Mentorship by: Pent Ghelsburg
Disclaimer: All characters in this story are fictional. They are not my own and used with respect and permission from their owners. This story contains underaged characters but is entirely clean. If this is not your thing, then you have been warned.
The great camp out, a time in which many scouts look forward to. A time of freedom and fun for many boys and girls. While some kids relished in the being away from their parents, the younger groups often found themselves trying to cope with being basically alone for the first time in their lives. The adult chaperones of the groups knew this and so to alleviate some trauma from the younger kids, they assigned older kids to look over the younger ones.
The camp out had been planned in an island settled between upper New York and lower Ontario. The American section of scouts had decided in an excursion of sorta to meet up with the Canadian branch. It was to be a joint exercise to be shared on Wolfe Island. There were plenty of sites to be used. The chairs decided that the northern portion of the island would be dedicated to the boys and the southern part of the island would be dedicated to the girls.
Both groups even further divided themselves up as they had hundreds of campers who had signed up for the week of activity that was planned. It was supposed to be a culmination of the year with many trials set up in order to challenge the scouts. The idea was to have the kids compete against each other in an effort to win badges. The troop with the most badge count at the end would win a prize that the cub masters would decide with their group. Essentially it was a gift card of sorts since it was hard to pin down what anyone group wanted specifically.
The boy scouts decided to make it even more interesting that they would pin the “furry boys” against the human ones. Scouts Canada Troop 516 was the troop designated as the furry squad and had a wide variety of cubs varying from the youngest at 8 to the eldest at 14. It was quite a wide range of ages for the group and one of the largest in numbers. The group was also one of the closest since many of them went to school together. Their American counterpart was Troop 197 with the same range of ages but not quite the same number of cubs in their ranks.
Once the two groups arrived at their campsite near Holiday's Bay. It had been partitioned for the week, like much of the island had in order to accommodate a large number of campers. It was rather frustrating especially for tourists who liked to frequent the island during the summer. However they would have no such luck this time, but soon it would return to normal. After the two troops joined together, the scoutmasters met in order to divvy up the boys. They wanted to make sure that they didn't stick within their comfort zone and wanted them to make new friends.
Campsite 11 was to be designated as Pent and Marcus. Pent was a 12-year-old arctic fox kit who had quickly risen to the ranks in his troop. Recognized as one of the top scouts, he was a quick study who wasn't always the most social of cubs. Despite the scoutmasters better intentions, Pent had only really made one good friend. Marcus was a 10-year-old mixed dog breed who was a new arrival to the American troop. However, they were both matched seeming as they both seemed to be rather insular in nature.
It was a gamble, but one both troops scoutmasters were willing to make. Pent was the first to arrive on site as he was the older and more experienced cub. Already decorated with many badges of his own, the fox kit was looking forward to another weekend of camping. Once inside the tent, he needed to make sure it was ready for his younger charge. He wanted to seem prepared and ready for any challenge.
So the fox busied himself in putting down sleeping bags once he had pitched his tent. All that was left was to build a fire later, but it was too early for that now. While waiting for his tent-mate the kit rifled through his duffle bag making sure he had enough clothing for the weekend. It wasn't long before Marcus arrived at the tent flap and showed himself in. The fox looked over at the dog, hesitating a moment before speaking.
“Hiya, my name's Pent what's yours?” Pent asked in order to be sociable.
“My name's Marcus.” The dog kept his answer short and sweet as he wasn't as secure in his surroundings.
Pent was a keen fox and able pick up on others uncertainties.
“Hehe don't worry. I'm here to help you. Just relax and we'll have a great week together. Alright?” Pent picked himself up, extending his paw to the other canine.
“O-okay...” Marcus took hold of the older cubs paw before Pent lightly shook it.
“Great. Now the scoutmaster should be calling us shortly so we can have our first challenge.” Pent said with a slight smile.
Marcus nodded not wanting to see like he was a scaredy-cat. In truth, he had no idea what the other boy was talking about. The younger cub had no badges to speak of and this was his first time experiencing something of this nature.
