For many area Cub Scouts, this weekend was an opportunity to get away from the television, the computer, the video games and their homework and to venture into the great outdoors.
Some Scouts and their families set up camp on the grounds of Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park Friday night in preparation for Saturday’s daylong activities scheduled for the 2012 Buffalo Mountain District Akela Cub Campout.
The rain came in spurts throughout Saturday morning and afternoon, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the Scouts scattered around the campsite areas participating in various activities, including badminton, flag football, soccer, kickball and other scouting educational programs.
Ralph Moats, spokesman with the Buffalo Mountain District, said the Akela Campout is a Cub Scout event that introduces their Scouts from Unicoi, Washington and Carter counties to the whole camping experience.
“Every year we do what’s called a Fall Roundup where we go into the elementary schools and we recruit new Scouts for Cub Scouting and they’re anywhere from first to fifth grade,” Moats said. “A lot of these Scouts have never had the opportunity to go camping before.”
The campsite was lined with tents and camping materials as the boys and the supervising parents and adults traveled from activity to activity.
John Hilemon, from Troop 2007 of Erwin, appeared to be scanning his options for his next camp activity, after already completing the bow and arrow activity, where he made it through his blue target two out of three times.
Hilemon said he was excited to be at the campout and enjoys being a Cub Scout.
“We go outside, we do crafts, we work on our badges and work on belt loops,” he said. “You get to do some fun activities like this.”
Hilemon read off the belt loops he’s acquired so far, including one for marbles, fishing, archery, chess and BB gun shooting. He said he was looking forward to getting to do the sling shot range activity, as well as shooting from the BB gun.
Scouts also had an opportunity to earn a pin for certain learning activities.
“We’re doing the forester pin, which is only for fourth- and fifth-graders and it’s one among a lot of pins that they can earn. But, they’ll be learning about forestry and they’ll actually go out in the woods out here and identify some trees and bushes,” Moats said.
There was also an opportunity for Scouts to learn some first-aid skills, as well.
A newcomer to the event this year was John Rosselot, an adult campout participant from Pack 35, Den 11.
“Everything’s going great. The kids are having a great time out here. (I’ve) got a Tiger Cub –– a first-grader –– and he’s having a great time, ” he said. “This is my first time. I was surprised to see all of these people down here.”
Rosselot said the campout is a great environment for the kids to just be kids.
“It’s a chance for the kids to get to meet each other and interact in places they normally don’t get to see each other, other than school. A chance for them to be themselves, really,” he said.
Moats said Scouting, at its core, centers around fostering sportsmanship, citizenship, education and lending a hand to the community. Having been involved with the Boy Scout program for many years, he said he enjoys seeing the kids grow in the program, as well as the interaction between the kids and their parents.
“We request that a parent or an adult be with each of these boys all weekend, whether they’re coming just for the day or they’re coming to camp out. We don’t have enough of that these days,” he said. “They (the Scouts) don’t have a lot of time with their parents, so this gives them an opportunity to do that and have some good time together.”
And what’s a campout without a campfire?
Moats said a campfire was scheduled for later Saturday night, which would include skits and songs for everyone to participate in.
The Cub Campout ends today at around 11 a.m.