The Outdoor Adventure Klub (OAK) recently went on a camping trip to the ghost town of Masten in the Loyalsock State Forest. Since all three Squads participated, they accepted different challenges. The Grizzlies (elementary ages) slept in a cabin. The Wolfpack (middle school age) slept in tents, but mostly cooked indoors. The Green Machine (Jr. High) camped in tents and did all their cooking outside.
OAK is a character building endeavor, but one with a difference. Rather than putting boys through a pre-planned program, they strive to bring the program out of the boys. Yes, supervision is given by “Adult Helpers” that are Christian men, but no more direction than is needed. Can it result in messy situations? YES! But those are the kind of challenges that bring out the best in a group of boys. And that is exactly what happened, in turn, to each Squad!
They arrived about dusk and soon had their sleeping tent set up. After that their focus was enjoying each other’s company by just goofing around. Hey, that is what you can expect from Jr. High boys in the woods. Although it was pointed out that it would start raining during the night and they should consider setting up the cooking tent now instead of in the morning in the rain that is not what they chose. The Squad decided it could wait until morning. It made sense considering one of the boys had to leave early in the morning for a sporting event. Why should he have to leave without having some fun, spending most of the time just setting up camp?
But later, as the Green Machine Squad crawled into their sleeping bags, they thought about their buddy leaving early in the morning without breakfast. That wouldn’t do either! So here is what these young guys decided. They set their alarm for 3:30 in the morning, got up, in the dark, in the rain, set up the cooking tent, made eggs and pancakes, and sent their fellow Squad member off with a hearty meal to his sporting event. It hadn’t even grown light in the east, by then. But what about the “adult helpers?” Well, they could only marvel at the sterling character they displayed when challenged to help a buddy. Oh, they had some breakfast, too. (The boys sure weren’t going to let them sleep in!)
The Grizzlies and Wolfpack had their own challenges, too. Besides figuring out how to work together (an essential life skill) while setting up a large and heavy tent, they also constructed a tricky obstacle course. Yeah, there were some hurt feelings and even a skinned knee. But you don’t build character on a feather bed. Then a hike to a washed out train overpass was planned. On the way they spotted an interesting culvert high on a steep hillside.
Would it be a good idea to make a detour from the planned route to explore it, maybe even crawl through it? (There might be spiders.) Well, that wasn’t for the Adult Helpers to decide that was up the Squad. And if they couldn’t agree, then the final decision would have to be made by their own Squad Leader. So on up the steep hillside they went, and felt a sense of accomplishment by overcoming a difficult challenge – together – while looking down from their lofty height.
OAK (Outdoor Adventure Klub) is a Ministry of North Street Community Church for kindergarten through 12th grade boys and is funded by donations – no joining fee. It is a place where boys can be boys, guided by Christian men. Each Squad in the Klub has boys of about the same age.
By encouraging positive, Christian attitudes the boys will build a strong character while having a great time with their buddies. Call Jeff Deutschle, Klub Koordinator, for details at (570) 673-4275.