1 hour at the
mid-point of the evening.
Troops arrived Saturday afternoon, set up camp, cooked and ate dinner, and
at 7pm started their 11 night missions. The program ended at 1:30am. They
were given 3.5" computer disks as scoresheets. Event chairmen wrote
their scores on the disk's label.
The weather was nearly perfect; warm and dry (not even dew)
A Synopsis of the Night Missions
Mission 1 = Laser Gauntlet
This is a game where blindfolded Scouts defend a picnic shelter with lasers
(flashlights) against invaders. The invaders must start at least 30
paces from the shelter, their goal is to reach the shelter without being
"killed" by a laser. Scouts must move quietly to go undetected and
Mission 2 = Star Trek
After hiking through a dark wooded area, they emerge into an expansive
grassy field. This is your typical star hike. No flashlights in use.
Night eyes observe the heavens above.
Mission 3 = Mystery Mission
A counterfeiter in a cabin has sheets of money laying on tables. Our
agents, disguised as buyers, examine the money and secretly scan the
serial numbers with a portable laser. The laser is built with a film
canister, 9v battery, wire, and mini christmas light. They bring in the
components for the laser in a zip lock baggie and assemble it secretly in
the cabin. Through 2 way radio, they are instructed by another Scout
outside who has the plans. (This event didn't go as planned. The Scout
who designed and built 6 laser kits and plans left them in the car he rode
in to the camporee. We had to improvise slightly.)
Mission 4 = Solo Encounter
Our troop chaplain conducted this event. He waited under the light of a
torch. With Scouts assembled, he lit a candle for the "spirit of
Scouting" then talked briefly about the significance of the Scout Law and
Oath. He challenged them to ponder a question during their solo
experience. He then placed Scouts about 75 feet apart along a trail in a
large meadow area for silent reflection. Afterwards, he gathered them and
sent them silently to their next event. (I have yet to learn what his
Mission 5 = Secret Stranger
As the Scouts hike along the Kyte River, they meet two strangers. One is
the "Condor" who wants their disk to give them valuable information. The
other is the "Jackal" who wants their disk to steal information and sell
it to terrorists. Each claims to be the "Condor" and accuses the other
of being the "Jackal". Which is trustworthy?
Mission 6 = Jaws of Death -- 10:00pm-11:00pm
This was our light meal served halfway through the program. We served
deli sandwiches, veggies, cheese, crackers, soup, hot chocolate, lemonade,
and coffee. Everyone was together for this at a centrally located
dining hall. It was a good time to take a head count. Also we have an
LDS troop in our district and this was a good ending point for them to
return home before midnight. We had a large fire for warming people.
Mission 7 = Enemy Encampment
A camp of right wing extremists are plotting to attack a federal
installation. We must approach closely without being seen and gather
intelligence data. How many tents do they have? We are estimating their
Mission 8 = Espionage Adventure
The "Jackal" stole priceless emeralds from the orient to finance
terrorist activities. A coded message was intercepted on the Internet
giving away it's location. Following the compass readings on that message
track the emeralds to the abandoned warehouse and recover them. Beware.
There are traps, containers filled with poisionous spiders. Don't choose
the wrong container. Trust your compass.
Mission 9 = Blind Escape
You were closing in on the "Jackal", but it was a trap. An explosion
blinds all but one of you. One sighted Scout must lead the blind
(blindfolded) to safety (through an obstacle course). Do it quickly,
another bomb is set to go off soon.
Mission 10 = Agent Rescue
A friendly agent has parachuted into this area. He has not made contact, we
believe he may be injured. Find him and treat his injuries before enemy
agents find him. Search & rescue.
Mission 11 = Stealth Hike
A roadway across open terrain lasting 1/2 mile must be traveled without
light or sound. Agents in the shadows will monitor your progress. You
must travel in stealth.
These were the events. They seemed to be enjoyed by everyone. We received
overwhelmingly positive feedback.
We had no reported injuries during the event.
Lights out - quiet time: 2:00am.
Sunday troops packed up and left. I didn't have a formal closing program
because I didn't know how a 2am bedtime would affect things.
Most were up at 8am and gone by 10am.
If I had elected to have a closing, we would have done a flag ceremony, a
short ecumenical devotional, and passed out troop ribbons. (I'll be doing
that next week at the Rountable)
I would have a formal closing if I were to do it again.
This camporee wasn't about competing in Scout skills, but rather
developing team building.
The aims of Scouting are Citizenship, Character, and Fitness.
Those that hiked the trails that night can attest to the fitness portion
of the camporee.
The "Solo Encounter" was meant to address the character aim, and
concentrated on the experience of the individual contemplating some
quality time in his environment while pondering a question regarding
his life. "Secret Stranger" regarded the assessment of two people's
character and the value of trust.
Citizenship is a group of people working together to accomplish goals,
whether it be a small group, community, state, nation, or global effort.
The largest investment of time was towards citizenship. That was a
portion of nearly every event.
Mission Impossible was a fun event that built upon the effectiveness of
patrols and their ability to work together, solve problems creatively,
develop leadership & trust for one another, and develop greater bonds
between patrol members and as a group.
I have hanging in my office a quote,
"The real voyage of discovery
consists not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes."
I hope the boys might have seen some things through new eyes, if not
merely a familiar landscape transformed by darkness, then hopefully
another view of their unit or patrol and their role within it. Maybe their
"Solo Encounter" might have given them new eyes through reflection about
their own lives.
Regardless, it was a challenge to put together and a great deal of fun
for myself and my troop. Half my Scouts went around to the events, the
other half help staff them. I don't know which had more fun.
For a more detailed look at the Mission Impossible Program you can visit...
click on "resources"
click on "camporee programs"
It's all still under construction. Better to give me a week or so to
YIS, Cliff Golden
Scoutmaster Troop 33; Dekalb, Illinois
Three Fires Council BSA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City