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Mormon Ghost Stories

Scout Camp

Cover Image for Scout Camp
Moroni's Ghost
By: Moroni's Ghost

“In this world where some misguided men and women strive to tear down and destroy great movements such as Scouting, I am pleased to stand firm for an organization that teaches duty to God and country, that embraces the Scout Law. Yes, an organization whose motto is “Be prepared” and whose slogan is “Do a good turn daily.”

"The Aaronic Priesthood prepares boys for manhood and the weightier duties of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Scouting helps our boys to walk uprightly the priesthood path to exaltation.”

Thomas S. Monson, The Upward Reach, General Conference, October 1993

Greg drove up the dirt road kicking up a trail of dust behind him into the morning air. He had his windows down as the cool mountain breeze slicked his hair down to the top of his head. The smell of fresh pine trees filled his nostrils as his CD player skipped every 20 seconds due to his car jolting against the uneven path. He looked over at his best friend Joey who was bobbing up and down while singing along to the music. He was off key and couldn’t keep a beat to save his life, but he was clearly having the time of his life. He reached forward to turn down the music a quarter turn.

“This is the week Joey.” Greg yelled over the sound of the wind coming through the car windows. “This is the week I make my move with Whitney.”

“You say that every week man! I’ll believe it when I see it.” Joey said back, before jumping back into the song.

“No, I’m really doing it this time. I know I chickened out last week, but this is the week… I’ll do you one better than this week, I’m going to make my move today…. I’m gonna ask her to go down to the lake with me after sunset.”

Joey paused his singing again to reply. “If it’ll make you happy, go for it bud. I’ve just heard Whitney can be kind of a heartbreaker is all. So if you want to make your move, do it.” He resumed his singing for a few seconds before adding in “Just pray that none of the pipsqueaks interrupt you.”

“She doesn’t seem like a heartbreaker to me,” Greg said. “And no way it’ll be worse than those kids last week. That was the worst group I’ve had all summer.”

“I don’t know how you put up with them. I told you, you should’ve signed up for the kitchen with me.”

“And miss the chance to see Whitney? No way!”

It was a miracle that Whitney was at the camp at all. They’d been having a hard time finding horseback riding instructors for the horseback riding merit badge this year. Brother Young who had been teaching the last several years had had surgery at the beginning of the summer. But Whitney had been riding horses since she could walk. So they’d made an exception and let her teach the merit badge to all the scouts coming through. As soon as Greg had heard, he had signed up to do the archery merit badge. It was pretty easy work. Tell the kids to point and shoot, then hope they didn’t kill each other. But the archery range was right next to the stable. He got to spend time with Whitney whenever they both had a break, and they frequently walked to the mess hall together.

They’d been flirting all summer, but there were only a few weeks of camp left. After that she was leaving to go to college and Greg was going to be staying home and working for the next year until he could go on his mission. He wanted Whitney to write to him, but he needed to seal the deal with her before she went to school. He didn’t relish the thought of being long distance, but Whitney was worth it.

He came around the last bend in the road and drove underneath the wooden welcome sign. The words “Camp Crawdad” had been burned into a large slab of wood and strung between two massive trees. He parked the car then he and Joey unloaded their things. They set up their campsite quickly, they’d had a lot of practice all summer, then got to work getting everything ready for when the campers arrived.


The first morning of camp was always pretty easy. The scouts all had to set up their camps, be shown where everything was and be taken through the camp orientation ceremony. Joey was back at the kitchen already getting lunch ready, but all the merit badge counselors had to help keep an eye on the ocean of 12 year olds throughout the beginning of the day. Greg caught sight of Whitney across the way as they listened to the camp director go through his standard speech. They shared a small wave but then she turned to keep listening. Greg spent his time daydreaming about the moonlight walk he had planned. He’d kissed a few girls before, but… they weren’t Whitney. He had to make sure this was perfect.

