A Scouting Family: Summer Camp is About More than Merit Badges

To learn more about the Blackburn family and their Scouting story, please read part 1 of this blog post.

When Elizabeth and Mike Blackburn’s son Chris became a Boy Scout, their daughter Julia joined in on some of his activities.

Julia wearing one of her favorite sweat shirts
Julia in her favorite sweatshirt

“I went on outings with my brother’s Scout troop,” Julia says. “Any time I would go anywhere, I would learn something new and get to do something interesting.

“It wasn’t just a group of boys meeting together. [The leaders] were helping instruct them to learn life lessons, like leadership, and things that they will keep with them forever.”

A trip to Cherokee Scout Reservation opened the door to greater involvement.

“Julia tagged along on Family Night,” Elizabeth remembers. “We saw that there were girls working at Camp Cherokee. I asked her, ‘Are you interested in doing this?’”

She was. Julia applied and got a job the following summer.

“The entire experience was positive,” Julia says. “I learned a whole lot more than I ever thought that I would.”

In the beginning, she was a little unsure. “I was really nervous that first week,” she says. “I had to make up my own lesson plans, and that was a little hard because I had never done any sort of teaching before.”

Julia - William asking for help (Eagle Scout -now a Marine)
Julia teaching class at Cherokee Scout Reservation.

Getting out of her comfort zone, though, was worth it. “I’m not used to standing in front of people like that,” Julia says. “It was definitely a new experience. I’m usually a very quiet person. But it was a whole lot of fun. You could just see that all of the campers had a great time.”

Julia was surprised by how much more there was to summer camp than she originally thought. “It was a lot more than just teaching merit badges,” she says. “It was also understanding the kids, getting to know them.

“And even though I had been camping my whole life, I learned about survival skills and things you don’t get from tent camping. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of learning.”

She easily saw why campers and leaders alike want to come back each year. “I had such a good experience between getting to know the people there and learning everything,” Julia remembers. “I wanted to participate in all of the excitement and fun again, so I did.”

Chris project complete
Chris working on Camp Staff at Cherokee Scout Reservation

She returned for a second summer, and her brother also worked as a camp staff member. “I had just as good of an experience the next summer, if not better,” Julia says. “It’s thrilling to know that you put all of this effort into it and get so much out of it.”

Their mother was also pleased by the bond created by working together at camp. “It really made my kids closer together,” Elizabeth says.

Julia’s summers as a camp staff member only deepened her appreciation of the Scouting program. “There are a lot of reasons why I love the Boy Scouts,” Julia says. “It’s about being on teams and making friends. It’s a string of experiences and memories that you’ll keep with you forever.

“It’s something that every child should be able to experience.”

FleurDeLis_SMI_Stacked_800x410Family scouting launches August 1 welcoming girls into Cub Scouting (grade K-5).  The older Girl Troop program will begin February 1, 2019. To join Scouts visit beascout.org or contact the Old North State Council Service Center at 336 378-9166 or bsaonsc.org/joinscouts.html

To learn more about the Blackburn family and their Scouting story, please read part 1 of this blog post.

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