Last fall, while attending a Scouters’ reunion at Blue Springs Scout Reserve near Acton, Ontario, I set up a static display of Dutch ovens and associated equipment and talked to about 400 or more Scouters who stopped by to visit and ask questions. As a direct result of that display, I received invitations to do several training sessions for Scouts in different places. One of them turned out to be a session that Dave Horton and I did near Philadelphia, PA, for Scouts and leaders from four different Troops (check out the pictures at…..Dutch Oven Cooking hosted by Troop 577 Pennsylvania.. 4/2/05). Another major event turned out to be Camp Discovery 2005, which ran from Aug. 13th through Aug. 21st.
I was fortunate to enlist Mark Weidmann, an adult member of my Venturer Crew, and Edwin Van der Flaes, a Canadian Scouter, to help me run the DO site at the camp. It turns out I REALLY, REALLY needed them, because the scope of what we had to do was magnified tremendously. Originally, we were just supposed to run training sessions, but, because the camp staff came up short in the kitchen (they lost their head cook/quartermaster), everyone had to scramble and pitch in to see that the young Cubs and Scouts attending the camp didn’t get short-changed.
Our new mission included preparing main meals, baking cakes and other snacks for the evening “mug-up” and preparing “special treats” to be delivered to the lunch break locations for the patrols out hiking the Bruce Trail (a major Hiking Trail running through Ontario).
We solved our problem by getting the Scouts more involved. As part of their training session, the patrols prepared the food for the main meals (which included recipes like: Chicken Pot Pie; Beef Stew w/Cornbread Topping; Fancy Baked Beans; Pot Roast; and Quick DO Lasagna). The baked goods were also prepared by the Scouts and leaders who volunteered to come to our site immediately after supper to prepare “mug-up” and treats. We actually had Scouts fighting over who would bake the nightly treats. I personally thought that the youngest campers (Cubs) were the most enthusiastic, but the Scouts were almost as avid when it came to preparing food in Dutch ovens.
I think we convinced a lot of Cubs, Scouts and leaders that Dutch oven cooking was the way to go for great meals in camp. There were a lot of people drooling through the meals and snacks during the week. At closing, we gave away some Camp Chef DO-12s and Dutch Stands (Mini-Tables) that Ed Quinlan of Camp Chef was good enough to send my way for this camp. I felt I had to share the bounty with those taking part in the camp.
The only disappointing thing about the camp was the fact that the number of participants was quite a bit below what they anticipated, but this was the first effort for this camp and the plus side was that the campers had a great time with hands-on experiences at all levels …..cooking, hiking, conservation, even to the point of going for a ride in Dragon Boats (but that’s a whole story in itself). The smaller registration may have led to a more personal experience for those who did attend, and the entire program was a success to build on.
Check out the pictures of the great time the Cubs and Scouts had. Unfortunately, I was so busy I missed a lot of great shots. I simply forget to pull out the camera at times. However, by passing the camera on to others when I DID remember, we do have some memorable moments.
Stan Kowalski Jr.