I was the District Activities Chmn for the Dubuque District, N.E. Iowa Council for a period of 5 years and have always enjoyed putting together camporees.

I would like to share with you a couple of events that were very popular.

We ran a camporee based loosly on the old M.A.S.H TV show which we incorporated 1st aid and emergency preparedness. The camporee was held in a very large farm pasture that had a creek running through it. At noon on Saturday, while the Scouts were preparing their lunch we sent a runner to the Senior Patrol Leader of each Troop explaining that we had just received a report from the weather bureau that heavy rains were predicted and that the creek would be flooding. The SPL was told they had to 'Bug Out' immediately to an area away from flooding. This was not just moving the campsite 50' to higher ground. The area they had to move to was several hundred yards away. Troop leaders were not told in advance of this. This was an excellent event. It put the SPL in charge and was interesting to see how each troop completed the task. Some were much more organized than others. A couple Troop leaders were upset that we would try to pull off a 'Stunt' like that and refused to move. They were troops that probably had excess baggage (one had brought his 5th wheel camper). When the task was completed, we brought the SPL's together and discussed the move. How it could have been better? Was the SPL in charge, or did Troop leaders take over, etc?

Twist on String Burn

In this scenario, a wire is stretched across the fire pit at a 12" height. A string is stretched across at 18". Scouts may build the fire to the 12" level.

Once the fire is lit, no more fuel may be added to the fire. Now for the twist. The patrol leader is sitting in a chair with his back to the fire. The string runs up the back of the chair and a water balloon is attached to it suspended over the patrol leaders head. When the string burns, the balloon drops into a can with holes in it and a pin to burst the balloon. Additionally, this is set up to accomodate several patrols at one time. The chairs are set up in a circle facing each other. The patrol leaders sit on the chairs. Their patrol builds their fire behind a patrol leader other than their own. In this way, the patrol leader can coach his patrol, but does not know what is happening behind him.

Large fire by friction- bow method

Equipment needed:

50' bull rope (1 1/2")

1 line truck/line crew

1 30' used power pole

1 slab of oak or other hardwood - 12-18" X 4' X 6"(I dished out the center of the slab with chisels)

The pole was suspended over the slab with the line truck. The rope is wrapped around the pole and two patrols would work on pulling the rope to spin the pole. Can you start a fire this way? No, but they sure had fun trying. They worked on it all day and into the evening. I set this up alongside where we held our evening campfire. By this time the log was getting warm and was working like a drill, throwing off a little smoke (fine sawdust). As it was dark, we had a leader start a little fire into the tinder behind the pole with a match. The tinder was carried over to light our campfire. Any one watching thought the fire was started by the friction and no one was the wiser. While we were dismantling the set up, we discovered the Scouts had pulled on it enough to actually drill a hole all the way through the 6" oak slab!

One camporee conducted was on the Engineering Merit Badge. I contacted several companies within our area to come out and set up an active display that demonstrated their field of engineering. I tried to include 6 types of engineers. I asked each company to have a hands on display. This camporee was very well received. One company really got their attention. Barnstead Thermolyne brought out a piece of equipment they manufacture to do DNA testing, which just happened to be during the "OJ Simpson" trial.

To cap off the camporee, each patrol was to build a catapult. They were allowed to "home build them". I rented a dunk tank from a rent all. Both I and our Council Executive took turns sitting in it and letting the Patrols blast away, and yes we got wet. I enlarged the target to make it a little easier to hit. Our Council Executive wore a suit! The only drawback to the whole thing was doing this at a Fall Camporee in late October.........BRRRRRRRRRR!

Yours in Scouting

Jeff Mathewson

Scoutmaster Troop 67

Anamosa, IA