He jolted as everyone around him started moving towards the mess hall for lunch. His schedule showed that he would be with the scouts from the Montgomery Ward this afternoon, so he looked for their troop flag to follow them to the mess hall. He had discovered that the archery lessons went much better if he took a bit of time to chat with the boys beforehand. So he always made a point of trying to find the group he was going to be with next and sitting with them at meal time.

He spotted a bright purple flag with a halfhearted looking gray wolf emblazoned on it. The words above the wolf read “Montgomery Troop 596.” He slowly worked his way towards the flag as he followed the sea of scouts towards the mess hall. He caught up to them just as they reached the building, so he hopped in line right behind the last scout in their troop. One of their leaders was taking up the back of the line and was chatting with the shortest boy in the group who had been given the honor of being the caboose of his troop.

“When are we going to the archery range?” The boy asked his leader. He had sandy blonde hair and was larger around the midsection than most the other boys as well. Though his height may have been to blame for that.

“We have it first thing after lunch.” his leader said.

Greg saw his opening and jumped into the conversation “Oh are you the Montgomery troop? I’ll be teaching the Archery merit badge course this week. Excited to have you down at the range with me.” Greg beamed at the young boy as he said it. The more excited he could get the boys, the more focused they would be.

“How sharp are the arrows?” The boy asked.

“Well, sharp enough to go into the targets we have set up. I sure wouldn’t want to be hit by one.” Greg chuckled. “But they aren’t the sharpest things in the world either. I wouldn’t be too worried about cutting yourself or anything.”

“Oh” the boy looked disappointed. “I was hoping they were super sharp. I’m most excited for archery and wood carving. I love sharp things!”

“You sure do Travis.” his leader said as he patted Travis’ shoulder, ushering him to move forward as the line had progressed while they had been talking. He leaned back and whispered to Greg. “Keep an eye on him with those arrows, he likes sharp things a little too much.”

“Duly noted.” Greg said as he moved forward and grabbed a tray for his lunch.


“Alright scouts!” Greg yelled as the Montgomery troop stood at attention in front of him. “The first rule of the archery range is that we always point our bows down range. If I see you pointing your bow anywhere except down range, you will lose your archery privileges for the day. Is that clear?”

“Yes sir!” the scouts said in unison.

“Now,” Greg continued “in order to get your merit badges you will have to not only know how to use your bow and arrow, you will need to be able to describe various details about their safe operation and maintenance, along with demonstrating a basic knowledge of archery's main principles. But we have the entire week to work on these things all together and I know you are all excited to shoot a few rounds. So I will first demonstrate the proper way to shoot down range. I will then give you 15 minutes to practice. We will then go through some of the written parts of the merit badge. If you are able to do this quickly, we can have a little more time to shoot at the end. Does that sound good to all of you?”

“Yes sir!” the scouts echoed once again.

Greg proceeded to demonstrate all the basic techniques of shooting the bow and arrow. He’d found that letting them shoot first with the promise of shooting again later made them pay much better attention to the boring middle parts.

He got the scouts squared away with their bows and arrows and then just had to sit back and watch as they practiced. As he did so, he noticed Whitney coming over in the corner of his eye. He turned to greet her.

“Hey! No riders this afternoon?” Greg asked.

“No, apparently the troop that was supposed to be here had car troubles and won’t be getting in till a little later tonight. Mind if I come hang out with you?” She smiled at Greg as she took a seat on one of the metal chairs they had set up. She reached her hands through her long blonde hair, pushing it back over her shoulders.

“No, not at all.” Greg said. He then lowered his voice so the leaders and scouts wouldn’t be able to hear. “I was actually wanting to ask you, do you want to go on a walk around the lake tonight? Just the two of us?”

“That sounds great.” Whitney said. “Maybe we can even go for a late night dip.”

Greg’s heart started pounding in his chest faster than he expected it to. He had just planned on trying to kiss Whitney tonight. But a late night swim sounded even better. They had gone on a couple walks before, but he had been far too nervous to try anything before. He’d been working up the nerve all summer long.

“That sounds like fun.” He finally stammered out. “I’ll meet you there after lights out?”

