A Brownsea Diary


By John Edelmann

  BA-CrestPatch.jpg (123153 bytes)

July 22, 1979 – July 28, 1979

Camp Arrowhead

Tri-State Area Council

Huntington, WV




The following account, written by John Edelmann, Staff Assistant Senior Patrol Leader of the first Brownsea 22 Training Camp, details some events leading up to the week, as well as a daily record of this first training program, held at Camp Arrowhead, Tri-State Area Council (TSAC).  This account was actually written nearly a month after the end of the camp, said account having been started on August 31, 1979 and represents a 20+ page excerpt spanning two separate volumes of diaries recorded by the author.

 Keep in mind that the following is recorded from the point of view of a 17 year old, thrust into an unexpected position of program director for a training program that had never previously been conducted by this particular Council.

 In the following, the program is referred to as BA-II, Brownsea 22, and BA-II-I, all of which are used to name the first such program held at TSAC.  Annotations and comments other than those originally in the text are placed in brackets [] throughout.  Emphasis placed throughout are rendered as close to the original handwriting, as far as possible.

 And so we begin.

Brownsea 22 is a name for a training camp for boys, in “All Out for Scouting” movement, Phase II.

 It is a reenactment of Baden-Powell’s first Camp for Boys on Brownsea Island, England, in 1904, the first Scout camp in history.


June 29th, 1979

 Order of the Arrow Executive Committee – TSAC Office – Huntington Wva.

 Mike Walton, BA-II program director mentioned  that the BA-II camp site was up in the air.  Quite a heated argument developed between him and Archie Hayes, for you see, the latter is the Camp [Arrowhead] director.  Well, Cub Camp was in progress and Brownsea II was moved in on their schedule.  Well, Walton didn’t get very excited, since he had a few tricks up his sleeve…


Story of the 1st Brownsea 22 of TSAC


Friday, July 20th, 1979

 We arrived there at 7:15 or 7:30.  But I was just about lost!  I couldn’t find anyone else that was connected with BAII (Brownsea II).  Well, you see, this week was the first week of cub scout day camp.   Friday PM, there was a campfire.  Well, since no one had arrived to help in my plight, I went down to the campfire.  However, just before, I had gotten in touch with Bob Weiler, who was the BAII Senior Patrol Leader (staff). He told me the staff was camping up in the Chief Cornstalk site.  Well, I carried my gear up to the campsite, and then went to the campfire.

 This was quite nice, though I was wondering where in the world Mike Walton was.  After the campfire, I went back up to my tent.  Then, when I came back to the mess hall, I found, much to my surprise, Mike Walton, sitting down.

 In as much as I was quite perplexed by this time, I was rather forward in asking where he’d been.  He proceed to tell me how horrible the day had been… His truck had broken down a multitude of times, and he had been discussing the camp problem with Jack Brun, the assistant council executive.  So, in other words, the situation simply could not have been helped.

 Well at about 10:30 or 11:00 pm, we all went up to a tent to talk (the staff, consisting of Mike Walton, Bob Kelly and Bob Weiler; Kelly will be the Leadership Corp. leader; one other, Dewey Ball had not arrived yet) over various things.  Mr. Walton told us how each of us was “picked to do a certain duty or job.” I inquired about Church for the weekend and found out Weiler was going in town Saturday evening for Mass.

 After our talk, we adjourned (12:15-12:30 or so) and I went to Cornstalk by myself (everyone else slept elsewhere).


Saturday, July 21st

 Today, I did a great deal of nothing, as far as the morning was concerned.  After an “exciting” breakfast, I ran all over everywhere, waiting for something indicating something was starting, but this never came. 

 However, Mike and I did go down to the Reception shelter and talk.

 Well after several hours of nothing, Weblos Weekend (Father and Son) started.

 Jim Hosier, a Scout Master for Woodbadge, was there for this.  He is also linked in with BA-II.

 Well in the later morning, a man named Tommy Tomelson arrived on the scene.

 (He is a retired boatman, a member of the Council Executive Board.  He is a very good friend of Mike’s – sort of a father-type character – very logical, as well as full of common sense.)

 His duty was to make sure things ran right, as Course Advisor.

 Well, that afternoon, I helped Mike make the ribbons to be worn by the boys to be put on the shoulders for identification.   Also, we constructed the “wolve’s teeth” necklaces.  It was while we were doing this, that I found out my duty – I am the (Staff) Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, next in command to Bob Weiler.  Also, because I am a “stickler for detail” (what? Oh well…) I’m connected with BA-II staff for that purpose as well. [I’m obviously getting to know Mike Walton better and better, as time progresses, and the vice-versa is true as well.]

BA-ASPL-staff.jpg (90979 bytes)

Staff Assistant Senior Patrol Leader Patch

 Well, we ate supper (Bob and I) at the mess hall, and then we went to Our Lady of Fatima, Huntington.  We were late, didn’t go to communion, but at least we made the effort.  Weiler drove, of course.

