Assistant Cubmaster of Pack 395 Eric Loos of Carthage didn't quite know what he was getting into when he was asked to make a tepee for the Cub Scout Twilight Camp. Neither did his mother, Linda Loos.
Nearly 200 Cub Scouts met at Camp Michaels in Union this week to "Go West."
The Western-themed camp experience included learning history about Native Americans, along with the stories and activities relating to the mountain men and women who traveled through the ruggedness and stark grandeur of the West. Preparations for the camp started in March when Kathy McGill, chairwoman for Pack 395, introduced the idea of making a tipi.
Loos surfed the Internet to find a book about making an authentic tipi styled after those used by the Sioux Nation. He ordered the book, "Indian Tipi," and began making plans to build the structure. He needed someone to sew the fabric. He immediately thought of his mother, Linda, who is a retired professional seamstress. Hoping she would agree to the task, Loos gave his 79-year-old mother a box of chocolates to sweeten the request. Making a tipi was quite different from the wedding dresses and apparel she was accustomed to creating. She was glad to help, she said. Bolts of canvas were ordered.
The tipi needed a center pole. With permission, Loos chopped down the straightest and tallest red cedar tree he could find. It was 25 feet high. He cut away every branch and skinned the bark. He asked leaders from the six Dens encompassing Pack 395 to help sand the pole to a smooth plane. Loos' wife, Barb, helped whittle the branches into lacing pins that held the tipi's covering together.
Linda Loos prayed that her 20-year-old Pafaff sewing machine would hold up while she sewed yards and yards of canvas. The first strip of fabric was 38 feet long, she said. The tipi was to be 19½ feet in diameter and run 19 feet high.
"I thought the work would never end, but it was worth it. The canvas was heavy enough, alone. I can't imagine how the Native Americans used buffalo hide," Eric Loos said.
"They (Native Americans) utilized everything. They didn't waste anything," Linda Loos said.