Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Substance 1989

This slide show is a brief glimpse of life on Staff at Horseshoe Bend during the summer of 1989. I met many people then that I still consider friends today. The "Yes We're Open" and "Sorry We're Closed" signs were hung on the entry of our tent because often we'd walk up during off hours to see people hanging out in our tent. I guess they figured it was a community tent. Upon finding my package of fig newtons completely devoured by our "guests" we decided enough was enough and made it known that if we weren't in the tent then it was "closed".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nature's Own

In 1987 Horseshoe Bend moved it's camp fire ring up to the side of a hill that, in my opinion, was a great improvement. It's a beautiful site for a camp fire, open, breezy, and it overlooks the camp. In the place of the old camp fire ring moved the Skills Area. In later years it became the Nature area, then the First Class Emphasis Area. Anyway, the Skills staff that year were a high initiative group. They had no trouble taking any time off they had and using it to build bigger and better pioneer projects for their merit badge classes to emulate. Where most of the pioneer projects were built was a circular clearing in the trees (old camp fire ring remember) and around that clearing is a creek that runs until the middle of June then dries up for the rest of the summer.

There was a new camp director that year and he felt there were lots of unbroken things that needed fixing. On the least destructive side of his list of things that needed to fix was his idea that the stream around the Skills Area needed... goldfish! So off to town went the business manager to get a few goldfish. I'll be the first to admit they didn't look half bad swimming around in a "tidal pool" of the stream but I did wonder where they were going to go after the stream dried up as it always did. Turns out, I needn't have worried.

A day or two later when talking to one of the Skills Area staff at lunch I asked about how the goldfish were doing. "Oh, didn't I tell you?" he said. "We showed up this morning to find a raccoon carefully washing the last of the goldfish before wolfing it down like the others."

Money well spent.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Great Horse Rebellion of 1990

Horseshoe Bend: 1990

The Summer of 1990 at HB was often later referred to by those on staff as "The Summer that Never Was". The reason for this label was that although it was successful and all the staff had fun, it seemed like nothing really happened. Six weeks of campers with no problems is probably what the Camping Services Department at the council office dreams about but to the staff... not really. Well some forget about an event that happened on about the 3rd or 4th week of camp. It was after lunch and the first afternoon merit badge class had already ended and we were waiting for the next wave of campers to come in. We were lying on the benches of the picnic tables only sitting up when someone yelled "car" or "campers" so as to look like we were awake and alert all along.

All of a sudden one of the wranglers (I think her name was Missy) came riding up on her horse in a panic. "There's been a stampede!" she shouted and rode off. As she was riding away I was able to get from her that it was somewhere near the water towers above camp site 6. At that moment I realized that I left the first-aid kit back in the program box so I went back and got it. Running as fast as I could I made my way toward campsite 6. I don't even remember passing the Trading Post or the central showers. Just as I got to the road above camp site 7 my adrenaline sent my brain a message. I'm sure it was something to the effect of "times up!" because I immediately ran out of energy and could run no more. I had to walk/jog the rest of the way. As I got there the situation was pretty much as I expected it to be but on a smaller scale. By that I mean I expected to see something like a Civil War post-battle scene with wounded lying all around as they were waiting to be bandaged up. It was indeed like that but there were only three or four people needing bandages. Most of the rest were others from the trail ride helping the ones who were hurt. There were only a few wranglers there, the rest went to go get help. I didn't do much bandaging there but I was glad I brought my first aid kit because it was needed.

After that I remember all the hurt scouts sitting in Horseshoe Bend City Hall. It was a staff meeting/dining room then so it was just tables, chairs, a punch machine, a cereal dispenser an ice tea pot, and an ice machine. Clean, not like a teenager's room. No offense to those people who like the way it looks now. I was in there too cooling off. Being a selfish teenager at the time I wondered why no one noticed me. Not realizing that I really didn't do that much to help, or at least not as much as I thought I did.

The horses were a different story. Eventually they were all rounded up and brought back to the corrals. Not being a wrangler I had nothing to do with that so I can supply no more information there. However, in the tack room of the barn there is part of the wall that has little plaques of former horses at HB. Sure, the wranglers say they are no longer there because they've died or have been sold. But... have they?