This year, Troop 234 hosted the Spring Camporee at Camp Hugh Taylor Birch. This year, the event had a spy theme, and all of the events taught scouting skills while guiding patrols through a mission: to defuse a bomb at a secret location in camp.
To obtain the first clue about the code to defuse the bomb, patrols had to demonstrate their skills with rifles at the range. After getting a sufficient score, they were given a map that led to one of the characters in the code.
The map to the next clue was in the middle of enemy territory. However, as the patrols went to get it, they were captured by the enemy. To escape, they had to navigate an obstacle course blindfolded in an unbroken chain. However, one member of the patrol had not been captured, and was able to lead the chain and guide the other scouts. After escaping, the patrols were able to look at the map they had retrieved and locate the next clue.
After being pinned down in the wilderness by enemies, patrols had to build a fire to survive. However, they only had a cotton ball in petroleum jelly, a flint and steel, and a little bit of wood. In order to build the fire high enough for it to be useful, they had to scavenge for wood. After dealing with the more pressing matter of survival, the patrols were able to follow the map they had found to obtain one of the last clues.
The next clue was in an enemy building. To try and obtain it, patrols went into the building one by one. However, the building was booby-trapped, and anyone who set off the trap was captured, but not before they could relay a message about what was inside to their friends. After solving the puzzle of the trap, patrols had one more clue to find.
Recovery mission in the snake pit
The last clue had already been recovered by a fellow spy when she lost it by falling into a pit of poisonous snakes. Thankfully, the information was preserved in its crate. When the patrols arrived, yet another secret agent had brought along a grappling hook, but the attached rope was too short to reach the crate. However, the agent had brought along some more, thicker rope. After obtaining the crate, patrols had all the information they needed to defuse the bomb, except for its location.
Obtaining the bomb’s location
Each patrol set up a rendezvous with an agent who knew someone who knew someone who knew the location of the bomb. However, in attempting to make the rendezvous, the patrols got caught along the trail by the enemy. In order to escape, they needed to solve several puzzles before meeting up with the agent, who had seen how clever they were. After solving one more puzzle, the patrols gained his trust, and he gave them a passphrase for the next agent, who would give them the location of another passphrase. Gaining the trust of the next agent came in the form of using a radio to triangulate the location. After locating and triangulating the code word, patrols had to send it to the next agent using semaphore, receiving another code word in the same way. After using morse code to send this new code word to the last agent, patrols were given the location of the bomb in morse code.
Defusing the bomb
Upon reaching the bomb, patrols had to use the alphanumeric characters that the clues contained to find the right code to defuse it. The very first patrol to defuse the bomb was our Tiger patrol here at Troop 85. However, to do this, they continued doing the activities well into the lunch break, earning the nickname of the “tryhards.” Amusingly, this nickname was used when, at the closing ceremony, it was announced that they had finished first.
That night, a Spy-O was hosted by the Miami valley orienteering club. The goal was to find and reach as many of the control points as possible, like a normal Night-O, but with a catch. One group had a “spy” card. If the “spy” group found another group, they could switch cards with them, making things harder. Also, at one of the control points, there was a riddle, and anyone who had the letters that made up the answer to that riddle would get bonus points for it.