For preparation I decided that I would extend the learning experience one step further and teach them how to make their own "hobo" campfire pots. First I had to develop the idea so I came up with a nifty handmade pot using one quart metal orange juice cans that were discarded from breakfast. These turned out just great but I'll explain in detail how we made them in part 2 of this post in a day or two because that's another story worth carrying it's own weight.
Yes, today would be the ultimate challenge and after raining all night long my own spirits for success was dampened a bit but the kids love building a fire so I wasn't down for long. For some reason a campfire can captivate their complete attention and focus in a kid like no other activity can accomplish. All hands are busy and the contest was on!
They had placed their tender just right inside the starter wood in such a way that the fire could "breathe" then so patiently pampered it by adding more fuel wood, but not too fast. In addition the teams also had to figure out a way to hold their pot of water over the fire and some pretty inventive methods were devised. They were brilliant and even on this wet and cold snowy day their fires began blazing one by one until the first pot of water reached 220 degrees Fahrenheit and we had a winner.
Even though we had a winner there wasn't a single whining voice from anyone. The winning team let out a cheer of victory but all the other boys continued working on their fires until every team had boiling water. I was amazed at their determination and no one left until every pot had boiling water. A healthy dose of competition provided the motivation but when you see every losing team continue until they had boiling water made my day. Yes, they now have a new well-honed wilderness skill but even more gratifying to me as a teacher was the success seen through patience, team work, and technique.These kids have great potential.