Texas Hills District Scouts and Scouters Gather at Bandera City Park

by Darlene Karthauser, September 28, 2015

On Sep. 25-27, 2015, 76 Scouts and Scouters of the Texas Hills District gathered to demonstrate Scout skills to the public at Bandera City Park on the Medina River in Bandera. From Ax and Tomahawk Throwing to the Zip Line, Scouts enjoyed a variety of demonstrations hosted by 1 venture crew, 4 troops, and 3 packs.

On Friday evening, troops and trailers rolled into the park to set up camp. A leaders' meeting outlined the weekend events. All Scouts observed lights' out at 10:30pm in preparation for the big day ahead.

Saturday morning, Troop 111 conducted a brief opening flag ceremony so that Scouts could quickly begin setting up the events for a 10am start time for the Scout Expo.

Crew 1 hosted a comprehensive display of camp kitchen gadgets, food, and cooking skills. There were inexpensive stoves made from food cans, using denatured alcohol as fuel, to repurposing a metal brake as a charcoal pit. The Crew members explained the different kinds of cooking for different kinds of camping, whether base camping, backpacking, or long term camping. Food storage ideas were also explained.

The Cub Scout Pack 60 showed how to make a personal First Aid Kit, and participants walked away with their own kit. Pack 370 set up a demonstration to make survival bracelets. Participants walked away with their own bracelet. Pack 1205 set up a Carnival Games area (a Bear requirement), where participants had the opportunity to engage in many fun activities like knocking down a stack of cans. There was also a station to buy Boy Scout Popcorn.

Troop 111 hosted three demonstrations: High Adventure, Order of the Arrow, and First Class Emphasis. At the High Adventure Station, Scouts and Scouters talked of the high adventure opportunities offered by the BSA, including Philmont, Northern Tier, and Florida Sea Base. Troop 111 has a high adventure trip every year targeting older youth in the troop. Along with the National BSA High Adventure Bases, the troop also participates in backpacking trips in southern New Mexico and in Colorado. Several Scouts and Scouters have participated in National Scout Jamborees at Fort AP Hill and now at the fourth High Adventure Base, the Summit.  Scouts from Troop 111 are actively involved in conducting ceremonies with the Order of the Arrow, the National Honor Society of the BSA. They displayed their regalia and set up elections for units. The largest demonstration in area for Troop 111 was the First Class Emphasis area. Several patrols set up displays on knife safety, the model campsite, and basic first aid.

Troop 146 arranged the location of the event. Bandera City Council approved the Scouts to camp in the Bandera City Park for the weekend. The troop provided the flag staff and flag for the opening and closing ceremonies, and a bridge with the points of the Scout Law that showed the crossover from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. The troop also set up COPE games for the patrols to try. COPE stands for Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience. Scouts had to work together to perform  the tasks at this station, demonstrating the value of teamwork and communication.

Troop 310 came out in force and constructed a zip line tower, platform and line for Scouts to enjoy throughout the day. In great Scouting style it was built using pioneering skills of lashing poles together in a sturdy design. Scouts and Scouters alike enjoyed riding the zip line all through the Expo.

Troop 370 came prepared to demonstrate ax handling safety and tomahawk throwing skills. Through the Expo there was a steady stream of participants trying their tomahawk throwing skills in this fun area.

After the Expo closed at 2pm. Scouts and Scouters were able to enjoy the park on their own. Many took part in an exciting game of Disc Golf on the park's course. Saturday evening, a mobile outdoor theater was set up to show "Follow Me, Boys!" the classic Boy Scout movie. Many people expressed that to be the highlight of the weekend.

After breakfast Sunday morning, Chaplains' Aids from each troop conducted the Scouts' Own service before clean up and closing ceremony.

A good time was had by all!