Whitney smiled at him and nodded. Their eyes locked for a few seconds when Greg saw that the boys were going out to collect their arrows as they had worked their way through their reserves. He turned back around.

“Ok, remember as everyone is down range, all bows must be set down, not in our hands…” as he said it, he noticed that Travis, the boy from the mess hall line, had his bow pulled back with one last arrow notched to the string.

“Woah there Travis! Please set your bow down! We don’t want to hit anyone out there.”

As the final words left his mouth, Travis let the arrow fly out of the bow. The arrow sailed past the other scouts, barely missing a tall red headed scout.

“What are you thinking!?!” Greg demanded as he rushed over and snatched the bow out of Travis’ hands. The other two leaders, who had been chatting with each other and clearly not paying attention stepped up to intervene as well.

“Travis, why did you shoot that arrow right at Chris?” one leader asked.

“He kept giving me slug bugs as we drove up this morning.” Travis shrugged. “I wanted to get back at him. He moved at the last second though.” He sounded disappointed then looked at me “But you are right, these arrows aren’t very sharp.”

“You’ve just lost your archery privileges for the day.” Greg said, “And very likely the whole week. I’m going to have to tell the camp director about this.”

Travis seemed unfazed by the news.

Greg turned and addressed the rest of the boys. “Gather up all the arrows and come back over here. Travis has just ruined your chances of shooting any more arrows today. We are going to go over merit badge requirements now.”


The rest of the night went smoothly enough. Greg cleaned up the archery range with Whitney’s help as they talked about their weekends. She’d gone to a concert with her friends on Sunday. Greg thought about Joey’s warning. He did worry if she felt ok going out to concerts on Sundays. But Whitney was just so cool to be around. So he brushed the worries aside.

They walked to the mess hall to have dinner then went to the main camp area for the nightly closing ceremonies. He got back to his tent where he would have to wait out the next 45 minutes until lights out. Then he could sneak away. Joey was waiting inside.

“How was your day?" he said as he shuffled some playing cards in his hands. They passed the time playing card games at night as there wasn’t much else to do.

“Oh it was good. Had a kid almost kill his friend today.” Greg said, “and Whitney, uh, wants to go swimming with me tonight.” Greg blushed as he said it.

“Woah woah woah.” Joey said. “That’s big news! Clothes on? Or clothes off?” He grinned and laughed as he said it.

“Oh, erm… I didn’t clarify…” Greg said. “I guess I’ll follow her lead?” He blushed a deeper shade of red. He didn’t know what he would do if Whitney had meant skinny dipping. But the thought of it was not unpleasant.

“Well mister lover boy.” Joey said, “I hope it's exactly what you dream it’ll be. Want to play a few rounds before you go?” He shuffled the cards in his hand.

“Yeah, deal me in.” Greg replied.


Greg’s hands were sweaty as he walked down the dark path to the beach that surrounded the lake. This walk felt different than the ones before. This would be the walk where he would show Whitney how he really felt. He just hoped she would feel the same way.

She was already there waiting for him when he arrived at their usual waiting spot. She greeted him with a warm smile and then gave him a hug that she let linger. They walked around the lake for a while, chatting about life and about how camp had been. She told him about her family and her plans for college. He told her about how he’d be working for his dad for the next 9 months until he left on his mission. Eventually they wound back up near to where they had originally met up.

“I’m glad you asked me to come out here with you tonight.” She said, “I really have loved seeing you all summer.”

“Me too.” Greg said. “It's been the best summer I’ve had in a long time.”

“Even having to deal with 12 year olds every day?” She teased.

“It's worth it if I get to be with you.” Greg reached out and grabbed Whitney’s hand. She held it tightly then reached for his other hand. He pulled her closer, back into a hug. He then leaned his head back and turned to kiss her. She kissed him back. The warmth of her lips sent shivers down his spine as his heart rate picked up again. She pulled back from him.

“I’ve been waiting weeks for you to do that.” She said, “How many hints does a girl have to drop?”

