Outdoor Learning-RSR Summer Camp 2003, See Promo video at http://youtu.be/06WA21hGGjA
Outdoor learningThe Herald News - Joliet (IL)July 30, 2002 | Catherine Ann VelascoBoy Scouts play on a floating island in a strip mine lake at Rainbow Council ScoutReservation overnight camp in Morris.MORRIS -- Even though he walked into a tree, TrevorLaseman had a great time at Boy Scouts camp. The treeepisode wasnt his fault.Trevor was blindfolded and was depending on his buddy to lead him safely down apath."We were doing the walk.He said, `There is a tree up here. I said, `Where is it? He said, `Over there," recalledTrevor, 17, of Belvidere."He told me to go left.By the time he said, `No, right I ran into the tree."Im just limping," Trevor joked."I love it.
Ive done stuff like this before.Its an adrenaline rush."The blind trust is one of the activities Scouts get to experience at Rainbow CouncilScout Reservation, a 755-acre preserve, located in Grundy County, about seven milessoutheast of Morris and 25 miles southwest of Joliet.Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts spend the summer at the camp earning an array of meritbadges, including those for swimming, snorkeling, archery, weather, environmentalscience, astrology and meteorology.Some boys can opt to spend the week doing a program called Challenge OutdoorPersonal Experience -- a series of outdoor challenges, including climbing, swinging,balancing, jumping and rappelling while they think through solutions to a variety ofchallenges.Most find that they can do much more than they thought they could -- like walkingblindfolded."It was kind of fun.You had to be totally dependable on a person," said Kevin Chachakis, 16, of RichtonPark."When I had to guide, it was kind of freaky.You are responsible for someone elses life.If you are not careful, you could walk them into a tree."Camp is a huge step backward from the electronic, fast-paced, fast-food schedules ofadults and kids, ages 11 to 17.
Here, hand-held video games get replaced by swatting away bugs while walkingthrough a forest to get to your next activity, whether its breakfast, a flag ceremony,church service or learning how to light a fire without a match. Volunteering timeAs his 12 boys worked on merit badges and got ready for the flag ceremony, Scoutleader Steve Nodine of Bolingbrook relaxed in his hammock, reading a book."This is my vacation.I take all my vacation and use it for scouting," he said.I have spent my vacation at camp for six years.Nodine, 46, a troop leader for Troop 34 in Bolingbrook, didnt even bring his 14-year-oldson this year -- but his wife and children understand the importance of it.If it werent for people like Nodine volunteering his time, boys couldnt go to camp."I think she is kind of happy to get me out of the house for a week," Nodine said.But it really isnt a true vacation of relaxation.Nodine helps boys get through homesickness, thunderstorms, boredom and a weekwithout their computers and video games."If someone is bored ... they get to clean the latrine," Nodine said."They learn pretty quick not to tell Mr. Nodine that they have nothing to do."Electronic games and portable CDs arent allowed at camp, and Nodine adds a twist ofhumor to the rule."My rule is if I find it -- I get to keep it," Nodine said."I tell them I need a portable DVD player, if you want to give it to me.
I give them a whole shopping list."However, Nodine isnt as rough as he sounds.One year, he returned a forbidden electronic game to a boy at the next Scouts meetingin Bolingbrook.Sleep also seems to be a rare commodity at camp.After getting them to quiet down around midnight, a big storm passed through and wokethem up."They were up at 3:30 a.m.," Nodine said."I can hear every word.I hollered a couple of times to be quiet.Tonight I will remind them I need my beauty sleep.Im really ugly without it."Dennis Brower, assistant scoutmaster of Troop 82 in Plainfield, shared a site with theBolingbrook troop because he had only two Scouts to bring.Browers son, Vincent Brower, 13, wasnt able to go with his troop on another trip, sothey went later with a friend, Kevin Schroll, 13, an eighth-grader at Timber Ridge MiddleSchool. Medical attentionDuring downtime, Kevin practiced wrapping up Vincents head and arm in order to moveup in another level in Scouts."I wanted Vincent to go to summer camp.Its a good chance to earn merit badges," Dennis said.
"Its a good time to do bonding with the boy.In my hectic schedule, I dont have much time to spend.We get together and get a little closer.""Dr. Kevin, save me!" Vincent joked around as he got his arm wrapped up in a sling witha neckerchief."They learn they can use part of their uniform for first aid," Dennis said.When there is a real emergency, Dan Stankus, an emergency medical technician incharge of first aid shows up, riding his golf cart along with "Wilson" from the movie CastAway. Or at least a distant relative of Wilsons.Instead of using a volleyball, Stankus uses a softball for a head because it is lessexpensive, but dresses Wilson in style with a raincoat.The summer air leads to a carefree atmosphere where staff goes by nicknames like"Superfly" and "Brian the Seal Boy."As camp stretches to an end, staff acts goofier and goofier.One night, they all decided to bleach their hair blond.Camp Director Sean Denoyer had them call their parents first before they did it."I call them the Blond Ambition tour," he said. Kitchen rulesIts also a place where if you are caught chewing gum or wearing a hat in the diningroom, youll get in trouble by the cook.Patty Provance runs a tight ship in her kitchen and dining room.
If she catches Scouts or adults wearing a hat or chewing gum in her facilities, theyre introuble.The punishment? For wearing a hat, you have to buy her a Butterfinger candy bar -- herfavorite.For chewing gum, you have to stay after dinner and scrape off chewed gum stuck underthe tables."One staff kid is habitual.He gets caught almost every week," she said.She also keeps an eye on boys trying to get a third helping of dinner, which isntallowed.After everyone goes through the line, she announces seconds, which many guys go for,especially when she serves chicken-fried steak with her special gravy.As the 200 chicken patties quickly disappear, she catches one Scout going for thirds."Is this your third time? Adios! Seconds only.No thirds," she said, laughing."That gets ridiculous."But clever Scouts know how to get around that rule.They send in a younger Scout with a smaller stomach who doesnt want seconds andwill give it to them.The camp is a family affair for Provance.
She serves as cook while her children are staff members and her husband, Jerry, iscommissioner for the full five weeks where 375 youth from all over the state will comefor summer fun.Provance, a special education teacher at Heritage Trail Middle School, likes the changeof pace.She is in charge of putting together nutritious meals that Scouts will eat from fooddonations such as fruit fillings, cake mixes, noodles and pasta sauce -- given by areabusinesses."It gives me something to do than sitting home all summer," she said. Place to learnBut most of all, camp is a nurturing place where Scouts can learn and grow.Jake Stott, 15, a sophomore at Coal City High School, can do 11 knots in 40 seconds,including a sheepshank, slipknot, clove, hitch and a bowline on a bite."Ive always been into pioneering," Jake said.Jake set up a camp where kids could learn pioneering skills, such as building basicshelters and bridges.Jake, who plans to major in engineering, likes knowing basic skills on how to survive inthe wild.He is trying to get more Scouts interested, but its difficult.On humid afternoons, many boys go to the lake to get relief from the sticky day.At the sound of a loud whistle, they quickly get out of the water, find their buddy andstand next to him on the pier or raft so lifeguards can count them to make sureeveryone is safe.