October 15, 2022

Halloween Camp 2022

Halloween Camp is a really fun (and educational-ish) event put on by a local search & rescue team (I belong to Lapeer County SAR and K9 One is a team we work & train with frequently).  The first time Miss Pat invited me, 3 years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into!  At the end of the weekend, you are filthy, exhausted, hurting all over, but mentally happy.  It's one of those events!

This year was at Camp Lael / Skinner Lake Nature Center in Lapeer County, Michigan.
Both of these places are very familiar to me, I tested for both my SARTECH II & I certifications here and we do a lot of training here. 
Miss Pat had asked me if a couple of my skeletons could join in the fun.
Of course!
Then she asked if they had names and Hawaiian shirts?  
By the time she got them, they did!
I had training Thursday night, so I took the skeletons with me so my SAR director could take custody of them.  She lives close to the camp.
Her husband had been out of town, so when he came back - he asked the team what was going on, since she'd had skeletons AND a CPR mannequin riding around with her.

So... Saturday morning.
This is Todd - named after the cleaning guy at work since he wanted my grandkids to be named Toddley and Todderina. He had to make due with a skeleton instead.
Don The Ho singing about some Tiny Bubbles
Oooo, I see an obstacle course!
I choose my bunk according to the proximity of where I can plug my phone in. 
I roomed with a girl (and her dog) who works for a screenprinter.
She made all the banners & signs - including this awesome skull on our door. 
The view of Skinner Lake. 
Miss Pat fully expected (correctly) that I was going to bring Chuck. 

There were supposed to be 3 tribes but some people couldn't make it, so we had 2.
Notice the tribe name is "Rogir" - as in rigor mortis backwards.
The other tribes were Toggam & Taolb.
And because there is a snake on our badges, every time Purple Team or Rogir was called, we had to hiss or we'd loose points. 
The story of the weekend was - 6 kids were playing with a Ouija board and summoned a voodoo priestess.  They all ran.  More on that later.

We had to make amulets for our safety.  And wear them all weekend or we'd receive a death sticker. 
Miss Pat went around looking at everyone's amulet and she thought I was fighting off evil with the power of Love and went pretty deep into her imagination.
It's simply my last name. 

So our first challenge was a K9 obstacle course relay race. 
There were 8 people there and only 2 of us didn't have K9s.
So I got to take Chuck thru it - the other guy borrowed a dog.  
Step 1 was putting a dog bootie on one paw.
Blaze here was slightly dramatic.
Step 2 was circling a pile of hotdogs 3 times without the dog snagging any. 
Step 3 was walking across the 4x4 bridge. 
Not shown is step 5 - 4 tires up on end for the dogs to go thru / over
Step 6 - a kiddie pool with a couple inches of water & 2 tennis balls that the dog had to pick up.
Step 7 was another hula hoop that the dog had to sit/stand 3 times
Step 8 was a small jump. 
Chuck had no problems with the hot dogs!
There's banana in there, too since the Dalmatian is allergic to processed foods.
I just tossed him thru head-first
stand/sit was easy.  Getting the tennis balls out of the pool was not!

I wash Miss Pat posted the pics she took of the weekend, but she hasn't yet. 
The human obstacle course was hilarious - we had to ride a pool noodle horse over a variety of things. 

After the obstacle course, some of got to hide for the dogs to find us.
Fynn is a trailing dog.  He's on a leash and followed my specific scent.
I wiped a gauze pad on the back of my neck and put it in a baggie for a scent article. 
Ranger is an area search dog.  He's off leash, wears a cowbell and a GPS unit and runs loose until he catches the scent of a person.  He then runs back to his handler and indicates a find. 

We went down to the lake for another race of sorts.  One person from each team volunteered to go into the lake - luckily the both had waders since it was mostly sunny but only in the mid to upper 50s.  Anyhooo.  We had the one in the lake and 2 of us had to back and forth between her and a big bucket on the beach, filling it with lake water using beer pitchers.  Once we got the bucket filed, the lake person had to go out farther and grab a lobster cage and retrieve the fake lobster and bring it up to the bucket.  We had to set a table for dinner with a table cloth, & place setting, pour a glass of "wine" and light a candle - All while blindfolded! The 4th person had to guide us verbally.  Jessy & I figured out quick to hold onto each other with the beer pitchers - once I got close to the sore, I'd tell Heidi to talk to me and I'd follow her voice the rest of the way.   The camp had already pulled the floating docks in for the season so we had to maneuver around those, but we did pretty well.  No bruised shins and it was really fun!  

Everyone's favorite challenge is the building search. 
It's a scavenger hunt / relay race.  The room is full of smoke and strobe lights and each team can only use one red light.  We got a list with 8 items listed, then we went in, one at a time, to grab an item.  But we had to remember what was on the list and what still needed to be found since we couldn't duplicate any items. 
We got to go in afterward with the lights on so we could check it out.
Miss Pat's human helpers put a LOT of work into this. 
And what is a SAR event without "source"?
That's what the K9 handlers use to train HRD dogs to find human remains. 
There were also 2 jars of this in the room, so when the smoke cleared out some, handlers could bring their dogs in. 
Some of the dogs are early in their training, so it was more to see how they did. 
One puppy had his paws up on the counter - he found the jar, he knew he was supposed to indicate by sitting next to it - but he didn't know what to do in this situation yet!  So he tried to jump up on the counter.  It was seriously so cute!  Lots of treats & playtime for Bristol!  
Once we finished the building search (well after dark), we were told that we'd received word that the kids who were playing with the Ouija board were likely in the area so we had to quickly organize a search.  This was a drill of course - the 4 girls were volunteers from a local high school and were dropped off in the woods, prepared with blankets and snacks and fully charged phones.  We finished that around 11pm and went back to our camp for debriefing.  Miss Pat then had 3 more things for us to do - but nobody wanted to do middle of the night land navigation or a fear-factor type food challenge.  So we played Jeopardy with topics like incident command, first aid, maps, who said that - horror edition and such. 

We finally got to head to bed around 1:30am
Look at that view!  
Sunday we got up and had to leave the camp by 8am and not return until 10am, so we went to have breakfast.  When we got back, it was a more organized drill, figuring out sectors and pairing up dogs, handlers & support people to go look for 2 boys that had been part of the original 6 kids and also the voodoo priestess ghost.  

That went until about 1:30pm when we found a live girl (somehow the 2 boys turned into 1 girl) and the "ghost" that was a stuffed dummy that had "source" in it.  We had lunch & debriefing and then anyone who wanted to go back to a location to search for whatever could.  The K9 nose is such an incredible tool!  
I finally left around 5 because I had an hour drive home.  It's a good thing we'd sat there at breakfast and exchanged phone numbers, since I was about 20 minutes down the road when my roomie called and asked if I had an orange helmet?  She knew it was mine - besides my name being on the back, I was the only person there wearing orange and my team protocol is to wear a helmet when training or searching.  Noone else lives down in my area so I had to turn around to go get it.   

Never has a hot shower felt as good as after a weekend like this!

There was a small casualty.  
I noticed Sunday morning that Todd's head was at a weird angle. Sometime between Saturday night's building search where he was fine - and Sunday morning.... his neck was broken.  It was probably the voodoo priestess.   
But then when I was putting him & Do the Ho into my car, I leaned over to buckle Don in and heard a snap.  Todd's head broke the rest of the way off.  

Can't wait to go again next year!

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