Here in Michigan we’re never quite sure what the winter months will bring.  We might have 2 feet of snow and temperatures in the 20’s, temps down to zero, or a sunny day in the 40’s….or anything in between, or even all of those in a 24 hour window.  Hoping for more than the low 40’s though is considered to be greedy by many.

With that in mind we planned our February campout around the use of a cabin belinging to the family of our members.  The cabin is located less than 2 hours north of Grand Rapids, MI, and is in the heart of the 1 million acre Manistee National Forest.  More specifically, the cabin is on the banks of my favorite lower peninsula trout river, but that’s not what this weekend was about.

Our troop had 6 boys in attendance, along with their fathers.  We had a busy weekend planned form 10 am Saturday through 2pm Sunday.

We started off with a discussion with the boys about sin:  original sin, and the difference between venial and mortal sin.  The boys stayed well engaged as we asked them lots of questions so they could lead the conversation, and they impressed us with a great understanding not just of those terms but also the role of God’s mercy.

Some time outside was next on the agenda, specifically an opportunity to engage in Greco-Roman wrestling.  Having reviewed the rules and having watched some videos of Brock Lesnar (look him up!) we got right to it.  The Troop Captain and a Lieutenant kicked things off.  The 4 or 5 inches of snow on the ground helped lessen the damage.

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The boys got right to, and proved what we all knew:  they live for this kind of stuff.

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Always a little time for a couple other activities as well, like a little archery and a range of snowmen for some snowball target practice.

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Back inside the cabin, we worked with the boys on making “ditty bags” to hold some of the loose gear they have in the satchels.  Each boy, upon entering our troop, earns a satchel that they can keep their required troop gear in, along with other important items, like their mess kits and fire starting kits.  The bags we made up today could be used for any number of things (mine was to hold utensils for my mess kit and keep them clean, others were for their fire kits, etc.)  (Sorry, no pictures.)

That afternoon we also had a good conversation and learned about the Trinity, and again the boys proved better than many would give these children credit for, being able to understand and describe these difficult concepts.

As the evening wound down some boys and dads helped those that didn’t already know learn how to play chess, a valuable skill all boys should be exposed to.

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The troop dinner, Fancy Franks and Beans, was a big hit with kids and adults alike:

Ingredients:
  • 8 hotdogs (frankfurters)
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 15oz. cans baked beans
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
Instructions:
  • Cut hot dogs into 1″ pieces.
  • Chop bacon into small pieces.
  • Chop onion to make 1/4 cup.
  • Heat dutch oven to 375 degrees for Frying.
  • Fry bacon bits until crisp.
  • Remove bacon bits and save.
  • Saute onions in bacon grease until light brown.
  • Add hot dog pieces and fry for 5 minutes.
  • Mix in baked beans, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, chili powder, ketchup, and garlic salt.
  • Cover with lid and heat to 225 degrees for Simmering.
  • Simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Sprinkle bacon bits on top when served.
  • Serves 6 to 8.

The evening was capped off with a Rosary, the Joyful Mysteries being led by the cadets of the troop.

The next morning we awoke to a fresh snow falling as we had breakfast and prepared to head to Mass.

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We were pleased to celebrate Mass with the parish of St. John Cantius in Freesoil, MI.

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After Mass and after lunch the boys put together some “emergency fishing kits” consisting of braided fishing line, hooks, sinkers, and hand made bobbers stored in used pill bottles.  They are excited for spring to get here and the ice to be off so they can try them out.

May the Peace of Christ be with you all,

Troop 1279

Rockford, MI

“But now ask the beasts to teach you, the birds of the air to tell you; Or speak to the earth to instruct you, and the fish of the sea to inform you.  Which of all these does not know the hand of God has done this?”  – Job 12:7-9

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