The Troop’s January campout was Trapper’s Rendezvous near Newton Kansas with a record crowd this year of over 5,000 people. This is a great Scout event that many of the boys look forward to attending every year. It has a little bit of a bad reputation for some due mostly to the potential for cold. (there was a legendary year with ice and high of 6) I think my family has brought warm weather karma with us since for two years in a row there have been sunny skies and warm daytime temperatures.
Trappers is an encampment of old time mountain men and there are many period re -enactors walking the grounds to tell their story. They each handout a wooden coin after they tell you who they are and what made them famous. There are also displays and demonstrations of period skills such as blacksmithing and cooking.
The attraction for most of the boys is the trading. They are encouraged to bring items for trade and it is amazing the number as well as variety things you will see traded. There are many pocket knives of course but also, old toys, hats, animal furs, etc.
My son came home from this weekend with boxing gloves, a snuggie, an old army helmet , a bugle and a variety of other random items. The most unusual things I saw up for trade were a fairly new house window with frame and a dishwasher.
It was especially cool to see the boys learn negotiation skills as they haggled. Each successful transaction ended with a left-handed shake and a “good trade” comment.
This year an older Scout challenged himself by starting with only a rock off the ground to start the day. He ended with a really cool guitar and a couple of other things. Now that is some serious trading up!
Walking around the event and soaking it all in, I was once again thoughtful of just how cool it is to be involved in Scouting. Time hanging out with the Scouts, chatting with the adults, and meeting other Scouts are just priceless to me. I almost feel sad for kids that were home instead playing video games or hanging out at the mall.
These are certainly moments the Scouts will not fully appreciate now but in years to come will enjoy telling. “Remember the time I went to that event and traded a rock?”