Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Akela Cub Campout held at Old Mill Music Park

For the first time in decades Johnson County was the site for the Cub Scouts annual Akela Cub Campout. Held at the Old Mill Music Park in Laurel Bloomery, this year’s event was hosted by Mountain City Pack Nine. Local Cub Scouts belong to the Sequoyah Council, which serves as the central organizer for 16 counties in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. The council is then further divided into eight districts.
According to district executive Matt Connors, Mountain City’s Pack Nine belongs to the Pellissippi District, meaning Father River, made up of Johnson County, Washington County, VA, and Russell County Va. The campout rotates each year through the various packs that make up the district and must be held within reasonable distance of the district center in Abingdon, VA. Nearly 150 Scouts and their families gathered at the park to spend the night camping and participate in a series of fun activities. The theme for this year was “Survivor” and as a result the boys were grouped into individual tribes designated by colored bandanas.
The Cub Scouts work with boys in first through fifth grade and are divided into different dens depending on their ages. First graders belong to the tiger den, second are wolves, third are bears, and fourth and fifth graders become WEBELOS, meaning We Be Loyal Scouts. Beyond fifth grade, Cub Scouts can participate in the Boy Scouts.
Registration at the park started at noon on Saturday and the boys were divided into different tribes as they came in. Each tribe was made up of a mixed variety of ages to ensure that the competing teams were evenly matched. There were also two special sibling tribes made up of families of Scouts who wanted to participate. Continuing the survivor theme each tribe made their way around a series of nine challenges and activities.
The first station that the Scouts encountered was shelter building where the group would work together to erect a makeshift shelter with sticks, string, and scrap plastic. The second activity required the boys to match various pictures of different animals to their tracks. Promoting the ideals of the Scouts, these challenges were designed to build cooperation and teamwork.
The next two challenges addressed the Scouts’ skills, by having them learn to tie different types of knots and how to build a fire. These were followed by a first aid activity where each tribe was presented with a series of scenarios ranging from having a broken leg to choking, and asking them what they would do in such an emergency. As a bonus the tribes would try to identify poisonous plants such as poison ivy and poison oak.
One of the most entertaining activities was the food challenge, where individual members of the groups would be challenged to try some mysterious and new food such as “frog eyes” or “skunk meat,” more commonly known as olives and Vienna sausage. This challenge was to encourage the Scouts to try new foods that they may be unfamiliar with or unlikely to try on their own.
A challenging obstacle course was also set up where the group would be divided up in a sort of relay challenge. The first Scout would start with a hopscotch portion of the course, followed with a zigzag run between cones, a balancing beam, and the challenge of carrying an egg on a spoon back to the next teammate in line, who would then do the whole course in reverse.
The last two activities were both about marksmanship and safety. A firing range was set up for the boys to practice their accuracy with BB guns, and to get some of their first lessons with firearm safety. An archery range was set up as well, where the Scouts got to practice their skills and learn techniques with the bow. The activity portion of the campout lasted until 6 p.m. when each tribe was given a chance to compete in each challenge.
A tribal council was then held at 8:30 around a campfire built in the center of the campsite. In addition to revealing the winners of the various competitions, the Scouts also put on the different skits they had practiced earlier in the day. The skits were held on the park’s stage to an audience of fellow Scouts and family members.
Following the very busy day the boys got down to the actual art of camping outdoors, singing songs around the campfire and learning the ups and downs of sleeping outdoors. With a successful night the campers were packing up to leave by 9:30 Sunday morning, taking with them an experience they would talk about for years to come.
Events like this campout create fond memories and provide a chance to gain experience and knowledge that only organizations like the Cub Scouts can provide. These kids will eventually grow into the next generation of parents and Scout masters who will then be charged with the task of passing on their knowledge. For this reason Johnson County can be proud of the strong character skills that the Cub Scouts teach and the dedication of the Scouts and their parents who make it all possible. With other packs found throughout the county, hopefully Johnson County can once again host a successful Akela Cub Campout.