Final Leg

After departing from the Gettysburg National Cemetery, the crew began the long trip home. We stopped for dinner at a Cracker Barrel. This was a refreshing stop. Not only was the sit-down dinner with great company nice, but the many compliments that we received from other restaurant guests about how polite and well-behaved our boys were much appreciated. The other guests really enjoyed visiting with our scouts.

We have been traveling on the bus for many hours. In fact, we slept on the bus overnight. We’ve made a couple of stops to fill up, use the restrooms, and swap drivers. For breakfast, we stopped at McDonald’s in St. Louis. Following breakfast, we convened for a chapel service in the field next to the McDonald’s. Parker Plank led the chapel service. His message this morning was about perseverance. He mentioned Helen Keller and spoke specifically about Nick Vujicic, an Australian motivational speaker with no arms or legs. Learn more about Nick here:


We also took time after chapel service to share Roses and Buds (ask your kiddos about this). It’s great to hear the boys share their positive thoughts about this trip and the things they are looking forward to. For me, my “rose” was hearing all the very positive comments from strangers about these boys and this troop. I know, as well as the rest of the men, that these boys have tremendous potential and have the opportunity for a great future. My “bud” is the Eagle Pledge Ceremony and having the opportunity to help each of these boys earn their Eagle Award.


Our last stop was a truck stop in Springfield that had a Subway and Taco Bell. The boys were able to get lunch wherever they preferred. We are now back on the bus. The Austin is once again leading the way while I am back on the Baumgartner, where the boys are watching The Goonies! In about three hours, we’ll be pulling into the parking lot of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and the 2013 Jamboree will be in the history books.

I have spent the last couple of hours reflecting on this Jamboree. I was one of the lucky few that was able to be a leader with this awesome group of boys. The planning for this event started about two years ago and there has been a dedicated group of men that have met regularly to insure that the boys who participated in this event were able to get the most out of it and that everything went as smoothly as possible. I have to commend the team on their fantastic work. I was a bit skeptical that we would be able to keep to our schedule and actually be able to visit as many sites as we did. I commend Charlie Calhoun and Tom Steele on their work on the touring plan. I think it went as well as it possibly could and the boys seemed to appreciate all the activities.

While I am glad to be getting home, I am sorry that this trip is going to be over. It has been a wonderful experience for me on many levels. I have had the opportunity to get to know many of these boys so much better than before. It has been such an honor to be able to help lead and guide them, encourage them, teach them, and comfort them. They are a great group, both individually and as a whole. I am very fortunate to be a part of Troop 26 and I look forward to the future, which will include regular meetings, campouts, and events as well as big trips. There is so much to look forward to for all of us!

Gettysburg Battle Site

We stayed overnight at a Boy Scout camp. Then we went to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and saw where the battle of Gettysburg took place in the Civil War. Then went to the cemetery where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. And pledged that we will make Eagle. We all have had an amazing time!!! We can’t wait to get home!!!!!













Camp Tuckahoe & Gettysburg

The troop has pretty much been a nomadic group the last couple of weeks as we have traveled from Tulsa to Chattanooga to Jamboree and DC. Last night, after visiting Arlington National Cemetery and the Naval Academy, we made our way to Camp Tuckahoe in PA. Camp Tuckahoe is a BSA camp and is about 30 minutes from Gettysburg. They were very gracious to allow us to stay in two of their 45 man cabins. We rolled in very late and worked quickly to get unloaded and settled for the night. This morning we were up early to get breakfast in the mess hall and to depart early for Gettysburg.




At Gettysburg, we had great tour guides who took us around the battlefield and brought the battle to life for us. We then watched a short movie about the 3 days of battle, narrated by Morgan Freeman (the boys love Morgan). Following the movie, we went to view the largest painting I have ever seen. A full 360 degree panoramic painting of the battle of Gettysburg. The cyclorama painting is 356 feet long and 27 feet tall. Simply amazing. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the painting. We also visited the Gettysburg Museum and spent some time in the gift shop.







Laying of the Wreath

I am sitting in the quiet peaceful cemetery having just experienced a very moving and inspirational ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. It is hard to imagine or appreciate the level of dedication offered by the soldiers who guard the tomb. These men guard the tomb 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with such precision and honor that it must inspire all who get a chance to witness it.

Following the 10:00AM ceremonial changing of the guards, the soldiers, with a delegation from Troop 26, replaced the wreath with the Troop 26 wreath. Throughout the ceremony I felt the honor and respect that our scouts gave to our country’s deceased heroes. I am proud of our boys. They showed all due respect.

This visit to Arlington has been special and sobering at the same time. What an honor it is to live in this great country where so many people are dedicated to the cause of freedom. Our generations, and those that follow, need places like Arlington to remind us of the great sacrifices that are required for liberty.


Washington DC

It was a very early morning for the troop. We were up at 5:45AM so that we could shower, eat breakfast and head over to the capital building to meet with Senator Inholf and Representative Bridenstine. Both Congressman were very gracious and spent quality time with the troop taking pictures, talking about their congressional effort, and taking questions.



After spending time with the congressional delegation, we toured the Capital Building and the Library of Congress. Both were awesome buildings and we got to see some great treasures. Some pics are below.





