DOBSON — Fisher River Park was abuzz with activity last week as Cub Scouts from across the region converged for an annual childhood favorite: The Dogwood District Day Camp for Cub Scouts.
The event, held Wednesday through Friday, was themed as a “Galactic Trek,” and boasted a record-breaking 58 scouts from around the district.
“We were invaded by aliens this year,” co-organizer and Camp Director Lisa Smith said with a laugh, “the kids seemed to love the theme.”
But alien themes paled in comparison to the goal of the camp, to have fun, experience something different and maybe even learn a little bit.
“We’ve been having a lot of fun activities this year,” Smith said, “We’ve been doing archery, field games, had a BB-gun shooting gallery, crafts and orienteering, to name just a few.”
Older scouts in the fourth and fifth grades also learned first aid and studied geology by mining for gemstones.
“It’s been fantastic,” a sweaty and breathless Smith said. “This year, we’ve increased our attendance by 20 percent, and it’s up 120 percent from two years ago. We’re proud to say we’re still growing.”
And thankfully, the weather cooperated. With the exception of a couple of hours of rolling thunder, the scouts were able to get out and enjoy the park.
“We were prepared, though,” Smith said. “I had a kit ready with activities in the event of rain.”
Kevin Cheek, the district director for the Old Hickory Council of the Boy Scouts, said he admired the hundreds of hours of volunteer work Smith, her co-director and husband Oscar Smith, and the 30-some volunteers put into the camp each year.
“We went through a national-level camp inspection this week, so this camp is an accredited event,” he said. “Lisa and Oscar worked incredibly hard to ensure the boys have a safe, fun and wholesome environment to enjoy. There are tons of standards put out by the Boy Scouts, and they have surpassed them all.”
This is the third year the Smiths have been organizing the event, which has been running for at least a decade.
The cost for this year’s camp was $45 per camper, a fee Smith said she is trying to keep low.
“I’ve been desperately trying to keep the cost affordable in order to allow as many people to attend as possible,” she said, looking at laughing children messily slipping down a huge water slide. “It’s growing nicely for us, and we’re working as hard as we can to contain the costs.”
It seems to be working.
As he squinted at the target, Terry Spencer, 11, was a picture of concentration.
“Archery is my favorite,” he said, holding the bow like a professional. “I’ve never done it before, but it’s a lot of fun.”
But for others, activities like Ultimate Frisbee and the water slide took precedent.
“I’ve been coming since I was little,” said Mason Greenstreet, 10. “This year, my favorite thing was Ultimate Frisbee, because you can run and be loud and play with your friends.”
A passing water-slider splattered him with water, and Greenstreet laughed.
“But the water slide is fun, too,” he said as he ran up the hill for another turn.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.