I just learned that, Mr. James Belcher of Bastian, VA died on Saturday. James was Scoutmaster of Troop 21 in Bland for many years and was a faithful friend and supporter of Camp Roland. He and his Troop were fixtures at Campfires and performed much service at Camp Roland. James and his Troop attended the very first Merit Badge-O-Ree at Bear Tree near Damascus many years ago.
Family will receive visitors on Thursday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 at the Cravens-Shires Funeral Home in Bluewell, WV. A funeral service will be conducted at the Cravens-Shires Chapel on Friday at 11:00 a.m. with burial to follow at Rose Lawn Cemetery in Princeton, WV.
The full obituary for James Belcher is here.
We sure did have a great time at the 2016 Merit Badge-O-Ree. Let's see. What did we do in 72 hours?
We had a leaders cracker barrel at the pool shelter on Wednesday night with CAKE and real cheese and crackers. We stayed dry ALL WEEK - not a whiff of rain... and some days not even a breeze. But we had so much fun no one complained about the heat. Maybe that was because Dave Emanuel kept the cold drinks and ice cream flowing from the TRADING POST all week.
The Virginia Department of Forestry provided a wonderful experience for the FORESTRY merit badge class - shooting water from the hose of a real Forest Service truck, making fire lines and visiting a timber site (thank you Bob Radspinner, Lou Brossy and Chris Sullivan). On the more sedate side some Scouts enjoyed a CHESS Tournament at the pool shelter (thank you Ken Kinzer), and learned about TRAFFIC SAFETY so that, before you know it, they will become safe drivers sharing the highway with the rest of us (thank you Pam Kinzer). They created world class cuisine at Shelter #1 during the COOKING merit badge class. Bacon wrapped asparagus? Scout Camp never tasted so good! (thank you Angie Roske and Della Graham). Scouts learned to be good citizens in their COMMUNITY, the NATION and the WORLD at Shelter #8. Our Scouts learned so much about our government and the processes involved in operating a democracy, some of them will, no doubt, be our elected officials in the future (thanks to iron men Bill Crisp and Bill Thomas for facilitating all three merit badges for three sessions!). Speaking of iron men, thanks to Phillip Ball, Mike Adkins, Kermit Davis and others from Troop 1 for teaching ALL FOUR Sessions up on the hill at the RIFLE and SHOTGUN merit badge classes. Four sessions back to back is quite a feat - especially these classes in which learning to respect fire arms and safety and vigilance is so important. Thank you Troop 1.
Bill Hanks, Jerry Buchanan and Ed Laxton did a terrific job at the "other" range teaching the ARCHERY merit badge class during sessions 1 and 2. Some Scouts actually completed the badge at Camp due to their efforts. Deer all through the mountains will be extra nervous this fall when bow season rolls around! Ed Laxton and Kermit Davis were fantastic at teaching the FISHING merit badge. Fish in all the creeks and lakes in the area will be as nervous as the deer when these Scouts bait their hooks and hit the creek banks. Several Scouts took the GOLF merit badge and hit the links at Wolf Creek Golf Club each afternoon. Thanks to Hal Keene, Barry Buckner, and Braeden for teaching Scouts how to hit the little white ball around the course without losing their minds or wrapping golf clubs around a tree. Along a more traditional trail, the INDIAN LORE merit badge Scouts visited the Wolf Creek Indian Village and made a craft project as they learned about native American culture and history. Mike Holcomb and Mike Adkins devoted a lot of time an energy in preparation for this great class. Thank you!
Wayne Carlisle and Rufus Vanhoozier did a great job (again!) with the WILDERNESS SURVIVAL merit badge. They haven't lost a Scout in many years! Our Scouts discovered that spending a night in the woods in a shelter THEY BUILT is quite different from the "Survivor" shows they watch on television. Thanks to Wayne and Rufus for watching over the Scouts and giving them the tools and knowledge necessary to survive. Howard and Kathy Sathre and Don Bury taught the "TRAIL to FIRST CLASS" program at the pool shelter every morning. They are seasoned veterans at helping boys to advance in rank through this class and do a terrific job. The class size may have been small, but the quality of instruction was HUGE! George Fisher and David Emanuel taught the COMMUNICATION merit badge at the Trading Post. Hooger always makes this required merit badge fun and engaging. An added treat was the Campfire program on Saturday night - organized and ran by the Communication class. It was one of the finest examples of a Traditional Campfire Program we have seen.
Thanks to the O.A. members who went to work on the brush around the pond. An incredible amount of work was done over the week and the pond reemerged after being overgrown for several years. Thanks to Kermit Davis for planting the seed of this idea, Barry Nowlin for watering the seed, and Ed Evans for cultivating the plant that grew from the seed. Thanks to Jason Anderson, among others, who brought their "toys" to the brush cutting party. Not everyone is so willing to share their tools and equipment to cut "old grown" brush - much less work in the oppressive heat we had last week. Thanks to everyone who shed some sweat on this worthy project. The cleared bank offered a wonderful viewing platform as Troop 93 (Marion, VA) launched their BOAT in the algae covered pond - the first boat in the pond in thirty years. Troop 1 (Princeton, WV) followed suit the next evening and had quite a time "sailing" the tranquil waters.
