The last week of June, 1980, Troop One went to summer camp at Camp Perkins of the Northwest Texas Council, which is located about fourteen miles north of Wichita Falls, Texas.
The troop consisted of forty-seven scouts and five adult leaders. We camped at our usual Thunderbird Roost Campsite under the leadership of Scoutmaster Jim Hughes.
The unusual thing about this camp was the weather. It was HOT and DRY. This is not unusual for this time of year, but the temperature was unusually hot. The weather reports forecasted temperatures all week long to be in the 110 degrees plus range.
We needed to prepare for these temperatures, specifically in the area of drinking water and being able to have COLD water. We had plenty of ten-gallon drinking water cans with spigots, and we had a water line faucet adjacent to the campsite. Our main concern was ice for the drinking water cans for just our troop. The camp could not furnish or sell ice because they didn’t have an ice machine.
Our troop dads came forward and offered to deliver ice to our campsite every morning and evening. So, every morning at 7:30 am, a different pickup truck and driver would arrive with 500 pounds of block ice to be broken up and added to those water cans. Likewise, every evening at 4:30 pm still a different pickup and driver would deliver 500 pounds of block ice for the water cans.
Another procedure we required was rest. We required everyone to be in their tent, laying on their cot from 1:00 pm until 2:00 pm when classes began. Most of the scouts wore only a pair of shorts; this kept them cooler and in the shade.
We were not aware of the actual temperature until one of the dads told us that a record had been set. It seems that June 28, 1980 was the hottest day on record in Wichita Falls with a temperature of 117 degrees. That record remains today. Every day of that week while we were in camp, the temperature was at least 115 degrees.
We couldn’t have survived the week without the help of all those pickups and drivers bringing us the ice that was so desperately needed. It allowed us to have a productive and successful week of camp.