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Written and photographed by Mr. Hank Lin

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Dear Royaneh camper parents,

Thanks you for loaning us your scout for the week!!  I’d like to give you an update on Royaneh, we had a great time at Royaneh, everything went smoothly. Everyone seemed to have a good time including the adults.  Hopefully by now you have been told with stories about camp and how much fun it was. If you would like a few conversation starters you might ask about a few of the items mentioned below.  

All scouts passed the BSA swimming test and completed their merit badges and Baden Powell advancement classes except there were only 2 young scouts tried very hard and almost completed their rifle merit badge. They did their best and please don’t worry about it, because they will have other chances to complete it in the future.  If you have any questions about your son’s advancement, his week at camp or anything else just let me know.

Our scout leaders for this camp were Roy H. (SPL), Rohan S. (ASPL) Darrel C., Charlie H. and Justin W. (Patrol Leaders). For a 14 year-old scout, Roy did an impressive job as SPL!!  His pre-camp organization was amazing, and in-camp, all senior scout leaders did an admirable job of keeping us on schedule and making sure that we were all safe.  Parents, you should be very proud of these fine young scouts.

Now for some ideas of activities to ask your son about if he hasn’t told you all about it already.

The younger scouts were treated to a Baden Powell crew by surely famous Ed Schmalz. Schmalz is one of those rare counselors who can hold the attention of 20 or so 11-12 year-old in the palm of his hand and convince them that they spent the whole period playing games instead of learning things. In addition to the many trail to first class requirements that they completed, there was an additional rare merit badge offered this week only at 7p-8:30p free time at camp Royaneh, that is Nuclear Science Merit Badge!!  It was offered by one of the troop’s scoutmaster who is a Nuclear Science Merit Badge Counselor;  We had 4 scouts take the class and all completed their Nuclear Science merit badge.

Throughout the week, Troop 103 were sharing the camp site “Frontiersman” with Troop 1190, a group of seven 15-16 year-old scouts with their adult leader Wanda and Scoutmaster Evan from Texas!!  They were funny, entertaining and friendly.  They are from Texas but came to California to learn horsemanship!!  A little bit odd but their only reason is because of California’s nice weather.  This is their second year to come to camp Royaneh and our scouts made friends with “Texans”

On Sunday night start with opening campfire, all skits from the camp staff were very entertaining and kept our first time campers entertained and busy which went a long way to prevent any feelings of homesickness.  According to Mr. Hershberger, the camp staff made all campers sing a few girl scout’s songs!! (our scouts probably didn’t know about it yet)

At our Monday night campfire. “Texans” scouts joined us, they made a Texas style campfire, a very big campfire!!  We sang songs,danced, shared skits and told stories.  Troop 103 alumni Robert Mitscha and Jim Howard also joined us for campfire night.  Robert Mitscha entertained the troop with songs and dances!!  All in all, we basked in the glow of scouting spirit from old friends and new.

Tuesday was competitions night and we had limbo (Abbas), chubby bunny (Justin), battleships (Aaron), water balancing (Darrel), basketball toss (Winston), hackey sack (Albert),  and the scoutmaster dance-off (Mr. Hershberger). The scoutmaster dance-off will be coming soon on YouTube video!  We did not win any of the events, but came back strong at shooting sports!!  On Wednesday when Rokas and Mr. Dargis. (the team of father and son) took 3rd place (or possibly second or first) in the Scoutmaster/Scout Rifle competition; On Thursday, Mr. Hershberger and Nathan took 2nd place in the Scoutmaster/Scout Archery competition!!  Also, Mr. Dargis, won again taking 2nd place in the Scoutmaster shotgun competition!!  WOW! We are GOOD!!

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On Wednesday 4th period, we did a conservation project at Camp Royaneh. A conservation project is also a requirement 9c for Camping Merit Badge, so the scouts did the project will be credited.  Rohan coordinated with camp commissioner Mr. Dubro to schedule it and gather all available scouts prior.  And then the project was lead by Nathan with 10 scouts, Mr. Hershberger supervised and instructed scouts to replace 5 log steps on the trail near the pools. It was a fun project, everyone worked together as a team so we finished the project fast just a little over an hour!!

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Wednesday evening’s gladiator contests had us doing all sorts of challenging team building activities and while we did not take first place but one thing worth mentioning from one of the contests is at the pool side,  the “Fill up the bucket” contest, when the water can fell in the pool, Winston jumped into the pool, fully clothed, without hesitation to pick up the can and save the team! !  Right after gladiator contests, it was the troop campfire night, it’s also our troop’s desserts night , Justin, Darrel and Ethan K. lead the scouts and made two dutch oven fruit cobbler and an up-side down pineapple cake, which were the B-E-S-T cobbler and cake that I ever tasted!!  While older scouts were busy making cobbler and cake, Mr. Hershberger helped young scouts to make a campfire step by step on their own for the first time.

Skit night on Thursday, troop 103 was presenting an original skit “Tai-Kwan-Boot” lead by Charlie, and ended with a surprising “Harlem Shake”. (coming soon on YouTube video) We also lowered the flag on Thursday evening by our younger scouts color guards and raised it on Friday morning by senior scouts, because we were named “Spirit Troop” on Independence Day (Thursday)!!  One of only five troops so named all week.

Friday night’s closing campfire was a blast with a very moving, touching and memorable flag “Final Honors” ceremony at the end. Back to camp cabins, because the “Texans” troop was going to leave camp early in the Saturday morning so our scouts reluctantly saying good-bye to the “Texans” with big group hugs and a group picture til late night.

For me, I enjoyed the camp a lot!!  At my free time, I completed the cairn hike (total of 24 cairns to find) and the COPE, COPE is a program designed to promote teamwork, self-confidence and the development of problem solving skills.  I completed the Royaneh’s cairn hike 2 times; I completed the first time in 3 days and second time for “green” (picking up trash on the trail) cairn hike in 3 hours!!  For every completed cairn hike, you will receive a Cairn Boot Award.  So I collected 2 boots to make a pair! 🙂  I also took a lot of pictures and videos to share but I need some time to put them together so I will share them when ready.

Big thanks go out to all the drivers who got us there and back; Mr. Dargis also spent the whole week to help the troop and as the banker so he was the most popular person after breakfast and lunch;  Mrs. Wang who was able to join us on Wednesday and for the rest of the week; A special thanks go out to Mr. Hershberger, who flew back from Florida and sacrificed a week of his time-off with his family and come to help the troop and me (I was the first time Royaneh camper). Mr. Hershberger, thank you for the coaching, patience and passion that you gave the scouts throughout the week and I’ve learned a lot from you as well.

You should all be proud of your sons, their accomplishments last week and the personal growth that all of them underwent.

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