Sure enough before long, the scoutmaster did beckon to the troops. Outside the crowd of cubs was surreal. Marcus looked around, there had to be at least a hundred of them. The adults were definitely outnumbered, the dog thought to himself. Once they in the center of the area, the cubs gathered around in a mess of what was supposed to be a circle. In the middle of the circle were the two scoutmasters who were trying to settle everyone one down.
“Alright everyone here's the deal.” The American began to speak in a loud voice.
His Canadian counterpart gave him a megaphone so that they could be heard better.
“We are here for 5 days. During the 5 days, you will be tasked with challenges that will be posted on a notice board. It will be divided by age group and furthermore by type of activity. Each activity will have something tangible you need to obtain or show in order to prove you've done it. Each completed task will award your group a badge on top of a point for our combined troop forces. At the end of the 5-day competition, the points will be tallying and the troops with the most will be awarded a prize of their choosing up to a $100 value.” The scout master's speech ended on that note with a lot of chatter.
The Canadian fur continued building upon his colleague's words.
“The notice board will be located in each of the four corners of our campground. Additionally, we will be setting one up here once we dismiss you. To decrease the likelihood of too many cubs going to one board or another, we suggest using the following guidelines. If your troop number ends in 0 or 1, you will be waiting here. If 2 or 3 then you will go to the Northwest board, 4 or 5 the Southwest board, 6 or 7 the Northeast board, and 8 or 9 the Southeast board.”
Each time the man called out a cardinal direction he pointed in a general way so that the kids got the idea.
“You're dismissed. You may get started as soon as you like. The sooner the better though...” The American fur declared.
With that, the horde of male cubs made theirs to the respective side of the campgrounds they were assigned. While some messed up, the mass majority were able to follow directions. It was surprisingly an orderly affair, all things considered.
Pent took the younger boy to the Northeast part of the campground. Sure enough, there were more than enough other cubs around trying to find themselves a suitable challenge to take on. The fox kit waited his turn while the crowd of other boys thinned out. By the time the two got to the front, many of the other cubs had vacated the area. Looking over the board it seemed there was quite a wide variety of tasks.
After looking it over, Pent was a little disappointed there were no scientific challenges. The closest thing he could find was locating a rare moss. The kit settled on something a little less obscure, a first aid task. The instructions were clear: there was a dummy placed nearby. They had to locate it using clues of ripped clothing strewn about. Then once the dummy was found, the boys had to treat whatever injury was diagnosed on the mannequin. A small box with the letter “M” on it, the same label that was used on the description of the challenge.
After he had decided, the fox kit took his canine friend and guided him to a spot where they wouldn't be in the way. Pent spent a little bit of time explaining the activity. Marcus showed a little anxiety but the older boy tried to reassure him it was an exercise, and that no actual emergency had occurred. Once he seemed a little more certain about the ordeal, Pent figured it was time to make their way. Stopping by the crate, he fetched two first aid kits for each of the boys.
Now all that was left was to begin the search for clues as to the location of the dummy. Pent assumed that they wouldn't be hard to find but decided it might be best to let the younger cub try his skills out. The fox didn't question his own ability and thought this would be a way to increase Marcus' confidence.
“Alright, Marcus. You need to be on the lookout for scraps of clothing. They are going to lead up to the dummy.” Pent said guiding the younger further in the task.
Pent looked around to see if he could see any remnants of fabric lying about. The two began walking around in no particular direction.
Just when Pent thought it was strange there had been no hints yet, he discovered a scrap. But he waited to say something. He wanted to supplement his friend, so instead, he waited to see if Marcus could spot it. Pent was careful not to make it too obvious or the other cub might have caught on. After a few moments of making a roundabout of the area, the puppy finally realized it was present.
“Hey, look over there! Is that a clue?” Marcus' tail wagged happily behind him.
“Yup sure is.” Pent wasn't exactly the best at feigning surprise.
Luckily the younger boy wasn't keen enough to pick on and was too lost in the moment to care. The puppy bent over to pick it up. There was a small ketchup stain on it which was supposed to represent blood. It was a thoughtful idea to inject some realism to the challenge.
