By Frank Lewis
The theme of the day was “Signs, Signals and Codes,” at the Boy Scouts of America Camporee Saturday at Camp Oyo in Friendship, Ohio.
“It’s a new merit badge that the Boy Scouts are offering,” Matt Seifert, Tecumseh District Executive, said. “The Boy Scouts have started introducing new merit badges and revamping some of the programs trying to keep things fresh.”
No one is more familiar with the Scouting landscape than Judy Sanders, District Commissioner for the Tecumseh District and director of the merit badge. She has been at it for 20 years.
“They’re (Scouts) are working on different areas such as texting, which is what boys do,” Sanders said. “They were able to teach leaders about the texting and MOGs. But they’re working on nautical flags, Morse Code, semaphore. They’re working on old fashioned Scout signals and signs. They’re working on cryptology and they are creating their own themes and words and they are working on Braille and American Sign Language.”
The Scouts were moving about covering eight stations. But some were playing games such as Ga-Ga Ball, played like soccer in a small round pit. Others were shooting basketball.
Is the outdoor theme of Scouting still relevant in a day and age in which children spend the majority of their time indoors on video games, the computer and watching TV?
“Oh yes,” Sanders said. “It’s more relevant now because they’re coming up with putting in the texting and doing the MOG which the little smiley faces and these are things they like to do. They’re also doing sports. They’re setting up trails to go on a hike. But it’s still important that we do the old Scouting too so they can get back to the old Scouting. But yes, I think it is most relevant.”
Sanders said in the 20 years she has been doing scouting, things have not changed that much. She said 70 Boy Scouts and 30 Webelos (Cub Scouts) were participating in the weekend’s activities.
“They seem a lot more knowledgeable than a lot of the groups that I had before in the sense that these kids know more,” Sanders said. “They’re more aware, but they know less of Scouting. So they’re picking the Scouting part up this weekend. But the boys haven’t changed in 20 years. They didn’t change in the 30 years I was a teacher. They love to get out and run. They love to be active. They’re very courteous. They’re very respectful. I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids.”
She breathed in the healthful country air of the Boy Scout camp and expressed her feelings.
“It’s just wonderful to be out here at Camp Oyo,” Sanders said. “There is not a better day. Not a better day. I’m chairman of Troop 28 in South Shore, Kentucky. I love it. I wouldn’t do anything else.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.
Boy Scouts get a lesson in Semaphore at Camp Oyo Saturday as a part of the Camporee
Boy Scouts learn the science of Morse Code as a part of a new merit badge during the Camporee at Camp Oyo