Winter Campout at Lunga Reservoir


Identifier: 20061209-WinterCampout
Purpose of outing: Scout skills, Low temperature camping
Advancements: Camping MB
Mode of travel: Car
Planning horizon: Couple months
Capacity: 24 Scouts / 10 Adult Leaders / 8 Vehicles
Fees: Campsite Fees: $2 / person – Group site: 34 campers = $68
Distance: 30 mi, 45 min
Location: Lunga Park Reservoir and Recreation Area
Contact: Troop 1501
Dates: 2006-12-09 - 2006-12-10
Description: Camp office closed during the off season, reservations made by phone (703) 784-5270 Saturday Meals: Bagged Lunch, Cooked Dinner Sunday Meals: Cooked Breakfast, USMC Museum lunch Weather: Clear, no precipitation 23o F upon arrival (yes its true!) High of 35o F. Night low of 20o F Sunday warmed to low 50’s Saturday Logistics. Rendezvous at MUMC. 7AM show, 7:45 departure. Less than an hour drive to the campsite. Entry onto the non-operational base requires only the driver to have a photo ID (military ID not req’d) Initially had group site 1 reserved but found two other Scout Troops setting up camp there. Considering the individual campsites were first come first serve, we diverted to the ‘pine camp area’ and occupied sites 6 (Scouts) and 7 (Adults). Picnic tables and fire pits at each site. Water at common locations. Pit toilets near site 6. Parking available on the site. Saturday Day Events. Upon arrival everyone set up their tents and then shivered. Adults set up the skills building stations; 5 stations, 2 adults per station as trainers. First Aid / Fire Building / Ice Rescue / Compass Skills / Lashings and Knots. Divided the Scouts into 5 patrols, allowing 30 minutes at each station. Three stations before lunch and two after. One adult created a compass game that was great entertainment for the Scouts. A map was marked with the locations of approx 8 orange streamers, each individually numbered. Scouts were sent out as patrols in timed intervals to locate and identify the numbers on all the streamers. A winning patrol was never declared due to the hiding one streamer by a Scout. Despite this the game was enjoyed by the Scouts – and adults who monitored the event. Saturday Evening. Meal preparation required an early start due to the early winter sunset. Scouts ate by patrols. Adult Leaders prepared a cornucopia of Dutch Oven meals and desserts. Big Campfire, Singing for lost items, Ad-hoc skits and Review of the day’s events. Scouts turned in early to escape the cold. Sunday. Awoke to frozen Nalgene water bottles. Prepared breakfast, packed up the vehicles and after the Scoutmaster held a Sunday waterfront service we drove 10 minutes to the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Free Admission. Divided Scouts into 5 Patrols with adult leaders guiding the Scouts through the museum. Self paced scavenger hunt for clues relating to USMC history was provided by the museum. After the museum tour we ate lunch at the cafeteria. Scouts each needed $10 for a pizza, chips and a drink. Total of 2 hours spent in the museum. Arrived back at chartering organization approx 90 minutes before scheduled time.
Assessment: - Maps. Detailed maps to the campground and museum are not necessary but having a big picture map helps driver orientation. Better, would be to have the Scouts give directions with adults just driving. - Tour Permit. Not too sure this was completed in time before departure. Trip coordinator did not have a copy of a completed permit on hand at the campout. Situation could have gone bad had the permit been required (e.g., in case of emergency). - Meals. Need to ensure breakfast is planned as a warm meal. Cold Pop tarts are insufficient in warming a chilled Scout (one of the purposes of the campout was to have Scouts make this discovery and decide not to repeat the mistake). Food at the cafeteria was market priced. This should have been communicated to the Scouts prior to the outing so they could decide to pack another lunch, or pay $10 for a slice of pizza and drink. - Patrol Advisors. Adult leaders acting as Patrol Advisors were key to the success of the campout despite harsh temperatures. Fire building was a popular event with all the dry wood and fire pits available – Available adult supervision ensured the campground remained uncharred. - With adults performing as instructors, there is doubt the Scouts learned good Leave No Trace skills. Next time, Scouts should run the stations.