 Upon arriving back in Camp, Bob had to prepare for a campfire – yes, another one – and so I watched.  Oh by the way, I’ve had some sort of uniform on continuously since I arrived yesterday! 

 Well after the campfire, we all again awaited Walton’s return, after which Kelly and I stayed (as well as the Fathers and Sons) up at Cornstalk for the evening.


Sunday, July 22nd

 Today, got up and took a shower.  Ate breakfast in the mess hall of Camp Arrowhead.  Then, we (the staff) assembled our forces and each received our first jobs.  Also, staff member #4 arrived (Dewey Ball).  I was to keep the waiting men/boys occupied, though actually, I took care of check-in, while Weiler was out.  So after all Check-in was finished,  about 39 boys were to be present today though all didn’t show up at the AM check-in.

 Well, Dewey had taken all of them up to the camp to drop off their gear.  Tommy was teaching them their “Commando Ropes”.  Well, eventually, they all went to the Health Lodge for Check-in there.   After which, they were given needles and thread, with patches and told to sew on “22” under a “Brownsea II” strip, and to take everything else OFF (save rank, lodge flap, flag, and a camporee patch if present. 

 BA-TroopID.jpg (174294 bytes)

 Well, by 12:00 or so, we were ready to venture forth to the Staff Area.  After a brief discussion, Mike and we passed out the natural wood staves.  Some tall, short, crooked, straight.  All with character; a different character – like the boys they belong to.

 After this distribution, we all sat in a group and listened to Walton’s little introduction speech.  Mike announced who was SPL and ASPL (me).  After this, the boys were divided into groups – patrols.

 The patrol names were the same ones Baden-Powel had long ago.

 Though instead of four patrols, we had 3 patrols of 13 each.  Also, we picked the P.L.’s of each.  These P.L.’s were given their patrol’s ribbons (Red for Wolf Patrol, Blue for Bull, White for Curlew). 

 The patrols were then given knowledge of their camping areas, and asked to go there. 

 Food was taken care of by another member of our staff – Jeff Sawyers.  Well, he was late (quite late) and we didn’t eat lunch until about 4:00 or so!

 Well, as the day passed, night eventually came, and the Campfire was made ready.  The campfire was such that merely putting wood on the coals would start it!

 Well, come time for the campfire to occur, I found that I was in charge (MC).  With this in mind, I then went about preparing various skits.  (I didn’t make up any, the rest of the staff thought them up.)   Campfire order was thus:

      1.      My Dog Rover

2.      “Wee Skit”  (see below)

3.      Brownsea Story

4.      Brownsea Song

5.      Worm Skit

6.      Poem (Bobby)

7.      “America”


Well, right before I introduced the Scout Master, Dewey would come to me and say, “ I got to wee!”.   (He was acting as if he had to use the restroom.)  But, I would say, “You can’t ‘wee’ here.   In front of everyone?  Go on!”

 I would then begin again to introduce him, and he (Dewey) would come over and say, “I gotta ‘wee’!”   

 “You can’t ‘wee’ here now!” I would reply.  Well, again I would try to introduce him, but finally he would say, “ I gotta WEEEE!” – at which point, I gave in, and said, “Alright, go ahead and embarrass yourself; go ahead ‘wee’!”

 He then proceeded to “wee” by throwing up his hands in the air, saying “Wee!”

 Finally [then], I was able to bring out Mr. Walton for he had more info to give them on BAII.  [For more info, refer to the “All Out For Scouting Syllabus”, Operation Brownsea.]

 After this, the moment came that I’d dreaded for a long time.  Yes, I now had to teach them the BAII song! 

 This was a patrol song:  each patrol had a different one.  Well, 1st, I had to sing the crazy thing!  For them!  Using an adjective I saw written before: 

 “We’re the ‘soaring’ curlews of the Brownsea Camp.  All for one!  One for all!
Were the ‘soaring’ curlews of the Brownsea Camp,
Of the Brownsea Double 2 Camp.
 We’re here for the fun and scouting play,
The good old fashioned B – P Way!
 It’s Brownsea Scouting here to stay!”

 Well, after twice of this, we tried everyone together.  They caught on amazingly well!  I had them think of adjectives for their own versions.  Then, we worked on it again individually (patrolly?).  Well, after this, we did a last song, and so finally, said Good Night.   Had a cracker barrel.  Staff still had to talk over the next day’s schedule.   This we did.


Monday, July 23rd

 2nd day of BAII-I!

 Rise and shine at 7:00 am.   However, we were usually late.

 Either me, Dewey, or Kelly prepared the food.  It had to be separated among 3 patrols.  Today, at 9:30 or so, we had a flag raising [ceremony].  And after a few announcements, I gave a weather report.  Then, at 10:30, morning activities began.

 Much the same for each day to follow.

 These included such things as field identification, nature hunts, knot tying games, compass routes, camp set-up, and various other things.

 Well, after AM activities, lunch occurred.  This meal was the only one usually on time!  (Barely!)  Well, the staff went around to the different campsites to eat lunch.  Well, at 1:30, afternoon activities began.  These consisted of much of the same things (activities) as the AM ones.  However, there was usually more work involved (fire building contests, nature hunts, and the like. 

