Sunday, April 19, 2009

Flying Circus

What a wonderful weekend!

All weekend, the temperatures were in the high seventies, and even the low eighties for part of the day--and not a cloud in the sky! This made it the perfect weekend for the Flying Circus Camp-O-Ree in Bealeton, Virginia.

Eddie and I went on his very first boy scout camp-out, and what kismet for Eddie! Eddie has loved many things through his life, but the one thing he has consistently loved, no matter what, is airplanes! For all the past week, he's been playing on his Flight Simulator, plotting courses from LAX to IAD and back. So, how wonderful was it that his very first camp-out is at an air show? And his very first merit badge was in Aviation!

Eddie and I set out after work on Friday evening, packing the troop's trailer full of sleeping bags, food and tents. We had about 20 boys going, along with me, Kevin, Charles (alumni from Pack 39) and Jim and Mike (the Assistant Scoutmaster and the Scoutmaster).

Late Friday, we arrived at the airfield, and set up camp. The boys were not allowed to have dinner until their tents had been pitched and the trailer was all unloaded. Then, well after 11 o'clock, we all hit the sack for a very busy day on Saturday.

On Saturday, the boys split up into two groups: those working the Space Exploration merit badge, and those working the Aviation merit badge. Unfortunately, each badge lasted all day, so the boys could not earn both at this event. Eddie didn't mind, since he really wanted to focus on the aviation merit badge. The badge required detailed learning about all aspects of aviation: the forces of thrust, drag, lift, and gravity; what all the airport systems are (beacons, runways, tower communications, etc.); the various instruments in the airplane and how to use them; plus hands-on model building.

Eddie and I also had the privilege of riding in an open cockpit biplane! We rode in a vintage 1920's WACO biplane! How cool is that?! Eddie was very excited, and not in the least bit nervous! (Though he didn't care for the loud noise much--I should have brought some earplugs for him.)

About lunchtime, the kids got a break from all the merit badge work and got to enjoy the Flying Circus air show. The video below captures all the events, from the first planes we saw, to the flight we took in the biplane, to the airshow, and concluding with the campfire ceremony of Saturday night.

After the show, the boys resumed their merit badge work until it was time for dinner. After dinner, the boys were treated to a campfire ceremony with a local Venture crew brass band performing various show tunes. After this, we adjourned for the night. I immediately hit the sack, as I was dog-tired. But Eddie and his friends were still charged up, so they headed over to the airfield, where they were showing Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines on a big screen in the middle of the field. The boys didn't get to sleep until after eleven again!

This being boy scouts, it's a lot different from cub scouts. The boys are expected to do everything for themselves. Everything. This includes putting up their tents, making their food, cleaning up, and getting water. Everything. It was hard for me, as a cub scout leader, not to get in there and start barking orders. At one point, Mike, the scoutmaster, had to come over and help me to give up "control." That was what this camp-out was all about for me--giving up control--and letting Eddie take the wheel a bit.

And you know what? He did great! He is really growing up, and becoming very responsible.

So, if you get the chance, go check out the Flying Circus in Bealeton, Virginia. It is open to the public almost every Sunday between May and October. They give rides and have an airshow every weekend. It's definitely worth checking out! We had a blast!!


UB said...

I see all the conveniences of home. Including gas grills. You need to take these boys on a campout where the cook on open fires and learn how to make Hobo dinners. Grandpa G use to take us out rain, snow or shine each month for a campout. We had to plan the menu and do all the cooking. We also had to set up tents and gather all the fire wood for the weekend. Our campouts were usually from Friday until late on Sunday Afternoons. We also had a Priest come out and do Sunday morning Mass. We would spend a lot of time on the river bottom hunting for arrowheads and other Indian artifacts.

Just so you know I am an Eagle Scout with around 30 merit badges. I have my Catholic Service Award “Ad Altari Dei”, and Order of the Arrow. Aviation and Exploration weren’t even thought of when I was in scouting. I guess times are a changing. I am sure there are a ton of new and more interesting merit badges now. You might want to know that Grandpa G had the highest percentage of Eagle Scout of any troop in the USA. He averaged about 5-6 scouts completing their Eagle each year he was involved as a scout master. He use to take vacation each year and work with the boys on completing their merit badge work. He was really dedicated and enjoyed working with the program. Even though he wasn’t a Catholic he was the Best Scout Master ever and really had a focus on making the boys into good men! He never had one single boy turn out bad.

Enjoy your campouts they will be times that your boys really remember well.


Mom said...

Well said, UB! One thing you forgot, Grandpa also took them grocery shopping if I'm not mistaken. I know Grandpa would be proud of Scott & Mike & their involvement in the scouting programs. They are both as dedicated to their sons being in scouts as Daddy was, only now they also are involved in Cub Scouting too. The changes in scouting make it more welcoming for families & less of a babysitting service for a quiet weekend without kids. Unlike Eddie's cub scout den, this troop cooks Sunday breakfast & doesn't go to a local diner!

Dad said...

Great story Scott! It sounds like the perfect first camping trip for both Eddie and his Dad. I would have loved it also. It looks like Eddie has landed in a real great troop that fits his interests. Keep up the good work.

Bonnie said...

Really cool! We all enjoyed looking at the photos and watching the video!

Matt and Deachi said...

What a fun weekend! I enjoyed the story, video and pictures!

Anonymous said...

I finally got to see the video. I loved Eddie's flying ace cap!! All he needed was a scarf around his neck!

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