DOBSON — Directors of the annual Cub Scout Dogwood District Day Camp at Fisher River Park Thursday will tell you there is a serious side to the variety of activities including capture the flag, tricycle jousting, rocket building, typical camp crafts and first aid.
“We are trying to make their lives better with activities which will make them good, more well-rounded young adults,” said Director Lisa Smith, who has been involved with the program four years and a camp director for three. The other directors are Smith’s husband, Oscar, and new recruit, Rick Haynes.
She said this year’s camp has 70 participants, which is up from 56 last year and 48 campers in 2012. The national organization chooses a theme with local groups customizing the activities. The theme this year is “Knights of the Round Table” which inspired the archery, jousting, leather craft and catapult activities.
Participants were also tasked with being scientists and engineers as they build solid-fuel rockets, craft stick catapults and single piston motors using only compact discs and paper rolls.
“We do it all for the boys,”said Lisa Smith. “Another goal we have is for these boys to stay in the program and become Eagle Scouts, one ultimate goal in scouting.” She said the camp added one director this year when the couple realized they no longer had children or grandchildren in the program and wanted to get more volunteers involved for future camps. This year marks the first year the camp included tiger scouts in addition to the cubs.
She said camp organizers had learned of interest among the tigers and decided to use the camp this year as a trial run to see how to tweak the activities to hold the younger participants interest.
Smith said participation statistics studied by the Boy Scouts of America national organization indicates fewer boys are staying in scouting long enough to earn Eagle Scout honors, which has prompted a renewed emphasis on attracting participants earlier and keeping training fun as well as educational.
“It tickles me. You know you are doing something right when they don’t realize what’s happening (on the serious level as lessons are taught), said Smith. “I think it’s an important program or I wouldn’t be here. I treat them like my own. A lot of the staff jokingly calls me a mother bear because I am so protective. We want them to learn but to be sure they have fun while they are here as well.”
David Broyles may be reached at 336-415-4739 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.