As a long time Shenandoah River State Park.
With the vast experience of the leaders, the diversity of nature and activities at the park and a lot of creativity, it was a great place to spend a week with the scouts. I never had any children of my own, but I have been told I am good with them. I think it is due to a beautiful mix of patience, knowledge, relatable teaching methods, enthusiasm for life and a childlike inner core that has never left me. With a week with 14 boys, it is like being a parent with every minute of your day filled with either feeding them, teaching them, entertaining them, or caring for their needs.
When all is said and done, this was a week filled with spills, chills and thrills that none of us will ever forget.
Although it was a lot more work to create your own Boy Scout Summer Camp, the food sure was a lot better. I'm not talking just a little better, I mean a LOT better. There was never any guessing to what kind of meat we were eating and none of our biscuits could be confused with being a hockey puck. For my money, there is nothing like a grilled burger; it's the only way to cook it!
The park has so much to offer that it makes it easy to work on a variety of merit badges during the week.
As an rope course, zip lining and white water rafting. Both adults and boy scouts had a blast and I highly recommend this to anyone in the area.
Currently at Shenandoah River State Park a zip line course is being built that may be in limited operation by the end of this year.
Another merit badge I got to teach, which is a guilty pleasure, was birding. For their merit badge the boys had to identify 20 different birds, 5 by sound alone. Since the park's landscape goes from the river to the tops of mountains in a relatively short distance, finding a variety of birds was not a problem. An unexpected treat came when park staff dropped by our camp with a juvenile pileated woodpecker, giving the boys a rare chance to see and hear one up close.
The boys also worked on trail work at the park, knot tying skills, campfire building skills, cooking, leadership skills training, environmental science merit badge, fishing merit badge, and so many other activities.
As much fun as we had, for many of us,the highlight was actually the flag retirement ceremony we conducted. With July 4th upon us when we celebrate our independence, this ceremony was very moving for all. As we retired the flags I talked about the symbolism of our flag, remembering all those that fought and died so we can enjoy something like a week of camping.
In the dim light of a day passing by and as the last of the stars and stripes was absorbed by the flames, you weren't American if a chill didn't come over you at that moment.
It was amazing for me to see 14 boys that all week, for every waking moment, talked, yelled, sang and ramble on, stoodin pure silence taking in this special moment.
Well next stop for me is home sweet home, Virginia State Parks. There a lot of activities going on and at some of them you can catch a fireworks show in the area.
A great tip is to go toBusch Gardens across the river shoot off their fireworks: You get the pleasure of the show, without the pain of the crowds!
My New River Trail Challenge triathlon workout update:
Since the last Episode:
1,300 sit ups, 13 miles of hiking, 17 miles of kayaking/canoeing
TOTAL to since May 20th:
3,800 sit ups, 14 miles of hiking, 22 miles of kayaking/canoeing and countless hours of my mind telling my body it doesn't hurt!
Until our paths crossat a Virginia State Park, hang onto your pants!