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Warren Dunes Wrap Up

Posted by Marc Velasco on May 13, 2018

Warren Dunes 2018. Best described as a little “soggy”.
Our Friday, 5:00pm load in went pretty smoothly and we hit the road to Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan, by 6:15. Traffic around the lake was unusually light for a Friday rush hour, allowing us to pull into the youth campground parking lot by 8:00 pm. Once the trailer arrived, scouts and leaders pulled their weight and had gear and supplies unloaded, and camp set-up by 9:30 pm. Tents were established in a large semi-circle through our large site, with cooking and dining areas created in the middle. Hammock city was a few yards away. It seemed a perfect scenario. After some chit-chat and thoughts to the dunes, scouts paired with their tent buddies and most were asleep by 10:00 pm.
After a little chill throughout the night, Saturday’s 7:00 am wake-up call aroused hungry scouts and leaders. Staggering from tents with sleepy eyes, patrols and scouts soon went into breakfast mode with a flurry of activity. It was like a master chef cook-off. One patrol had chocolate pancakes, the second did eggs, while the third offered a “mystery” meal to start their day. Soon, bellies were full, the breakfast dishes were cleaned and scouts began to prepare their next meal – sandwiches for their lunchtime hike.
By 10:30 am scouts and leaders began their trek to the dunes. After some ridge climbs the group made it to the largest dune for some fun. Sand surfing, sand –sledding, rolling down the dunes and general hanging out were the activities. Scouts had fun just being scouts. The occasional cloud cover kept the sun and heat away. Scouts munched on lunch in-between their rolls down the hills. 
After a couple of hours of fun in the dunes, we hiked a short trail to the beach. Once there, scouts relaxed, built sand forts, played challenge games or dared each other to jump in the frigid lake water. There were no takers.
At 2:30 pm we hiked the 2-mile trail back to camp for a little R and R. Once back at camp, a small group of scouts and leaders ventured with a local DNR ranger to a remote part of the park for a conservation project – removing invasive wild garlic from the forest. After the project, the ranger provided treats and told stories of the local area history. While the service project scouts were away, the remaining scouts sat by the fire, worked on rank advancements or personal projects.
Dinner began at 5:00 pm, with scouts cooking and offering up pasta, salad, and sloppy joes. Salad - for Scouts?! Way to go!
After dinner, a light rain began to fall, with forecasts and hints of more to come, so the annual flashlight capture the flag game was canceled. Instead, scouts stayed in camp and conducted a flag burning ceremony. Once completed, stories were told around the fire. By 10:00 pm it was lights out and scouts were off to bed.
And then the rain came….
From about 11:30 pm to 6:30 am, the skies opened up and wave after wave of torrential rain, mixed in with heavy thunder and lightning, descended on the area. During one break at 3:30 am, several scouts and leaders emerged from soggy tents to find a partially flooded campsite. But, as scouts always do, we persevered and made it through the storm.
Another 7:00 am wake-up call really wasn’t necessary as most were already up from a sleepless night. A simple and quick breakfast followed, the trailer was loaded, and we ended Warren Dunes 2018 with a reflection service.
The weather wasn’t perfect, but the scouts were always upbeat and made the best of the situation. We ate good food, shared companionship and laughs, and in the end realized how lucky we were to be a part of a tremendous group and provide an opportunity to create some lasting memories.
My thanks to all of the adult leaders who helped make this trip possible.

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