A day at the Scout Show

Today was the annual Scout Show for the Denver Area Council.  This is an opportunity for units and other Scout-friendly groups to showcase their activities and to recruit members.  I counted close to 250 booths this year.  It’s also a giant Scouting class reunion where you run into everyone you’ve met over the last year and get introduced to many new friends.

My day started with the pack and troop – supplying a few items for their booth and getting things set up.  The theme for the show was “The Adventure Continues” and the troop chose the theme “The Next Generation of Camping”.  The booth included many modern camping elements.  It was an admirable try.  This was the first year the pack was involved and a few of the Cubs showed up to spend time in the booth.  We handed out popcorn in the beginning but quickly ran out.

While our booth was more of a display, many others had activities and prizes.  Some were pretty simplistic – throw a ball through a hole to win a patch; shoot Nerf darts at a target and get a piece of candy.  Others were more elaborate – racing Pinewood derby cars; leg jousting; miniature golf.  One booth went so far as to have a video game where the boys sat on ATVs that were connected as game controllers.  It was almost straight out of an arcade.  But definitely, the booths that drew the most visitors had some sort of activity available.

I decided to make my way around the show and take in many of the other booths.  The Wood Badge booth caught my eye and I reminisced with many friends I have mad over the past few weeks.  It was lots of fun catching up with people and discussing the many nuances of the course.  Our council has compiled a book (available for sale in the coming months, I’ve heard) that chronicles the history of Wood Badge in Denver, including a listing of all of the patrols and staff.  It turns out that the Bobwhite patrol is the third most popular critter with about 270-some members, so I’m in good company.

My next stop was the Catholic Committee on Scouting and Chaplain Aide’s Training.  The CCS both was well staffed, so I didn’t need to stay.  I have had to miss the last couple of meetings because of Wood Badge.  I visited with some friends and chatted about everything scouting.  I find it funny how I was never concerned with what critter a person was until I attended Wood Badge.  I guess that makes perfect sense.  And I’m sure it’s just the newness of the experience that makes me focus on it.  But I’ve already found a couple of good friends who are Bobwhites.  And it’s a small celebration when we find out.

Next up was the Day Camp 2011 booth.  This one I just wanted to find.  It was the only booth I had actually signed up to staff for at a specific time.  They were having Scouts throw bean bag balls through holes on a board that were painted as different goals.  Four throws and you got a patch.  The council had plenty of patches left over from the 100th Anniversary Celebration last year, so a everyone got one.

The last booth to locate was the Arapahoe District booth.  Here I had offered at least an hour of my time, so I stayed and chatted with district commissioners and volunteers and answered questions about the district.  And I had a very heartfelt discussion with a gentleman who I believe was a Scouter, even though he wasn’t in uniform.  It was loud and I’m not sure I was using my active listening as well as I could have.  But we both seemed to take something away from the conversation.

My wife and two boys also attended the show. We came separately and they spent most of their time touring the booths.  We met up for lunch and paid a small fortune to have pizza, hot dogs and chicken fingers.  The food was pretty good, surprisingly enough, and I got to hear all of the fun things the boys had been doing.  They also spent some time manning the pack and troop’s booth.  But it’s hard for Cubs and pre-Cubs to sit still for very long!

Near the end of the day we met up briefly at the Coleman discount store at the show.  My wife was interested in a 4-man tent on sale for $50.  We already have a 4-man tent that we bought at last year’s show, and a 7-man tent for family camping.  But we ran into space issues with the 7-man last year and had talked about getting a second 4-man to get around that this year.  After some discussion we decide to hold off on the tent for now.  With Philmont coming up there is some question as to how much camping we’ll actually be able to do this year.

So I finished up the day at the Day Camp booth.  I was able to find out how many registrations we have for our camp so far this year.  I was also able to talk to a few folks about volunteering  for staff.  So all in all it was a productive time.  And it was great to see all of the boys (and girls) try their hand at pitching the balls through the board.  Especially to see them light up when they got a patch, even if they didn’t get one through the hole.

So another Scout Show is in the history books.  I didn’t even get outside to see the cooking demonstrations.  I’ll have to remember to make more time for that next year.  But it was a great day over all and a great day for Scouting.  Now it’s time to kick my Day Camp planning into high gear.

YIS

Mike

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~ by Michael Forner on April 16, 2011.

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