Reposted from the So. Mo. RR Email List Server July 28th, 2011.  Report from Rick Barnhouse on the NW Divisions Merit Camp.  Mid Week report!

I am back home tonight from Merit Camp for a few hours. Everything is going very smoothly, even though it is a bit toasty. Today, they said it got to 106 degrees in Warrensburg. Ouch! Interestingly enough, I thought it was more comfortable than the first few days - probably a sign of heat stroke.

There are 62 campers in 7 Patrols, 11 Junior Staff (GMA recipients), and probably 40-45 full and part-time staff. There are also a few off-site professionals that we use for things like Golf, Intro to Scuba, and Aviation, etc..
The boys are doing great. No real cases of home sickness yet. About half the patrols are up to the silver level for Patrol of Excellence, and the competition for Honor Patrol is lively. DJ Hall's Patrol 1 (the Green Hornets) won first the first two days. The Dangerous Dynamite patrol ousted them this evening. It is still anybody's race.
It did not rain for Wilderness Survival or Primitive Shelters (rats). I stopped in at Wilderness Survival this morning to deliver meds and the instructor ask me to demonstrate lighting a fire with a bow and drill - no pressure, right? You will be proud to hear that I whipped up a lovely punk in no (record) time. ie. it was no record. But I got 'er done for them. In the 90 degree morning I was sweating like a pig. But of course I waited until out of site to collapse.
Council fire have been great. The first night, Dave North presented the message and a cool testimony about how God touched the boys that went on that trip. Several were also in attendance at the Merit Camp. Night two, the patrol advisors led cabin council fires or devotions for a more intimate touch. Tonight, the Junior Staff was in charge. It was a blessing when they came and ask me if they could leave the evening concession time early, so they could go spend time in prayer before the service.
The boys have earned about 120 merits the first couple of days. They'll have around 300 by the time the week is out.
In the afternoons they either spend a couple of hours after classes in the pool (trying to kill me), work on patrol projects (if they want), or challenging each other to tournament games of basketball, or whatever they want.
Having a great time of fun, accomplishment, and spiritual growth. Love to have you join us. You can even come up to the awards banquet on Saturday in Warrensburg if you want.
I'm on my way back early in the morning. More of a report later.

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