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Through the Viewfinder: Camping flames children’s wonderment

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Derrick Johnson, 10, roasts his marshmallow while Boy Scouts of America Natchez Trace District Executive for the Andrew Jackson Council Jim Hargon helps 6-year-old Travon Mayberry blow out the fire on his marshmallow March 29 during the cub scouts camporee at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Derrick Johnson, 10, roasts his marshmallow while Boy Scouts of America Natchez Trace District Executive for the Andrew Jackson Council Jim Hargon helps 6-year-old Travon Mayberry blow out the fire on his marshmallow March 29 during the cub scouts camporee at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.

NATCHEZ — An impatient Travon Mayberry, 6, plunged a metal stick pierced with a rounded puffed sugary treat straight into the bright yellow-orange campfire.

The once pure white marshmallow was engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds.

Mayberry’s eyes widened as he watched the fire from his marshmallow stretch toward the starry night sky above the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians March 29.

Mayberry, along with his fellow Cub Scout Troop 168 members, joined the other five Boy Scout troops in the year’s first camporee.

Thankfully, Mayberry had Jim Hargon nearby to help put out the fire. Hargon is the Boy Scouts of America Natchez Trace District Executive for the Andrew Jackson Council.

A quick blow from Hargon extinguished the flame, leaving behind a shiny, black exterior and gooey warm interior. Hargon worked to pull the marshmallow off of the stick without covering his hands in the stick residue.

“I don’t even like marshmallows,” Hargon said, joking to the 12 cub scouts gathered around the small campfire. “Now my hands are covered in this goop.”

Mayberry experienced his second time camping at this camporee, but roasted his first marshmallow over a fire.

“I liked staying up late to watch the Indians,” Mayberry said. “But eating the marshmallows was the best part.”

Around the campfire, Hargon helped the scouts roast their dessert, usually by blowing out the fire on the marshmallow.

“I love teaching the kids,” Hargon said. “It’s amazing how many have never been outside. The look on their face the first time they catch a fish or cook their dinner over a campfire; it’s priceless.”