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Report of Oljato 2014

Posted by on August 26, 2014

Hey Troop 5,

This is a quick overview for this year’s 2014 Camp Oljato week long trip:
Sorry if this may be a bit confusing but summer is my brain fart.
But well then. 

So we returned two days ago, 7/19 I think, luckily with every kid and adult and all of their physical body parts. Physical, I say, because I’m not too sure about the mental and emotional parts yet. But we can cover that later. 

Anyways, we met on a Sunday morning, and all of the scouts (at least I think it was, but maybe my brain was still dead from the wake-up-at-dawn thing) were struggling from sleepiness due to either the excitement and sleeplessness from the previous night for a week in the lovely wilderness, or the fact that procrastination strikes its worst when it comes to merit badge homework.
Well, while the adults were getting ready for the trip by sharing phone numbers and making a driving plan in an orderly fashion, the scouts were trying their best (we promise) to appoint a leader.

Here’s how it basically went down:
Mihir: “Well guys, we need to get an SPL, and it would be a good experience for one of the less experienced older scouts to do it. I was SPL for Oljato last year, Alex was SPL for the troop already, and Andy has to study for his SAT’s. Well since Brian, Joseph, and Joshua are next down the line, we should get one of you guys to do it.”
Joseph: “Oh I know!” Joseph says, pointing around the circle, “Brian can be the Senior, I can be the Patrol, and Joshua can be the Leader! Oh cool Joshua’s the leader! Yay, we have our SPL!”

And that, my friends, is how I was doomed to a week of responsibility. And the worst part about it was that it was where I was standing that determined my fate. 

Now that this is turning more into a memoir than a trip report, I’m going to try to stick to the basics.
So we piled into an army of mini-vans and began our five hour climb up, stopping at Subway midway and a pretty awesome donut place.
Getting to Oljato at around 3:00, we met Kimi, or Kimmy, I’m not sure which one’s right, and she led us down into Oljato in a 1.5 mile hike.
Actually I’m just going to list what we did, since this is taking far longer than I thought it would, and my brain is refusing to help me write.
Okay, so this year, we again got Honor Troop, as well as 75 completed merit badges consisting of 42 Eagle required ones, 9 skills patrol classes, and a pretty large service project which was to rebuild the Scoutcraft gateway, which needed to be 16 feet tall and 16 feet wide. Led by Mihir Juvvadi, Andy Lau, Alex Zeng, and Brian Chan, this project ran pretty smoothly. Also, in the Olympicade, Andy Wang got first place in Staff Tag, Daniel Qu got second place in 30 vs. 30, and Joshua Chen got second place in archery. We also surprisingly won the Staff Hunt.
Also, at the SPL Campfire, Ryan Li and Anshul Shah starred in the Talking Trash skit, and Andy Lau, Alex Zeng, Michael Huang, Skylar Fong, and Michael Zheng sang an Oljato version of the Pokemon theme song. The SPL’s, on the other hand, sang “Robert G Grahm”, (lyrics available upon request) a parody of Spongebob Squarepants, and managed to completely screw up Scout Vespers.
In addition to all of this, our troop participated in Tribe of Oljato, with 14 new Braves, 3 new warriors, 4 new Medicine Men, and 4 new Chiefs. Yup we had a lot of first years this year. But thanks to the help of the older scouts, and especially Mihir, things were able to run pretty smoothly.
And finally, none of this trip could’ve happened if we didn’t have the help of a few specific people. A big thanks to Commissioner Charles Chen, Scoutmaster Fred Babian and Assistant Scoutmasters Vatsal Sonecha and Jayesh Shah for their patience and support in getting everything done, and drivers Herbe Chun, Ashok Shetty, Jack Li, Victor Wang, Joyce Xia, and Bill Voorhees. Also, thank you to the scout leaders who were there when I wasn’t and when I had no idea what to do or say. Yup you know exactly who I’m talking about. And even though they probably won’t see this, a thank you to the Oljato staff we worked with: Robert, Sandy , Kimi or Kimmy, Chris, and Brandon .
And just as a side note for next year: I highly encourage anyone who wants to become SPL to do it. Even though at times it will literally make you want to jump off a cliff, there will always be a part of it, however small, that makes you enjoy it. However, I think I’m done with anything related to leadership for the next ten years of my life.
                                 With Hope in Scouting (we have a lot of scouts in line for SPL),
                                                                                           Joshua Chen
See photo gallery here

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