We had the monthly Mountain Dominion District meeting in the Dining Hall on Thursday evening. Much important business was discussed as the Communication and Citizenship classes observed. The District Meeting was followed by an ICE CREAM SOCIAL hosted by Troop 93 (Marion). A few hearty souls got up early on Saturday morning (5:53 a.m.) to watch the International Space Station pass over Bland County. We enjoyed a new feature at Camp this year; the ROLAND RATTLER. The "newspaper" was delivered to each Troop each morning detailing the day's events, the weather forecast, and some "fun" information among other things. All 4 RATTLERS are available on the Camp Roland web page. We had a watermelon feast on Saturday night and we even gave away a DRONE equipped with a camera on the last day!
The biggest thank you goes to the SCOUTS who chose to spend some of their summer vacation at Camp Roland. Our Scouts are the reason we are here! We are privileged to be able to provide positive experiences for our youth that they will carry with them for many years.
Special thanks to TROOP 75 from Sophia, WV who made their first visit to Wolf Creek for this event. Their Scoutmaster, Tony Wheby, is a veteran of Camp Roland making his first visit in over 25 years. Our beloved Camp certainly leaves a strong imprint on all who spend time here. It is so cool to see the smile that inevitably appears when someone returns to Camp Roland, or even talks about attending as a boy. Thanks for the smile, Tony!
It was a great camp! I know that I have left out names of folks who made HUGE and IMPORTANT contributions to this event. I sincerely apologize for the omission. It takes so many people working so very hard to make an event like this a success. Thanks to EVERYONE who helped out - in big ways and especially in all the little way that mean so much. I could go on for hours about the great experiences we all had. Let me just conclude by saying THANK YOU one more time. You are the best!
July 23, 2016
What a terrific Camp! We are nearly to the finish line. We had a tremendous Campfire Program last night led by the Communication merit badge class, we launched a BOAT on the pond for the first time in at least 30 years, the Cooking merit badge folks served up a FEAST - no better food anywhere, and we have had a great time. As we finish up the day, remember to be careful, be safe, and get those BLUE CARDS to the trading post. Join us tonight for the watermelon feast.
Here is the last installment of the ROLAND RATTLER. Let's be careful out there!
July 22, 2016
We had a FANTASTIC first day of the Merit Badge-O-Ree. The O.A. got a great start on attacking the brush around the pond, merit badge classes went smoothly, we enjoyed lots of ice cream and one Troop even built a boat! They will launch the boat this afternoon after the flag ceremony.
Here is you copy of the ROLAND RATTLER for DAY 2 of Camp. Enjoy!
July 21, 2016
After months of anticipation and preparation the Merit Badge-O-Ree is HERE!
Here is a copy of the ROLAND RATTLER for DAY 1 of Camp. It has the schedule and other fun stuff. Have a great first day!
ROLAND RATTLER for DAY 1July 19, 2016
As you begin to setup your campsites tomorrow you might find it helpful to consult the newest Camp Roland publication, The ROLAND RATTLER. Each day of camp you will receive a new RATTLER detailing activities for that day. We hope this helps.
Each Shelter has an information packet for the Scoutmaster or his/her designee. The packet contains the schedule for each Scout in your Troop along with other useful information (including paper copies of the ROLAND RATTLER). There is also a jar of Yukon Dan's home made grape jelly for you to enjoy at breakfast on the first morning of Camp.
Looking forward to seeing everyone at Camp Roland!
July 18, 2016
- Shelter 1 - Troop 1
- Shelter 2 - Troop 93 (Blue Ridge Council)
- Shelter 3 - Troop 93 (Buckskin Council)
- Shelter 4 - Troop 94
- Shelter 5 - Troop 75
- Shelter 6
- Shelter 7
- Shelter 8 - Troop 48
- Camp Entrance - Troop 436
Please be assured that we are working on getting the schedule put together for this year's Merit Badge-O-Ree. Right now I am contacting counselors for two dozen different merit badge classes to confirm that they are able to teach the classes. We are also trying to OPTIMIZE the classes so we can best serve the MOST Scouts. Hopefully I will have all of the contacts made and have a schedule finalized early next week. I will send out an email to let everyone know how to sign up.
Thank you for your patience as we go through the process!
June 16, 2016
We have tried to MIX IT UP this year! We asked YOU, the SCOUTS, to tell US what merit badge YOU want us to teach. We have received 28 responses and here are the results.
Merit badges receiving a total of 5 votes or more are:
Citizenship in the Community (5)
Citizenship in the Nation (6)
Emergency Preparedness (5)
Indian Lore (6)
Rifle Shooting (5)
Merit badges receiving 3 or 4 votes include:
Signs/signal code (3)
Wood carving (4)
These are the top dozen merit badges that YOU have selected and we will do our best to find counselors and offer these badges.
Merit badge receiving 2 votes were:
Citizenship in the world
We will not offer swimming as the pool will not be open this year. We will make some selections from this list and offer some of the badges that we can find counselors to teach and that are appropriate for a 72 hour camp.
There were 27 merit badges that received one vote. These include animal science, art, biking, chemistry, electricity, electronics, farm mechanics, fly fishing, genealogy, geocaching, hiking, home repair, metal working, mining in society, nature, painting, photography, physical fitness, plant science, robotics, sculpture, search and rescue, surveying, theater, traffic safety, white water, and wilderness survival.
Scoutmasters: Please let me know if your Troop is planning to attend and encourage your Scouts to let me know what badges they would like to see at the Badge-O-Ree!