Lastly, certificates were handed out, accolades were given, and then came one of the coolest parts of the weekend. The Camp First Officer, a Trailman who had been on this campout several times over the past five years, who had earned Rifleman last year by shooting over 210 points in the Appleseed Qualification Test, was offered a position as an Appleseed Instructor and accepted! That was pretty incredible to watch!
The Appleseed instructors were knowledgeable, personable, firm, extremely focused on safety, kind, organized, and very generous, especially considering that they were all volunteering their time. When Trailmen had issues with their own rifles, many of the instructors pulled out their very nice, personal rifles and loaned them to Trailmen without hesitation. They taught with heart, giving the Trailmen everything they had. I was genuinely impressed by the instructors and the Appleseed program and methods. If any of you happen to read this, thank you so much for all you gave my son, and the other Trailmen from our Troop! You guys seriously rocked it!
As far as a Multi-Troop event, it was well organized, run extremely well, and was a great example to our Troop of what can be done by pulling together the resources and knowledge of several Troops. Troopmaster Eric Inman did a phenomenal job of setting it up, communicating with other Troops, letting us know what to expect, running the show, and asking for constructive feedback afterwards. At the end of the event, I quietly awarded him one of my personal Challenge Coins for his outstanding work in putting this together. He is the first person outside of our Troop that I’ve given one to. I did not give that to him lightly - he deserved that and so much more. If you see this post, sir, thank you very much for your efforts on behalf of the Trailmen in North Texas, and specifically Troop 98. We are in your debt, and exceedingly thankful for your hard work!
Throughout the weekend, the Trailmen from Troop 98 kept talking about how much fun it was and how much they’d love to return. Anytime I asked about enjoyment levels while at the range, there was an abundance of enthusiasm. My son spent hours telling his mom about the weekend when we arrived home, and then every Thanksgiving gathering the following week involved substantial talk of the weekend, along with showing off his targets.
We did have a first year Navigator and a second year Navigator along on this trip who expressed that it was a bit overwhelming to them. They had a lot of fun and seemed as though they were glad they went, but neither is as anxious to return as the others. I think it was just a bit much for their age and maturity level. Neither has had an opportunity to attend many monthly campouts yet, so this was a bit more difficult for them. If our Youth PLC votes to return next year, I’ll likely suggest that we limit attendance to at least 7th graders and up, possibly even 8th or only Adventurers. That will need to be a discussion amongst our leaders and parents.
The Trailmen of Troop 98 who attended, including us old guys, were incredibly blessed to have been part of it!
In closing, I’d say that If you ever have the opportunity to attend an Appleseed event, I highly recommend you do so! You won’t regret it!
Thank you for reading and “Walk Worthy!”
December 12th Edit to add: My son informed a few days back that in their most recent PLC Meeting, the Trailmen leaders discussed looking into the possibility of doing a one-day Appleseed training day for their next Adventurers only non-camping outing. They really loved learning to shoot the Appleseed way!