 At 4:30, “waiters” were dismissed to set things up and cook, and at 6:00, supper was to be served.  NOT ONE SUPPER WAS ON TIME!  ALL WEEK!

 Well, finally, 7:00 would roll around – SHOWER TIME!  Flag lowering was usually before the showers, but we brought the flag down but once or twice in 7 days (in ceremony, that is). 

 On Monday, the troop did the campfire.  They had skits, and one patrol was in charge of MC’ing it, etc.  WAS EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL.

 Also, the Patrols were singing the Brownsea song quite well.

 All went well this 2nd night …


Tuesday, July 24th

 After breakfast, all went as planned.  AM Activities were nicely pulled off. Lunch [came], then PM Activities went well too.

 However, Tuesday PM, after a Bee-eautifuul Supper, it started storming quite fiercely—and it rained into the night.   Fortunately, I had picked a tent that was very waterproof!

 Well, Tuesday was done, and we (the staff) were beginning to think we would be able to get things finished. 


Wednesday, July 25th

 Today, dawned rainy.  I remember Tommy Tomelson and M. Walton getting water for the coffee off the tent fly!

 Well, finally, morning activities occurred.  These included games of fun and the like—nothing really mind boggling. 

 After lunch, we had practice for pack loading and got the patrols ready for the overnighter (“Pique”).   As soon as supper supplies came, we sent the boys off.  They were to spend the night in separate patrols, using the resources they had with them for shelters or using none at all.  Well, they were off.

 Also, it had rained till about lunchtime today—mud was everywhere. 

 [Side Bar: Mr. Bob Matthews from Pt. Pleasant had joined us shortly before]

 We gave a rain dance before they left! Wishing them the worst luck…

 For supper, the staff had steaks, corn on the cob, and potatoes – splurging, so to speak.

 We went to bed that night with a fatigued outlook, however, as we had 3 days to go.


Thursday, July 26th


Today, we were working on breakfast when suddenly, the patrols started back.  (They were supposed to return after breakfast!)

 Well, nevertheless, things finally were wrapped up, and Thursday was spent electing the Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader (of the troop – not staff). 

 John Dooley was SPL.

 -Took pictures also today –


BA-II-ISTAFF.jpg (157851 bytes)            BA-II-ITROOP.jpg (278820 bytes)

Staff Photo                     Entire Troop Photo

(Click on the above thumbnails to expand)


Well, at this point, we (the staff) did very little, and I made our Staff Flag, while everyone else did little.  I also had time to sew my patches on. 

 This afternoon, our staff member, Bob Matthews, helped with the pioneering project (a small tower).

 So, Thursday ended quite nicely.


Friday, July 27th

 Today, we did the pioneering project (I think).  Well, it also rained a lot, except for the afternoon.  Finally, after supper, I was to begin greeting the scoutmasters as they came in to see the final ceremonies and dinner.

 Tonight, we had the LAST BROWNSEA CAMPFIRE.  This was the one I had read about in the text I was given at Summer Camp [note:  I was originally asked to be on staff by Walter Walker during one of the regular summer camp events earlier in the year.]  Also, the staff members (Me, mainly) taught the Indian Chant, “EEN-GONYAMA” to the troop.  First thing, I tried (rather unsuccessfully at first) to assemble the SM near where the campfire was to begin.

 Well, after a few skits, we (the troop members) retired to a campfire in the woods (hidden), and had our final fire.   Unfortunately, it had rained and no real dry wood was to be found.  Well, we finally got the fire going barely (I, since I played tuba, was able to blow much longer to get it started!).  Finally, all was finished and we went back to camp to have watermelon.  Then, we said good night after all was over.


Saturday, July 28th



 Today, first was a breakfast of donuts.  Then, all morning was used breaking camp.  Well, about 2:00 or 2:30pm, it seemed all the “VIPs” were coming in.  These included the Council Executive, Bob Cree, Assistant Council Executive, Jack Brun, and a few others. 

 We had a nice barbecued chicken dinner, and then a ceremony took place.

 First, all the boys were called together by [the] boy-elected SPL, John Dooley.  They all retreated back down the road, and when Jim Hosier (in charge of the whole program) blew the “Kudu Horn”, they all came back up to the “Brownsea Field”, where the ceremony was to be held.  First, though, they came back up singing “EEN-GON-YAMA, and the like. 


 First, Mike Walton gave a little talk, then, we commenced with distributing the Leadership crest patches, and then, Walton gave out the wolf teeth necklaces (I had these on a stick). 

 Finally, well, they closed, and SPL Dooley dismissed the patrols.  Walton was rather touched by the whole affair.  Nevertheless, afterwards, I had Mike Walton and Tommy Thomeson sign my scout stave.  At which point, I prepared to leave with Mr. DiClemente who came for [his son] Andy and myself.

 Well, we arrived home around 4:30 pm.




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