Category Archives: Camping


Suzette, Cameron and Carly are off to Philmont. I can’t express how proud and happy I am for each of them. They will do great!  Happy trails guys! 


Tater Tot Casserole Recipe


Below is one of the favorites of the Scouts and I can say that I like it as well.  It is pretty simple and can be made in a Dutch oven on a campout or in a regular baking dish in the oven at home.  Try it and I will bet you will like it.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen tater tots
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can green beans
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook and stir ground beef in the Dutch oven over medium heat until no longer pink and completely browned, 7 to 10 minutes; season with salt and black pepper.
  2. Stir cream of mushroom soup and green beans into the cooked ground beef.
  3. Layer tater tots evenly over the ground beef mixture.
  4. Top with Cheddar cheese.

Bake until tater tots are golden brown and hot, 30 to 45 minutes

The green beans are an optional item but recommended since you should always eat something green.  🙂

Camporee 2013

A fun weekend at Camporee with Troop and Crew 168. Congrats to Crew 168 for winning the Venturing Division of the Camporee. Happy Birthday to our twins, Cameron and Carly, who had a birthday on Sunday.






Summer Camp 2013

1010804_10152941884115431_1130162271_nLast week, I had the honor of serving as the Summer Camp Scoutmaster once again.  This was the 7th time I have served in this role.  All of the experiences have been great and rewarding but this camp was also very trying and stressful.  I learned a lot last week and grew some as an adult leader and as an adult in general.

The highlight of the week for me was being at camp for the first time with both of my sons.  Drew is 17 and an Eagle and Cameron is 12 and advanced to Star while we were at camp.  Cameron and I went to camp together last summer at Slippery Falls and I had hoped to have Drew with us but him and my wife decided that Sea Base sounded better than the southern Oklahoma heat and humidity.  I can’t imagine why.

Cameron and the rest of the Scouts spent the week working on merit badges and honing their Scouting skills.  Cameron earned merit badges in Rifle, Environmental Science and Indian Lore.  He still has some requirements left in Orienteering.  IMG_0225

Because of his age and the fact that he is already and Eagle, Drew got to be an ‘adult’.  He spent the week hanging out in camp, mentoring the older leadership Scouts and going to town with whoever he could bum a ride from.  I think he ate New Mexican food five of the seven days we were there.  He also learned that New Mexico has some really hot Green Sauce and the sopapillas there are huge.

It was also a great opportunity for he and I just to hang out together.  He will be 18 in a few months and a Senior in high school and this was one of the last chances we will have to hang out before he begins his life in the world.  I cherished every minute of it.

Thank you Scouting and Troop 168 for giving opportunities with my kids.  I can never repay what you have given me!!

Boy Scout Mystery Campout

SARLet me start off by saying that Troop 168 is boy-run and all of the activities are planned by the Scouts.  (Well all but this one…)

During our last planning session the Scouts made a decision that they wanted the adults of the Troop to plan a Mystery Campout.  They wanted us to completely plan the campout but keep the actual activity and the location a secret.  The Scoutmaster agreed and the date was set. 

David, who is an Assistant Scoutmaster in the Troop, was assigned the task of coming up with the plan and location and started planning.  He decided that we were going to do a Search and Rescue scenario following a recommendation of a Troop Committee member that recently attended the Philmont Leadership Challenge.  We decided that use our Council’s summer camp property as the location.  The Leadership Scouts in the Troop were brought in on the plan so they could run the scenario and serve as the command center at the base camp.

The older Scouts went through the specifics of the Search & Rescue Merit Badge and how to look for an individual that is lost on Saturday morning.  In the afternoon, “victims” were placed all over camp and clues were left that enabled the three search groups to go out and attempt to locate the lost individuals and then administer first aid as necessary.  The Scouts were all given radios, maps and GPS units so they could relay their information back to the Incident Command (IC).

While all of this was happening the new Scouts that had just crossed over from Webelos spent the day getting to know one another and their Troop Guides by working on joining requirements in the morning and in the afternoon they worked on their Totin’ Chip and Firem’n Chit.  For many this was their first camping experience and from what I could hear they really seemed to enjoy it.

After the SAR time was over everyone came back to camp and started on dinner and the Scouts got to work on their desserts for a Best Dessert Contest.  The Scouts had a great time learning a real life skill and as a adults we learned an appreciation for doing the job they do every month.  Thanks to everyone who helped make this campout fun.

Cub Scouts Revisited

We spent a few hours last weekend hanging out with Cub Scout Pack 163. They had their annual Fall Pack Campout and Raingutter Regatta at Camp Sundance near Enid, OK. Recently, they purchased four Dutch ovens and wanted some help making desserts and breakfast for the Pack so they invited us to come and help. Actually, they invited my wife, Suzette, and the kids and myself just tagged along. I spent the day trying to get to know all of the new parents (and there are a lot) and the kids spent the day fishing. We hung around until dinner was finished and then headed home just before the campfire. It was great to see so may smiling faces and hang out with some old and now new friends. I can safely say that Pack 163 is doing great!


