A Tale of Two Navajos
This article was submitted by David Peters,a member of the Council Communications Committee
It was the best of times, it was the better of times. One dad shares two ways to experience the ultimate Cub Scout summer camp.
For those of you who don’t know Navajo Arrow of Light Camp (link 1 below) is a subcamp within the Tomahawk Scout Reservation (TSR) for Cub Scouts who have completed 4th grade. It’s three nights and three days of non-stop advancement and fun. Navajo provides a preview of summer camp after the AOL crossover. Campers can arrive either Sunday and go home Wednesday or arrive Wednesday and go home Saturday. There is also an optional Webelos Outpost for those wanting an extra night with some special programming.
My first Navajo experience.
I consulted with the families in my scout’s den to identify a good time to go and cross referenced Tomahawk’s reservations (link 3 below) to see when Troops we knew (link 2 below) attended camp. Ultimately our den chose to attend Navajo the same week as a Troop we liked and to be there Wednesday through the extra Outpost night.
Check in to camp was around 6pm Wednesday so the drive from the metro area to TSR started in the middle of rush hour. It’s summer so it’s also road construction season. As good scouts we were prepared for all of this and were able to get an early enough departure to be the first ones through check-in.
Arriving at our site, I was happy to see the canvas tents already set up on wooden platforms. I calculated sunrise and sunset into tent selection and that’s when we had a Goldilocks and Three Bears type moment. “There’s someone’s gear inside this tent,” said my scout “And there’s gear in this tent too,’ said a den mate. And in another tent, there was a zip up tent fully set up! I was sure we were the first through processing so this struck me as odd. But it was a nice site, there were more than enough tents on platforms and that’s what really mattered.
From the moment we woke Thursday to Navajo’s big finale on Saturday, it was a blur of fun and advancement. I think our scouts completed four activity pins and still had free time for lots of the activities offered at camp. The camp staff put on a fantastic program highlighted by unforgettable moments at every meal.
Wanting to provide my den a preview of what Troop life is like at summer camp we used some free time to visit the Troop identified when making reservations. We talked with them a bit and they showed us a couple key places - the dining shelter, trading post, and the beach. I think we had about an hour with them before we had to get back for dinner at Navajo.
Skip ahead to Friday night back at the campsite we shared with the members from other Packs. Around a small campfire we took turns sharing stories, riddles and songs. With the Goldilocks and Three Bears puzzle in my head, I asked how they got to the campsite before us. They said they came up Tuesday night. “Tuesday night? Check in wasn’t until after dinner Wednesday,” I said.
One of the dads was there with his fourth son and they stayed with the older brothers’ Troop the night before, hung out for the day and checked in with enough time to explore a bit. They said the added cost to stay with the Troop was just enough to cover the meals. At the time the price per person per meal was less than two dollars.
They also said they were going home with their Troop on Saturday and not staying for Outpost. They explained they had an opportunity to see the camp in action Wednesday with their big brothers’ Troop and instead would be recouping at home.
On Saturday, the other dads and I were a little gassed but excited for Outpost. The half day was already pretty full and wrapped up with a beach blast complete with chargrilled goodies and sand volleyball for all.
After the beach party, Outpost campers gathered to make the trek to another subcamp. I believe the hike was only a mile but after an active Navajo I cannot lie, it felt a little longer. We set up camp which completed some requirements, selected some of the offered activities and enjoyed a meal topped off with dutch oven cobblers of many varieties which were expertly prepared by some of the camp staff we got to know during Navajo.
I don’t recall breakfast but I do remember the drive home was filled with anticipation to attend Tomahawk next year with a Troop. I got home, showered and slept the kind of sleep that might easily be mistaken for a coma.
My 2nd Navajo.
Sometime in April we made arrangements with a Troop we were likely to join to stay with them at Tomahawk until our Navajo began.
After work on Tuesday the week of, we left the cities, ate on the road and arrived at camp slightly before dusk. We were not under a deadline so the drive was much more relaxed than my first Navajo drive. The Troop welcomed us and the older scouts helped our cub scouts set up tents which fulfilled some requirements. Once settled in, our scouts gathered around a campfire with their elder classmates and the adults around a picnic table. It was pretty awesome seeing our Cub Scouts welcomed as members of the unit and not as little kids. The adults got to talk and those not as familiar with the difference in programs were able to get their questions answered.
Wednesday morning we woke to the Troop cooking breakfast in camp. After cleaning up, we explored and saw some merit badge classes and other activities in action. For lunch, the staff served “cheeseburgers in paradise.” There were some rain clouds rolling in, so after lunch we took a trip into town. We picked up a bundle of firewood at a nearby gas station and kept it dry in the vehicle. The storm rolled through and we returned to camp for check in.
We strolled into our campsite to find some campers trying to make a fire with wet wood. We offered our dry wood and had a great fire that night. I remember there was a tremendous meteor shower and the scouts all left the comfort of the fire to lay out and star gaze. Rapid fire exclamations of “there’s one!” and “oooh” filled the air. It was magical.
Thursday through Saturday was a blur of fun filled activities. I think our scouts completed 4 activity pins and still had free time for activities offered at camp. The staff put on a fantastic program highlighted by unforgettable moments at every meal. We went home Saturday after the Beach Bash.
The drive home was filled with anticipation to attend Tomahawk next year with a Troop. I showered, slept and had all day Sunday to adjust back to normal.
The morale of the story is Navajo is the greatest camp experience a Cub Scout will have. This dad enjoyed it so much I went twice! Outpost is also a great experience full of activities just for the Cub Scouts. And coordinating to stay with a Troop you’re considering joining for one night at Tomahawk has tons of benefits.
- About Navajo Arrow of Light Camp
- Find a unit near you by school, zip or unit number
- Tomahawk Reservations and Availability