When Hot Gets Cold and Cool Gets Hot.

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Jambo Journal – Day #3, Tuesday, July 27, 2010 Arrival.

Yesterday’s entry: Faithfully Following Directions Leads Us Astray – With Amazing Consequences!

While Monday evening saw us 1103971_32963947_unhappy_feet_stock_xchng_royalty_freeenter our tents in a sweat, too hot for even the barest of covers, by the wee hours of Tuesday morning we experienced something these parts of Virginia has not recently experienced. It’s something I believe the experts call “cold.” Well, not quite “cold,” actually more like “cool.” Word is folks from the northern tier might call it “balmy.”

In either case, it got cold enough during the short night, to require an extra article of clothing and – where’s that sheet it was too hot for earlier? Others might complain, but I thought it was great sleeping weather. Unfortunately, that darn moon had other things in mind and, for the second night in a row, I counted sheep until they passed out. By the time enough of them there woolly ovine had finally surmounted that wooden fence, I heard the strains of revelry. Ergo, another sleepless night.

At breakfast in the morning, it was determined I was the “Special” Scoutmaster. This is the guy who gets all the fun jobs that fall outside of the normal Scoutmaster job description. For our particular troop, this includes everything from grammatician to parliamentarian to human calculator to arbitrary ant killer (yes, we seemed to have landing on their home). I have to admit: it is fun. And it does make me feel special.

Being the first day of official activities, the boys are quickly off. So are the other leaders. This means I’m alone in camp, left to guard our various belongings. Apparently, this is a “special” duty. I enjoy the solitude. If gives me time to take in the sights and sounds around me.

Aside from the normal smells and resonances of summer, wafting through the subcamp air come the sounds of shotguns, rifles and Lynard Skynard’s Freebird. And perhaps a musket or two. Does that say “Boy Scouts” or what? Actually, it’s more of a testament to being in the middle of an army base – oh! there goes another low-flying helicopter again – with nobody except other middle-aged Scoutmasters (remember, all the boys are off doing activities).

Camp life has been pretty non-eventful. The weather peaked into the “Red” zone. The Boy Scouts of America, being ever to prepared not to repeat the dehydration drama of 2005, has adamantly prepared us. This includes devising a color code range along the spectrum of White (best), Green, Yellow, Red and Black (the worst). So far, all we’ve had are a couple of bee stings, a tick and one blister (on the hand, from playing one of those activity games too aggressively). But tomorrow looms with the first of two Death Marches. It starts are 7:30am and lasts for up to 2 hours followed by an opening ceremony of unknown length and a three-mile hike back to our subcamp.

If I post a report tomorrow, it means I survived at least that, if not the low-flying helicopters.

Now at Hometown News (HTN) Correspondent tent, there’s an adult leader complaining – politely – about the fact the HTN tent is on only one edge of camp. He’s got a point. He’s really about an hour away – and that’s if you take one of the slow moving buses. It’s several hours away if you walk (given the heat). We’re lucky. We’re sort of in the middle, meaning everything is about an hour’s walk away (half hour by bus, not including the expected 1-hour wait time to board the bus). At least the complainer is right next to the Compass Mysterium and the Technoquest exhibits, two “tickets only” events that will require us to eat quickly to attend on time.

When we leave HTN, one of those dreaded bus lines confronts us. We opt against it and choose to walk the nearly two miles in the now Yellow weather. We’re already late for dinner. I can’t see how this won’t be a common occurrence for the rest of the boys in the coming week. Fortunately, we make quick time and arrive before the patrols begin making dinner.

I eat with the Eagles and the boys talk boldly of patch trading. It seems as if a patch-mania had spread throughout Jamboree. It’s hot. Hotter than hot, it’s cool. Boys who had previously never expressed an interest in the hobby suddenly have blossomed into aficionados. Members of the Eagle Patrol and the senior boy leadership regale me with stories of things I know nothing about. Still, my impression is it’s an experience they will keep with them forever. You know what I mean – one of those “life’s little moments” that’s not scripting, not that big a deal at the time, but enough of a “special” event that it’ll stick in the memory for decades.

Stay Tuned for Tomorrow’s Exciting Journal Entry: Unexpected Reactions.

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