By George Raphael-McElroy ‘23

Boy Scouts has always been a small part of my life. The countless memories that I have from camping trips and other events will always stick with me. My favorite thing about scouting is all the bonds that I have created over the years.

I remember my first year as a Boy Scout. We went to this week-long camp in Michigan. I was pretty scared and nervous; I mean who would not be? I went from having my leaders and other scouts helping me, and now I was going to be basically on my own for the week. The first two days and nights were fine, but the worst thing possible happened to me, or should I say my tent.

The day started off fine, pretty hot and dry, but I was used to that. As I was going through merit badge classes with other scouts, I heard talk about a big storm that would come throughout the night. It scared me at first; I was only in sixth grade and being alone in a tent while a storm is raging outside is not very ideal. The thought of it made me nervous at first but it went away shortly; after all, I was still having fun and the storm was not going to come until later.

As night approached, the storm clouds came and the rest of the day and night was pretty gloomy. As I sat at the campfire cooking my s’more, the thoughts of being stuck in my tent with a storm outside came back. I recall telling myself that hopefully the storm will just pass, or maybe it will not even be that bad. Spoiler alert…I was wrong.

I left the campfire after eating my s’more to hopefully fall asleep before it started to storm. As I laid in my sleeping bag in my tent, the rock that was under my tent kept sticking into my back so that did not help. One thing that I did to help myself fall asleep was count to 50, and then when I would get to 50 I would count backwards. Soon enough, I was fast asleep.

All of a sudden the sound of pouring rain and rushing wind woke me up from my deep sleep. It was so loud that it sounded like there was a grizzly bear shaking my tent. I could not fall back to sleep, and that is when I realized that I was not going to get any more sleep. My friend John was in a tent a few yards away from me, and I called out to him, hoping he was awake, but he was knocked out. As the night went on, I thought I felt water on my back, but I was too cold and scared to do anything about it. Eventually, I finally ended up falling asleep.

I woke up again shortly after falling asleep, but this time it was much worse. My tent had about at least 3 inches of water in it and everything including me, was soaked. I remember realizing what had happened, and the tears started to fall. I grabbed my boots and ran under the canopy that had a bench under it by the campfire. Luckily it was almost morning; so I was only sitting in the dark for an hour or two until my scout leader finally awoke and so did the other scouts.

They thought I had been just playing in the rain, but it was the total opposite. All my stuff was ruined. As they helped me clear out the tent, there were several visible holes in my tent that water had snuck through. One of the holes formed from the rock beneath my tent. Luckily, some of my clothes in my soaked duffle bag were still dry. My leader then assigned me to tent with my friend John so the trip was not totally ruined.

When it first happened and I was on the bench in the dark, I remember thinking to myself that this is the end of my scouting career. Well, that was the total opposite, and now I am getting Eagle Scout. This was just a funny and memorable experience that we always bring up once in a while. Now before big camping trips we always check everyone’s tents at a meeting before for holes…I wonder why!