By Alex Derr
This past weekend in southeastern South Dakota, nearly two-hundred Arrowmen gathered for the C-1A Section Conclave this past weekend! From the 11th-13th, they joined together for training, fellowship, and the election of their new 2016 Section Officers. I joined them as a visiting trainer, excited to see what my sister Section across the Mississippi was up to!
For the leadership, Conclave really kicked off on Sunday evening, with a late night Council of Chiefs meeting to finalize details for the weekend. With our training plan ready and new friends already made, we head off to bed.
The weekend took place at Lewis & Clark Scout Camp, located near Yankton, South Dakota and home of Tetonwana Lodge. It borders the northern bank of the Missouri River, just a few miles from a known camping location of the Lewis and Clark expedition two-hundred years ago! With it’s dining hall and parade grounds located 250 feet above the waters of the river, it offers a stunning view of the river and the surrounding hills, cliffs and forests. To get from the hall to most campsites and program areas, scouts had two options: the “People Mover”, a tractor hay-ride shuttle moving up and down the switch back road… or two hills, well named “Cardiac Hill” and “Hernia Hill”. Both ran nearly 150 feet start to bottom, a suitable climb for even an avid hiker.
After a day of training such as history and ceremonies, afternoon obstacle course, rifle and a pow wow, the whole camp gathered for flags before heading into dinner. The flag is perhaps the most defining element of the camp, visible high upon the bluff, and seen from both the front entrance of camp and the aquatics area by the water’s edge. The flag needed nine staff to fold successfully, signaling the time for dinner and evening activities had come.
With guest speaker Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels, the Conclave convened in the waterfront fire bowl for the evening program. Lieut. Governor Michels, a brotherhood Arrowman himself, spoke about the Order and his time as a scout. In fact, he held his ordeal just a mile or so from the location where he spoke. He talked about the Order’s role in his life, providing mentorship after his father left home, and of the importance of service above all else in his lives. The youth then gathered to elect their leaders for the 2016 year: Chief Seth Murray, Vice Chief Sam Gentle, and Secretary Ty Milner.
We celebrated together with a brotherhood bash back at the Dining Hall, featuring root beer floats and fellowship. After a bit of stargazing with friends in the field behind our cabin, we fell asleep fast after a long day, with memories of Cardiac Hill swimming through our dreams. In the morning we thanked our leadership of the past year, as well as the Advisers who help make it happened, and held a COC to start the very beginning of Conclave 2016 planning!