“I just, I uh… I really like you.” Greg managed to fumble the words out of his mouth. “So I was nervous.”

“Well, maybe I can help you not be so nervous…” she pushed him away, then lifted up her shirt, revealing the bra she was wearing underneath. “Do you still want to go swimming?” She said as she started to reach back to unhook her bra.

Suddenly, an arrow whizzed past both their heads, right where they had been standing just a few seconds before.

Whitney screamed as they both turned to look and see where the arrow had come from. Greg pulled Whitney down just in time as another arrow flew above them.

“Is.. is someone shooting at us?” Greg asked.

“We’ve got to get out of here.” Whitney said. She reached out and grabbed Greg’s hand. “There’s that other path down at the other side of the beach. Let’s make a break for it.” Together they started sprinting along the beach. Whitney was clearly in much better shape than Greg as she dragged him along, urging him forward. They heard as another arrow fell a few feet behind them.

Once they made it past the edge of the beach they had more tree cover protecting them.

“Let’s tell the camp director.” Whitney said.

“Dressed like this?” Greg gestured at her half clothed body.

“I don’t care how I’m dressed.” She snapped, “someone just tried to kill us.”

They ran over to the small building where the camp director lived. It was just a few hundred yards from the mess hall. Greg reached up and knocked on the door. It swung right open as the latch had not been set. He dug his flashlight out from his pocket and shined the light into the small room.

Sitting in the chair was the camp director. An arrow was protruding from his heart.

“Oh my God.” Whitney exclaimed. “Oh my God, what are we going to do?”

Greg was panicking now too.

“The mess hall!” he finally said. “They have that phone in the mess hall. Let’s go call the police.”

They grabbed each other's hands as they sprinted from the camp director’s home to the mess hall. They heard another arrow clatter against the wall behind them as they ran. Whoever was shooting at them had managed to follow them. They rounded the corner of the building and entered in from the south side.

Once they got inside, they flipped on the lights. As they flickered on, they saw that more bodies were strewn around the room.

Greg felt sick to his stomach. One of the scout masters from the Montgomery ward was laying with his face down on one of the mess hall tables.

“You call.” Greg said “I’ll keep lookout.”

They ran past the bodies to the center of the room where the phone stood. Whitney picked up the line and started dialing.

As she did so, Travis walked in through the north entrance with a bow and arrow drawn. Before he could see them, Greg pulled Whitney down and the phone clattered to the ground. They ducked down behind one of the mess hall tables.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” Travis said as he slowly started walking towards the phone “I can’t hurt you, my arrows aren’t that sharp.”

“Is that the kid who tried to shoot his friend?” Whitney asked. Greg nodded in reply. He noticed one of the bodies nearby had a pocket knife. He reached over quietly to grab it as they heard Travis’ footsteps draw closer.

“I need your help.” Travis said. “I want to get my archery merit badge. I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to get out of here too.”

Greg handed the pocket knife to Whitney. “I’ll distract him, you swoop in and grab him from behind.” She nodded.

Greg burst out from the table and started running towards the door. Travis turned to follow him, but didn’t pull back his bow. As he turned around, Whitney jumped out and put him in a headlock. He dropped the bow and let it clatter to the ground.

“No wait!” Travis screamed. “I need that bow! He’s killing everyone!”

As the words left his mouth, an arrow flew from the south side of the building. It went straight through Travis and into Whitney. They both collapsed to the ground.

Greg turned to see where the arrow had come from. There stood Joey, bow drawn with another arrow already loaded.

“I told you she would break your heart…. I couldn’t let her do it… You were going to let her break your heart…” he started to sob. “She was… she was going to steal you away from me!” He yelled.

“No… Joey… buddy… we… we are best friends.”

“Not anymore… not after what you’ve seen. You were supposed to not see any of this! God, I’m so stupid stupid stupid!”

“Buddy, I… I’ll forget it… all of it… I’ll just forget all of it ok?”

“No… you won’t.” Joey said, as he let the arrow fly.

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