Forget Paris in the springtime and Honolulu’s balmy breezes. Who needs those second-rate vacation destinations when you’ve got Oshkosh? Let’s face it: Wisconsin is the place to be when it’s time for camporee, even if you don’t eat cheese or follow the Green Bay Packers.
Now, it’s true that not every reader of this magazine attended the 2014 International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh. But the advice I provide here can be applied to any situation where you might happen to be standing in line with 47,000 other kids waiting to use a portable outhouse. So here are a few tips to help you get ready for the 2019 camporee.
First, about the the trip itself. Unless you have a driver’s license produced by Fake Jake’s Driver’s License Factory, it is unlikely that you will personally be piloting your group to the camporee. Still, you can help ensure that your club does not become a deadly highway statistic. Usually such a tragedy occurs when 15 passengers fasten their safety shoulder harnesses into the wrong buckle. This results in weeping and gnashing of teeth as passengers try desperately to gnaw through the straps in an attempt to breathe. The most serious outcome occurs when the person in the van’s back-row bench seat places his or her strap into the driver’s seat belt receptacle and pulls it tight. A nearby patrol car takes in the scene:
Police officer 1: Larry, did you see what I just saw?
Police officer 2: I sure did, Lou. The driver of that wildly-careening van had a purple face, and her eyeballs were popping out like hard-boiled eggs!
Police officer 1: Oh, I just remembered—the camporee is next weekend.
Police officer 2: Oh, that’s right. So did you decide? Are we going to the Donut Hut or Bennie’s Burger Barn?
Clearly, some things no longer faze police officers the way they used to.
Upon arriving at the camporee, one of the first sounds you will hear is the beating of drums. You may ask yourself, Are tribal wars about to break out? The answer is yes, although these tribes are more often called “clubs,” and the wars are referred to as “drill team competitions.” There is no need to take cover—just watch out for flying batons and drumsticks.
Here are a few other quick tips.
Showers. Take at least one, preferably long before the last day of the camporee. Yes, this will likely mean getting up shortly after midnight to claim your spot in line. But it’s either that or lose your inside-the-tent sleeping privileges because you are beginning to smell like a rancid head of cabbage.
Romance. While at camporee, some of you may spot someone of the opposite sex that you wish to call your own. Resist this urge. Mom and Dad will have serious issues with your Pathfinder leader’s apparent definition of “supervision” if they happen to come across your enagement announcement in the local paper. Now that I think about it, Mom and Dad won’t be all that pleased with you either.
Nighttime program manners. At approximately 6:30 each evening, massive herds of Pathfinders will head toward the evening program area. Once you have arrived, you’ll notice that a Pathfinder just took the last seat from which you could actually see the stage. You may suddenly harbor a strong desire to use a Taser on this individual and claim the now-disabled Pathfinder’s seat as your own.
Put your device away. Instead, recall Jesus’ shocking words regarding a similar situation: “Do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place.”*
So what if you need to settle for watching everything on a randomly-placed Jumbotron screen? Given Jesus’ counsel, tamp down your anger and enjoy the show.
That’s enough for now. Go out and start raising money for your trip. After all, 2019 will be here before you know it. That is, unless Jesus happens to come before then, in which case you will be taking an even longer trip.
*Luke 14:8, 9.