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Stronger Than the Storm Vincent McAuliffe John stared at the impressive landscape in front of him. As far as he could see, there were tents of many different colors, covering the large fields of West Virginia. The large metal tower near the campsite, which read ‘2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree’ dominated the otherwise low landscape. Trees separated this campsite from the activity areas, which were a very long walk away. There was an odd feeling in the air, the kind one gets right before a storm. The air felt heavy and chilly, but there was not a cloud in sight. Nonetheless, John still wanted to go to activities today. As the Scoutmaster of Troop 325, it was his responsibility to keep the Scouts safe. Today, rather than staying at the campsite due to thunderstorm lockdowns, he wanted to go on the fabled ‘Leap of Faith’ that some of the Scouts were talking about. He was here for ten days, and he might as well experience every opportunity. He still hoped, however, that the thunder alarm would not go off today, as it had many days before that. The routine shutdown, with the annoying, robotic female voice and an excessively loud siren, was all but an inconvenience to them so far. About two hours later, John and a couple other Scoutmasters arrived at the event. John’s legs burned as he climbed flight after flight of stairs. He knew what was at the top, though, and was sweating in both exertion and nervousness. However, he was also genuinely excited to try out this activity, as it was one of the more hyped events at the campout. The Leap of Faith, as they had called it, was a four story drop from a wooden building. A harness would catch him at the bottom, but he still could not imagine a malfunction. He was still very anxious to try out the event, though.

Nonetheless, when he heard a loud horn sound followed by a droning female voice, he knew that his hopes were lost. There was only a small drizzle, and John was sure that it would not develop into anything. His opinion clearly did not matter, though, as he continued down the stairs to the entrance of the activity. He knew that he had to return to the campsite and supervise the children, so he left. However, he had an angry expression throughout the entire hike. The rain was beginning to pick up. However, the droplets still fell down like leaves from a tree; slowly and lazily. John’s clothes started to weigh down as they collected cold, wet rain droplets. He needed to get out of the rain. However, his boots slipped along the slick, muddy roads, and he knew that he could not move too fast without the risk of falling over. The expansive road ahead of him made him realize that he still had to trudge through another mile of mud. John noticed that the speed of the droplets continued to accelerate. As they splashed down and made puddles, he knew what was coming, and when it arrived, he wanted to be nowhere near here. One hour later, John spotted a large dining fly, which belonged to his campsite, from the distance, and he knew that he was getting close. Not many children had arrived yet, but John knew that they were obedient, and that they indeed would return. The rain became a very heavy shower, clearly much stronger than before. He yelled out to his troop to meet under the dining fly. The kids were grumpy, clearly annoyed to lose their time of relaxation. However, once they saw the scale of the storm, the Scouts rushed to cover under the fly. As soon as the last Scout got under the dining fly, a massive BOOM emanated from the distance, and the shower developed into a full on storm.

The rain was crashing down, furious at whatever it was attacking. Its wrath was tearing at our dining fly. John could tell that it was going to collapse if it took any more abuse. “Everyone, keep you heads down,” he screams. “Don’t touch the ground; the water can conduct lightning,” he adds. CRASH! It was getting closer. Water was streaming down like a waterfall on the sundered tent. “Ahh!”, someone screams as a gap in the dining fly tears open. Water crashes down, drenching someone’s backpack. BOOM! It was getting closer. They were not safe, but there was nowhere they could go. All of the children were ducked under the tables, hiding from the colossal storm. John could do nothing to protect the kids. For the first time in his life, he felt useless and powerless. He felt that if anything happened to any of these kids, it would be my fault. This caused a chill down my spine, and my body was drenched in both rain and sweat. What could he do? They were at the mercy of mother nature herself. Luckily, she was feeling generous today. The rain appeared to reside, and the thunder slowly got softer and softer. He was safe, no, they were safe. Troop 325 indeed was stronger than the storm.

Stronger than the storm