The Dodge City Boy Scouts will hold their third annual soup supper and bake sale from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at the National Guard Armory.
Proceeds will go toward incentives for the young men and women serving on the summer camp staff at the Santa Fe Trail Council's Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch near Walsenburg, Colo.
"Every week we take a little time to recognize those campers and staff who have gone the extra mile and we like to give them a little bonus. They don't make a lot of money to begin with and the incentives help raise enthusiasm and help us retain staff for the next year," said Marge Blattner, long-time scout organizer.
Over the course of the summer camp schedule at Spanish Peaks, four week-long sessions for Boy Scouts and two half-week sessions for Cub Scouts will bring over a thousand scouts to the camp.
Campers from as far away as Texas, Mississippi and Michigan will spend the week learning traditional scouting skills such as leather and basket handicrafts, rocketry, pioneering arts like knots and lashes, nature activities like hiking and climbing, first aid and shooting sports like BB guns for the younger campers and black powder rifles and pistols for the older ones.
"Some of the units make the trek to the two Spanish Peaks — they're out from camp for four to seven days," Blattner said.
The camp is surrounded with plenty of nature: wildlife such as bears and raccoons and geological wonders such as the wall-like outcroppings that run through the area.
"There's only one other place in the world that has that type of outcropping," Blattner said.
And campers are quickly taught not to keep food or candy in their tents.
"But every once in awhile you see a raccoon scurrying off dragging a pair of pants by the pocket," Blattner said.
According to Blattner, the Spanish Peaks camp is categorized as "primitive," which is a plus for campers.
"Most of the units like to do their own patrol cooking at their camp site, but we do offer dining hall meal service now for up to 100 campers," Blattner said.
Weather can be a factor at the camp. The wind comes down off Spanish Peaks at a pretty good clip. "It sounds like a tornado sometimes," Blattner said.
Then there's the usual afternoon mountain rain shower.
"You kind of look forward to that daily shower to keep the dust down," Blattner said.
The camp is open from June 9 to July 21 and employs as many as 50 staff.
"We have a camp director, a program director and a first-aid director, plus all these great young staffers," Blattner said.
Page 2 of 2 - All the money raised at this weekend's fundraiser will be distributed to the staffers.
"Each week, on the last day of camp, the directors, the staff and the campers choose three staffers for recognition for a job well done. We break out the sparkling grape juice and toast their efforts and they receive a small extra cash incentive. For some of them, it's gas money to get home," Blattner said.
The fundraiser, which will feature a variety of soups and chili plus desserts, coffee and team is sponsored by starr Computer Solutions.
Tickets for the event are $5 for adults. Children six and under are free.