Origins: Latrine Contest

Like most things at Winter Camp. this contest started out as something simple and has now run completely amok. There are two sources for this event, both of which combined to create this interesting, exciting and (now) potentially lethal challenge.

One of the causes can be traced to Winter Camp I and Jef f Rand's claim that he had to take a bowel movement after each meal because of the amount of food we were eating. Despite the obvious waste of food, this mealy movement became a source of pride, and several other campers joined Jeff in taking their own mealy moves.

Jeff was, of course, indignant. All these upstarts horning in on his claim. Still, there was little he could do to disprove their claims (or even to prove his own).

Several years passed, and at Winter Camp V, someone suggested a latrine sitting contest. This event was to be a battle to see who could sit on the seat the longest. Needless to say, it went down to defeat rather handily..

Unfortunately, it struck a chord deep within Mr. Rand, and he brought it up in a new form at Winter Camp IX. His idea though was to log the usage of the latrine to see who spent how long on it how often and how much paper they used.

In this form, the event passed and became a tradition at camp. Of course, there were problems. The system ran on the honor method. with campers logging their elapsed times and toilet paper usage.

At Winter Camp XII, a plethora of Osvath lighting equipment served as the precursor to the modern arrangement. Mssrs. Rand and Wilson installed indicator lights which showed which of the three stalls in the Beaver Creek latrine were in use. In the following year Jeff set to work on the latrine and a way to eliminate cheating once and for all. He already had a program which used analog inputs from his computer's joystick to analyze Pinewood Derby races. He reasoned that he could write a new program to monitor the use of the latrine.

Working closely with Mr. Wilson, he developed a program to monitor the stalls and time them. His program also allowed for comments on the movement, and kept running totals or the time involved. Perhaps the finest achievement of the new system was the toilet paper dispenser. Designed and built exclusively for Winter Camp, the dispenser

provides paper at the touch of a button and feeds a signal back to the computer so the sheets can be tallied.

This new system was built and tested at Winter Camp XIII. Except for a few minor technical problems. it worked fine. Mr. Wilson has fabricated a second dispenser and is reputedly working on a coin operated dispenser for Winter Camp XIV.

Technical Specifications for this device are included in the appendix so that you can build your own monitor for personal use.


Technical specifications were never provided and still aren't. The contest fell into disfavor as the advisers began to fear the headline "Leaders Electronically Monitor Scouts in Bathroom". Also, with the old Beaver Creek latrine being demolished and the installation of flush toilets in a heated shower building, time spent using the bathroom is much less unpleasant (unless the Beast is in the next stall).

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