Everyone in the kitchen is busy!


Burgers and beans!


If it ain’t Scottish…


Cameron throwing the hammer

Being the Chairman for Camporee affords me some room to set the format.  Traditionally, we have had a Camporee that consisted of games that tested Scouting Skills.  For this Camporee we decided that we wanted to do something fun and move away from the Scout Skills so we opted to play Scottish Games.

This last spring we travelled to Kansas to watch a Camporee that was playing Scottish games and see if it was worth trying.  Their event drew nearly 800 Scouts and Scouters and the Scouts had a Blast.  Based on their success we decided to go forward.


Drew throwing the hammer

We had all of the traditional events including the Caber Toss, Hammer Throw, Battle Axe Throw, Braemar Stone Put, Sheaf Toss, and the Weight Toss.  We added a Highland Golf event which was a closest to the pin contest and had judging for the “Clan” attire.  That meant that everyone had on kilts and carried Clan Flags.

In the end there was a winner chosen for the small clans and the large clans.  The Scouts from Troop 168 won the large Clan Division and our Scouts (and adults) were stoked.

Ready – Set – Go!


This week we had a meeting to restart our Venturing Crew.  It has been three years since Venturing Crew 168 has had any active youth involved in it but that all changed this week.  At our meeting this week we had six girls and two boys and parents of another boy (who was out of town) attend.  I wasn’t really sure going in what to expect but was pleased with the turnout.  Since that meeting there have been other inquiries and we now have potential for ELEVEN girls and more boys from our Troop.  My wife, Suzette, has assumed the role of Crew Advisor and she is fired up with the results. 

Since that meeting the Crew has hit the ground running.  Some will be participating as the color guard with Troop 168 and Pack 163 at a 4th of July parade.  Several will go camping with Troop 168 at the Alabaster Caverns in NW Oklahoma to go wild caving.  Both should be a fun time. 

I will keep you informed on how thing are going.

Summer Camp 2012

Cameron and I

This year Troop 168 attended camp at our Council owned camp, Slippery Falls Scout Ranch.  The last time we were there was 2010.  Before that it had been 9 years since our Scouts had chosen to go to Slip.  This was my sixth Boy Scout summer camp as an adult leader.  Of all the camps I have attended I have to say that this is the best camp we have attended since I have been in the Troop.

One of the things (and there are many) that I will always remember about this summer camp is this was the first summer camp for my youngest son, Cameron. Another is that he earned Tenderfoot on the last night camp along with the rest of his patrol that were there.  Many of the Scouts in his “new Scout” patrol were ready to advance with the exception of making a Patrol Flag.  They created that at camp and then had Scoutmaster conferences and Boards of Review.

This was also the first time I had to go to camp without my oldest son, Drew.  My wife and him left on Wednesday of camp for their own adventure to the Florida National Sea Base.  They got to spend the week on a 71′ schooner called Pirates Lady.  They spent the week with other members of our Troop and District, snorkeling, fishing and sailing in the Florida Keys. 

I had a great time at camp with Cameron but I really missed not having Drew there.  Next year will be the last opportunity I get to go to camp with my sons btoh still a youth in the program.  I am looking forward to it and have been since 2007.

Webelos Woods 2012 –“Look Ma, a tornado!”

WW PatchWebelos Woods has come and gone and I am quite sure that no one that was involved will forget it anytime soon.  This year my wife, Suzette, served as the chairman for our district Webelos Woods.  This was her first time to chair a district event and she did a great job.  One of her main focuses was to turn the program back over to the Boy Scouts and let them plan and run the event.  She succeeded in doing just that.  

The first thing you have to understand about Oklahoma is that some of the weathermen in will do and say anything for ratings. No matter what the forecast they ALWAYS have an angle for death the destruction. If the temp is supposed to be 82° and sunny they will manage to find some way to relate it to disaster. With that said we watched the forecast all week long and made plans according to what we saw.

On Friday afternoon the weathermen started talking doom and gloom and our local Armageddon specialist, Mike Morgan and his bedazzled tie (he only wears it during bad weather), was really amped up.  Being in charge of numerous lives it was decided to turn the weekend camping event into a Saturday day only and overnighter event.  Even though our council recently installed 51 storm shelters across our council camps we felt inclined to error on the side of safety and stay home for the evening. Well they were right and a tornado hit the Norman area not long after the Friday night campout was canceled.

Saturday came and most of the people showed up and had a great time.  We shortened the program on Saturday and left the camping option up to each unit.  We had callout for the Order of the Arrow that afternoon and ended with a campfire.  I am sure that most of the kids will not remember the events of the weekend but as adults it will stick around a while.

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