By Lillian Bowe
When Brandon Kelley of Portales Boy Scout Troop 18 arrived at the zombie-themed Boy Scout Council Camporee, he was not prepared for the task at hand.
While Kelley had no problem rescuing a person from a horde of zombies or finding a cure for the zombie virus, constructing a teepee was another story.
Kelley and other members of Portales Boy Scout Troop 18 including fellow scout Curtis Utley were assigned this mission the first day of the camp, which took place in May at Camp Jim Murray in Hobbs.
“I was the only one who could lift these logs, which were about the size of regular trees. It was a very frustrating thing to build,” Kelley said.
Kelley and Utley spent all of their morning putting three poles together in a teepee formation and tying them at the top. The cover of the teepee still needed to be put on after lunch, but Utley left to take a nap.
“After two hours of working on the teepee, (Utley) came back and asked how we were doing. We were almost done with the teepee and now he decided to show up? That is the reason we call him ‘Big Mama Sloth,’” said Kelley. Utley defended himself saying he had to nap.
One of the Camporee’s benefits is bringing the troops closer together and for two-year member Adam Sickles, he feels the troop has become cohesive now.
“We are a hilarious group. The humor is big with us. It wouldn’t be as fun with us being serious all the time,” Kelley said.
Troop 18 took 20 members to this camp where they learned many different skills on how to survive a zombie apocalypse, which could translate to surviving a natural disaster.
Troop leader Gary Riedel said they learned about solar energy and how it can be used when the electricity is out and how to use a ham radio when they need to contact other people.
Riedel said the troop also got to learn how to shoot a shotgun by a National Rifle Association instructor.
“He taught them all about the gun, how to shoot it safely, what stance they need to use when firing the weapon and many other tips. He was very knowledgeable,” Riedel said.
This camp was one of the troops highlights in the spring, but the troop has been participating in more events lately.
Utley and Kelley both agree that Troop 18 is at its best right now with more participation from all of its 24 members. Riedel said this is the largest the troop has ever been.
Riedel said the troop participation has also grown as they have been going to more camps recently.
“Everyone has been consistently coming to the meetings,” Riedel said.
Troop 18 has many more activities planned for the summer and for the rest of year and Riedel hopes more members will join.