The Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch is known as "The Ultimate West Texas High Adventure Camp," and since it has so much to offer, it should come as no surprise that thousands of scouts are making their way to the Davis Mountains to continue learning, and to try and get one step closer to the Rank of Eagle.
Being an Eagle Scout myself, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see firsthand what all the buzz was about. So I laced up my boots, grabbed my pocketknife, and took a trip down south to spend one day at summer camp.
From the shooting range to the swimming pool, the Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch offers something for everyone.
"We've got a variety of activities for them to participate in. Horseback riding, and swimming, and hiking, and high adventure programs in our back country, arts and crafts, just a little bit of everything for the boys to come here and take part in," David O'Neill, the BTSR field Director, said.
Nestled in the Davis Mountains, the ranch covers 9,000 acres making it one of the largest scout camps in the country. And again this summer, thousands of young boys are taking advantage of it.
"Actually we're looking to have our biggest summer ever, which is kind of nice. This is the 100th anniversary of scouting, so this year will be a banner year for the camp. We're looking at almost 4,000 participants that will come through our gates in eight weeks," O'Neill said.
And each of them will leave the camp having learned something they didn't previously know...like how to ride a horse or how to safely use a rifle. Some of the campers will learn, not only how to swim, but how to save a person from drowning.
"In life it is really important to know how to swim because it could save you from a situation. You will never know when you'll need it, and socially because you will always want to go to the pool or the beach with your friends," Gabriella Montilva, and international staff member, said.
As I continued my tour of the camp, I found a group of guys learning how to rock climb.
"We basically just have to learn knots...all the knots to strap ourselves in like the figure eight, the figure eight follow-through. They teach us the first aid of it, the safety of it," Sean Minnick, one of the campers, said.
Since rock climbing was one of my favorite scouting activities, I had to get in on the action. So my new friends helped me suit up. They hooked me up to the safety harness and I began to scale up the mountainside, which was much more difficult than I remember. Needless to say, I finally reached the top after about three minutes of climbing. Then it was time for the easy part. They simply lowered me down. An exciting end to a very exciting day.
Our thanks to Scout Executive Lyman Gifford for making that trip a reality. And make sure you tune in again tomorrow for more about the Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch, and how the campers dealt with rainy conditions.