Written by Gordon Tran
Search and Rescue camp was a fun and first experience for all the scouts in Chi Lang Troop 279 and 1279. Our troop has never experienced anything like this in the past. It was a combination of the hearty feeling of camping and the rigorous training of a merit badge camp. Many of the things we learned were not only helpful to have on a search and rescue trip, but also great to have on any camping trip. By the end of the camp, we were exhausted, but glad to have experienced it.
The Search and Rescue camp was held at Schoepe Scout Reservation at Lost Valley, a beautiful campsite that had everything you want in a campsite. We had a chance to hike to many popular sights, including the shooting range, the Rope COPE Course, and the rocky cliff. The campsites were extremely clean, spacious, and the perfect distance from the mess hall; it’s far enough to not hear anything from each of the places, and close enough to be walking distance. The cabins were warm, cozy, and more comfortable other camps.
The merit badge itself was fun and rigorous. We learned necessary things, such as first aid, orienteering, and teamwork; we had to learn how to function like a real search and rescue team. At the end, there was a surprise search and rescue mission: we had to rescue a staff member who was lost. We were split up to four teams, and we learned how to communicate with each other, including giving and taking orders from someone you didn’t know. We had to trust each other in order to be successful. While there were many setbacks, we located the missing staff and the rescue team brought him to safety.
The staff members at Schoepe Scout Reservation were phenomenal. They were passionate, enthusiastic, and very energetic. They always lightened the mood and made everything more fun. They also rewarded us with ice cream, which was a huge bonus. The cooking team was great too. Their pancake and bacon was the type of whole-hearted meal you needed to start the day.
Overall, we’re very fortunate as a troop to experience this amazing Search and Rescue camp from April 28-30. Between the energetic staff members, beautiful scenery, fulfilling meals, and excellent teaching, we all had an unforgettable time.