“Okay...there's gotta be more around. At least we're on the trail.” Pent said to keep his younger charge on track.
“Right, let's go!” Marcus seemed much more excited as he brushed his paw through the brim of his hat.
The two continued on the main path for a while but there were no other clues to be seen.
Pent assumed this meant that the clues had to be off the beaten trail. So they backtracked a little before heading into the foliage.
“Hey, look. Another one!” Marcus seemed to find one attached to a broken twig on a tree.
The fox didn't catch this one since he was looking on the ground. He was happy that the boy was having some success. At least they were on the right track, he thought.
They continued on their journey looking around for more clues. Occasionally they came across a few but no sign of the makeshift body was seen. After about 20 minutes of looking, they finally came across a clearing. In the middle of the clearing was the dummy, they had finally found it. Pent looked around suspecting some sort of watcher but saw nothing. Above one of the trees was a camera, the fox assumed this would be the method of verification for the task.
“Hey, there it is!” Marcus announced the find as he catapulted forward into the clearing.
The kit continued to let the younger boy have his moment. Pent examined the so-called body. Ketchup was splattered all around it, continuing the rather poor representation of plasma. But it was better than actually using the real thing. On the floor, the mannequin was hemorrhaging from two specific locations. One was on the leg and the other on the upper right breast. Some black scarring was drawn with a black marker as if to indicate some sort of an attack or collision. Pent pulled out the first aid package and handed one to his younger friend.
“Alright you're going to watch me bandage the upper body, then you're going to repeat on the lower portion.” Pent got down on his knees so that he was better able to access the mannequin.
Marcus followed watching in interest, twisting his hat around in reverse so it didn't get in his way. Pent knew what he was doing, he was a specialist in first aid and treating faux wounds was nothing for him. The fox put on gloves before taking some gause and cotton swaps, beginning first by removing some of the fake blood. Ketchup was quite easy to remove in comparison to the real thing, but Pent knew he had to play along with the little game. Once the spot was clean, the kit applied some ointment and applied a bandage to the spot before taping it up.
“Wow your pretty good at this. Have you done this before?” Marcus asked while he watched the older boy finish up.
“Yup, now it's your turn.” Pent pointed at the lower leg which was still a mess with ketchup and black markings.
The puppy began by trying to start wiping it off with his paw but was quickly stopped by Pent.
“You need to put on gloves first. Pretend or not, it's safer.” Pent handed the cub a pair of Nitrile medical gloves.
Marcus fiddled with them for a moment before finally managing to get them over his hands. Then he returned to what he was doing. Grabbing a small cotton wipe, which was hardly enough to tackle all of the faux blood on the spot.
“Here take this.” Pent handed him a much larger towel which was already damp from being pre-prepared for the set.
The younger boy took a hold of it and began wiping off the remaining ketchup. Now the scar marks were much more visible. Pent handed him some ointment before Marcus began to apply it. Afterward they wrapped the wounded limb in an elastic wrap with metal clips to keep it in place. It seemed like they were done.
“Alright great job. We saved him from a dummy death,” Pent tried to make a joke but fell short.
Still, he managed a small smirk from the younger boy. After picking themselves up and dusting off, they made their way back. The task had been completed and Pent felt rather satisfied that he had increased the puppy's confidence.
“I had fun today. Thanks for helping me.” Marcus said wagging his tail behind him.
“No problem, buddy.” Pent said with a smile on his snout.
“Do you want to be my friend?” The dog asked with a little hesitation, unsure if the older boy would accept.
“Sure, I don't see why not.” Pent didn't let in that the relationship might only last for the event.
The two returned to camp and were awarded a first aid badge. It was the third degree for Pent which meant he was almost a master in it.
The two's friendship flourished the weekend. Pent showed the boy a number of different skills that scouts needed to know in order to prosper in the organization. Despite Pent's premonition, their friendship would indeed last as they would exchange numbers. It seemed everything would work out in the long run. Perhaps they would meet again in the future...only time would tell.