Summer Camp

July 17, 2011

I loved everything about being a girl scout, well, almost everything.  I didn’t like the fact that “Miss Nick,” our troop leader, insisted on such thoroughness with our badge work that it was possible to earn only about one badge each year.  I dreamed of a full badge sash, like the other girls had from other places–out in the larger Girl Scout world that was beyond Galena.  But that was not going to happen with Miss Nick.  She pooh-poohed those sashes full of rows of circle patches, saying that they couldn’t possibly have really covered all of those topics.  So we tried not to be embarassed when we went to the Big Time Places and tried to focus on the good stuff.  And there was plenty of that.

I have vivid memories of the camp outs on her property–a large wooded lot with a hill and I think there might’ve been a stream, but don’t quote me on that.  There was the time when we made Pot O’ Gold for supper–a meal that I thought surely must’ve ranked with the finest in camp cuisine.   The large cans of Campbell’s tomato soup dumped into a huge pot over the campfire held the “gold”:  pressed, wadded-up slices of store-bought white bread filled with squares of Velveeta that melted into glorious goodness that I had never before experienced.

Miss Nick helped us (she did the actual metal cutting) make personal stoves out of  large pineapple juice cans that we had brought from home that our mothers had saved.  She cut 2 vertical lines into the side of the can, then rolled the section up, creating a handle for each stove.  We then used our saved tuna cans as mini burners which we placed on the ground under our larger stoves and cooked our 2 strips of bacon, then our eggs-in-a-frame (bacon first, so the bread and eggs didn’t stick–clever, huh).

We collected firewood (and I can still remember the categories of sizes needed:  tinder, kindling and fuel) and we were proud when our piles got big.  I think it had to be Miss Nick who actually started the fires.  I would’ve thought that she’d be the kind of lady who would rub 2 sticks together to get the needed spark, but I don’t remember that.  I think I can “see” some wadded up newspaper instead.

We learned how to make our personal latrine equipment.  We each lashed 3 short branches of twigs together that we carried with us to place over the hole that we were instructed to dig for our potty needs.   (And I do remember thinking, “Why the 3 sticks?  If we are going to use a hole, well, …anyway, I probably don’t have to spell this out for you, do I?  You probably have the same question.  Don’t you think the “seat” seems a bit superfluous?  But it makes a cool story to have from one’s childhood.)  You can see why it took a whole year to earn one badge.  But it was worth it.

We did have a good time with our summer camp experiences at Miss Nick’s house and I still smile every time I think of Pot ‘O Gold.

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Location, Location, Location.

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