When Scouts arrived Wednesday night to check into the Clyde Lodge, they came bundled up in fluffy winter coats, beanies, scarves and mittens. Leaders warned their troops to dress warm because it would be a chilly weekend, but Scout Tanner Bunnion, age 15, was nowhere close to being intimidated by the snow saying, “I like the cold, actually. It adds an extra complexity to camping!”
After setting up camp and eating dinner, Scouts working on their Merit Badges took a class and those working on their Trail to First Class started their rank advancement classes. Although Parker Mason’s (age 11) favorite activity at Maple Dell is shooting, (an activity more suitable for warmer months), he enjoyed learning how to tie sheet bend and bowline knots for his Tenderfoot Merit Badge in his class that night.
By 10:30 p.m. it was lights out- more adventures would start at 8 a.m. sharp the next day. After
delighting in hot n’ fresh pancakes and steamy cocoa, Scouts separated into their activities. Gathering in the main lodge of the Maple Dell Scout Camp, a group of Scouts learned a lot about how to communicate better from Mrs. Johnson. She gave them good tips about how to better say what they mean and assigned them short activities to practice with each other, such as describe yourself, or come up with something to sell to us. It was so fun to see some of the boy so excited to pitch their idea in front of their peers and get really animated as they performed a mini commercial selling things like a Scout backpack that unfolded and had everything you would need in it.
One fun activity that Mrs. Johnson shared with me that she has done in the past for a communication workshop is having Scouts instruct their leader on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich step by step. When Scouts told their leader to get peanut butter out of the jar, the leader took his knife and cut the jar in half- with the lid still screwed on on the top. Scouts really learned that being specific in giving instructions or communicating in everyday situations is very important!
While Merit Badge group worked on their communication skills in the morning, the Trail to First Class
group got to keep warmer by the fire! They worked on learning how to make tinder, start a fire and learned how to keep it going. Parker Mason, age 11, said he learned that if a stick isn’t catching fire and looks wet, it most likely has sap inside of it! He also learned not to be afraid of smoke, but that he actually had to take a deep breath, and then get close and blow into the tinder to help the fire get enough oxygen to start again.
Though coming to Merit Badge Adventure camps at Maple Dell is a great way to earn a couple badges at once, Tanner Bunnion said he loves going to Maple Dell Scout Camp for more reasons than to just get badges. “I just love camping, it’s good for me and coming to Merit Badge campout is more of a “funness” to me than a I’m going to come to a Merit Badge campout because I need merit badges. I go more because it’s fun and fun to be around camping people!”
Adults were also able to register for and attend a Basics of Pistol Shooting class at Maple Dell. Kyle Hansen taught the class how to properly hold and shoot pistols, how to follow-through after a shot is fired, and many safety tips and skills.
Overall, Scouts and adults had a great time learning new skills and tips at Maple Dell Scout Camp and weren’t even phased by the cold, showing that Maple Dell is a beautiful and fun place to visit, even in the depths of a cold December winter!
Author: Katelyn Kenedy | Marketing Associate, Utah National Parks Council