From here, we met up with a per-arranged Chick-fil-A truck, had lunch and then began a whirlwind of touring DC. We went to the Smithsonian Museum and gave everyone the option of touring the Museum of Natural History or the Museum of American History (or both).

We then went to Ford’s Theatre and the Peterson House, had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and took a tour of the mall and several Memorials. Included in the tour of the memorials was WWII, Vietnam, Lincoln, Korean War, and Jefferson. In all, we spent about 19 hours touring. When I asked what they thought, one of the boys told me that the experience was life changing. These kids are great.












Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

We toured the Smithsonian Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport on Wednesday on our way in to DC.


SR 71 Blackbird

The museum is home to an SR 71 Blackbird, the Space Shuttle Discovery, and hundreds of planes and helicopters from various eras.


Caleb and Samuel Smith surprised their brother Eli by joining us at the museum. Doug Fournet and Larry Thompson also joined us at Dulles.



Goodbye Summit!

We had an early wakeup at 2am Wednesday while the rest of the Summit was still sleeping. We had to take down the tents and dining flys and haul our gear to the pickup point at our subcamp headquarters.

We checked the radar when we awoke (something we have gotten very familiar with) and noticed a large thunderstorm bearing down on us. The boys kicked it into high gear and we “borrowed” a large staff tent near our pickup location to stage our gear. The last of the gear and boys made it to the tent just as the storm hit the camp at 3.45am.

Thanks to our teamwork the boys and our gear were able to stay dry through the storm. Our bus arrived at 5.30 and we quickly loaded up and were gone by 5.40.

Goodbye Summit!

Cleaning the Restrooms

Greetings to everyone back home. I apologize for not providing more timely blog posts, but battery life is at a premium out here at Jamboree. I did want to use some of my precious battery life to share an amusing story about an event that occurred tonight.

We are in camp C117, which is a sub camp of C1. In this sub camp there are probably about 1/2 a dozen shower house locations with 3 shower/potty buildings per location (2 for boys, 1 for men). I would guess that each location is shared by about 8-10 troops.

To manage the cleanliness of the facilities, each of those troops take turns each day cleaning the facilities and today it was our turn. Alex B took control of managing our teams as they worked through each of the restroom buildings. To minimize the impact to traffic, it was requested that we work one building at a time, which the crew did (in a timely manner I might add).

After cleaning the first boys restroom/shower building, the crew moved to the second building. As they were securing the building, two scouts from another troop tried to enter the building and were notified that this building was closed, but that the first building was available.

Surprisingly enough. These two scouts had forgotten the scout oath and law and uses some rather inflammatory, off-color language with our cleaning crew to vocalize their disgust. Rather than using the other building, they insisted on waiting, timing the crew, and verbally badgering them while they did their job.

You would have been very proud of our boys. Rather than responding negatively to these two antagonistic goobers, they took it upon themselves to make sure that they really did an awesome job cleaning the restroom. They cleaned everything twice or trice and did it as slowly as possible to insure that the restroom was completely spotless. The crew claims that it was purely an accident when water from the sprayer flew over the wall and got the goobers wet. They informed me they were washing tp from the ceiling. (We wondered aloud how tp became attached to the ceiling.)

I wasn’t around to witness the cleaning crew, but learned about it tonight after the fireworks display when we did thorns and roses as a troop. Mr. Baumgartner mentioned that only Troop 26 could have as much fun as they did cleaning the restrooms. That’s when the boys shared the story. It was a good laugh and I thought I would share with you.

Stadium Show

Saturday was the big stadium show. It was originally scheduled for Saturday, but due to the weather forecast, it was moved to the afternoon.


There were several guests and speakers, including Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel (“Dirty Jobs”, “Deadliest Catch”). Mike is an Eagle Scout and he gave a great talk about Scouting and educating our youth.


Later, the rock group 3 Doors Down performed. They did a great job of and the boys really got into it.

You might be able to find the Mike Rowe and 3 Doors Down videos on YouTube.



Patch trading

This is my first Jamboree and I am learning a lot and having a great time. One of the things I heard a lot about before coming to Jamboree is the patch trading. I’ve been to many scouting events and have never witnessed this fine art. It obviously consumes a significant amount of time for many scouts here.

After a couple of days of observation, I have a better understanding of what the boys are most excited about. Our council patches seem to be a good set, as are the council OA pocket patches (many scouts have stopped by looking for our patches).

Below is a pics of scouts trading as well as one of the sets that a C117 scout collected.



Day of Service

Yesterday, C117 participated in the Messengers of Peace Day of Service. The troop had to rise at 5:00AM, cook breakfast, and hike to the loading point. We hopped a bus and drove 2++ hours to Welch, WV. We met the mayor of Welch before we moved over to their site.

Our service project was to clean up a family cemetery and sand and paint all of the ironwork. We ended up being about an hour late due to an more scenic route than originally anticipated so we had a lot less time than originally scheduled.

Despite the shortened work period, a large quantity of poison ivy, and a physically demanding project, we managed to complete the task with time to spare. NOTE: we took special precautions to avoid the poison ivy and Mr.Warriner has set up a special clothes washing station to make sure exposure is minimized.