By Ashton England
The Fort Osage overnight was a different experience than previous ones. I learned many things about the fort that I did not know. My favorite part would have to be playing the game in the dark where we had to sneak around the leader. It was also interesting to sleep in the same style quarters of soldiers back in the day. Overall, it was a fun overnight, with good food, good history lessons, and getting the true scouting experience.
By Dillon England
This overnight was definitely one of the best for me personally, right up there with visiting active military facilities and going to far off places. I’m very interested in history and I like to learn as much as I can when I have an opportunity such as this one. We did and saw much more than I thought we would on our historical site visit to Fort Osage.
We were given a tour around the fort the morning after we’d arrived. We’d already been introduced to the quarters, where we were allowed to sleep in the same style bunks that the actual soldiers did back in that time. We were shown the courtyard, the trading post, and even the living spaces of George Sibley. The trading post was a large building, with the floor for main business (trading of course), the basement, a level for crafts and tinkering, and private quarters. It was a very nicely constructed building.
The man playing the soldier at the fort showed us the firing for a rifle of that time. He took us down by the river to fire it off. Of course, it is illegal to fire actual projectiles across a body of water. He fired blanks, but all the same, we were intrigued by the firearm’s power and capacity to make such a loud boom. The shots echoed across the water, being heard multiple times from only one shot. If there was a conflict, you were going to know about it back then.
After dark, we played one of the most awesome games in the giant field near the fort. A leader sat atop of a large hill within the vicinity of a pole which was our target. The objective was to reach the pole without being hit by the beam of a flashlight held by the leader. If we were hit, we had to return all the way to the fort and try again. I think that without exception every single boy liked playing this game. It tested our skills not only to work together as a team no matter the size, but kept us actively having fun as well. It’s a game we’ll definitely have to try to recreate sometime.
In the daylight, we were able to see how a blacksmith would go about his work. We were given a couple of decorative hooks as tokens to take home. It was a very nice gesture, something for us to look at and remember the overnight. Another thing they let us do was throw spears.1 I’d most certainly never thrown a spear before, and I can almost bet none of the other boys had either. The men set up a target of wood for us to throw at. The boys enjoyed it very much. When it was my turn, (I went close to last), I don’t think anyone expected me to do well. I didn’t even expect to do well. However, to mine and everyone else’s surprise, I threw and stuck the target every time. The last time I threw, I went right through the bulls-eye and stuck the fort wall behind the target. It was definitely something I won’t forget anytime soon.
I believe that overnights like these are the gems of the scouting program. Having the opportunity to see and learn about things like this has the potential to teach and even inspire young scouts. Heck, I was captivated the entire time. I truly hope the troop gets to enjoy more overnights like this one.
1. We were very well supervised and the proper safety measures were taken. A range was established for us to safely throw spears.