I was awakened from a deep sleep around midnight to the sound of my assistant scoutmaster (Dr. Braude) shouting in the darkness. As I slowly got out of my sleeping bag and sat on my old, squeaky tattered green cot in a daze, Dr. Braude burst into my tent. He then shined a flashlight he was holding up to his face so I could see him. The light shined off his small-rimmed glasses and it outlined his small rounded nose and his coarse unshaved beard. I can tell by the look on his face that something bad was happening.
“Max you have to get up quickly. We have to go to Camp Famous Eagle’s dining hall. A terrible storm is coming in fast. It could be a tornado!”
After hearing that news I immediately jumped off of the dirty cot, threw on my hiking boots, and grabbed my dark blue rain coat and a flashlight. As I quickly rushed out of my tent, I noticed that everyone else was also leaving their tents in a hurry, as if they were mice being chased by cats. My duty as patrol leader was to first make sure that everyone in my patrol was awake and out of their tents. Then my troop sped to the picnic tables and nervously awaited instructions.
“Ok are everyone from your patrols here?” Dr. Braude asked the other patrol leaders and me. After everyone was accounted for, Dr. Braude continued, “here is the plan everyone, since a bad storm is coming in fast, everyone in the ranch is going to have to evacuate and we are going to Camp Famous Eagle’s new dining hall for shelter. The only problem is that there are 18 of you and only two adults with cars so you all are going to have to squeeze into the cars so we will only have to make one trip. Is everyone ok with that? Ok then, patrol leaders line up your patrols and make sure that everyone is here.”
“Everyone in my patrol is here.” I replied scared to be standing in the forest with a storm rapidly approaching.
“Let’s roll out.” Dr. Braude said trying to be cheerful about the situation even though we could all see how unsure he looked.
As we all quickly walked down the long dirt path that led from our campsite to the parking lot, I noticed how scared the younger scouts looked. I could tell from their faces that this was the worst first year at Boy Scouts’ summer camp ever. I tried to put on a brave face for their sake. After walking down the long, dark, spooky path, we finally reached the parking lot. Two patrols went with Dr. Braude and the older patrol went with another adult in our troop. Everyone in my patrol was squished together in the back rows of Dr. Braude’s old minivan while I was sitting in the passenger seat all comfy and warm. I was wondering how I got so lucky. Upon arriving at camp Famous Eagle I didn’t want to leave the warm car and have to walk into the cold, windy stormy night. That walk to the dining hall felt like it took a lifetime. And after waiting in a long line to check in, we were all exhausted. Once I was inside the dining hall, I was surprised to see so many people all jammed into such a small space like cattle. Eventually, we made our way over to a spot and sat in the corner of the hall by the glass windows. While sitting on the freezing hard floor with my back resting on the large window, I realized how lucky we were to get inside before the storm started.
The storm first started with strong winds. As I was staring out into the darkness, out of nowhere, a grocery bag blew past the window so fast that it scared the living daylights out of me. After calming myself down, I started to get really hungry and I remembered that I hadn’t eaten since 6:00 that evening. Fortunately, the camp counselors were bringing out bowls of popcorn. Once the bowl of popcorn reached where our troop was sitting, all of the younger scouts quickly devoured the popcorn like wild wolf’s fighting over food. I looked around the hall and saw that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t get anything to eat. The counselors hadn’t made enough for everyone. To take our minds off the storm (and my hunger) they played a movie. And that is when the rain started.
The rain was very strong and between that noise and the sounds of the people nervously chatting around me, it was impossible to hear the movie. I tried to make myself as comfortable as possible. I was shivering because of the temperature, so I took off my jacket, and threw it over myself to use as a blanket. I then slipped off my big hiking boots and tried to roll myself up into a ball under my jacket. I still was cold, but there wasn’t much I could do to stop that. So I tried to take my mind off of being cold and scared by trying to watch the movie. I couldn’t tell what the movie was and it was difficult to see from my spot on the floor, but I think it was, Transformers. Since I was unable to focus on the movie, I started looking around the dining hall. I was fascinated by how intrigued everyone was by the movie. It was also interesting to see all these kids, who should be tired, looking energized like they could run a marathon. The younger scouts in my troop were all having fun and laughing. They seemed to have forgotten all about the storm going on outside.
After 10 minutes or so of just sitting around, talking to my friend who is also a patrol leader, I started feeling really drained like I hadn’t slept in weeks. After lying there on the freezing hard floor in a dining hall it seemed like this night would never end. I tried to make myself relax and I began to imagine myself nice and warm in my sleeping. It must have worked because the rest is a blur.
I suddenly woke up with a burst of energy. I jumped up and saw that people were leaving the dining hall. I turned to Dr. Braude and asked him, “What time is it and where are people going?”
“The storm is over. We can all go back to our campsites now.” Dr. Braude responded sounding relived. As we all slowly got up and left the dining hall I felt both happy and nervous. I was happy we were able to go back to our campsite, but I was nervous that my things were destroyed by the storm. When we got back to camp, I jumped out of the car, dashed down the dirt path to our campsite, and found that my tent and everything was perfectly fine. For the third time that evening, I felt very lucky. I lay down in my sleeping bag, closed my eyes and realized that in three short hours I would have to wake up and start another exciting day at Boy Scout camp. There was no way it could be as exciting as this day was. This was a memorable experience and one we would continue to talk about for months to come.