Posts Tagged ‘High Adventure’


The Boy Scouts of America needed a new place to hold the 2013 National Jamboree. Fort A.P. Hill, located in Virginia and the site of several previous Jamborees, would no longer be available for this major event. After a lot of searching and fundraising, the B.S.A. purchased property in the mountains of West Virginia and quickly began developing the site for its needs. The Summit Bechtel Reserve opened on time for the 2013 Jamboree and became a hit with the Scouts and adult leaders.

A special program was held during three weeks of the summer of 2018 at this new high adventure base. The Summit Adventure Leadership Training course, also known as SALT, introduced Scouts to the various programs offered at The Summit. Thanks to a generous donor, the cost of the 5 day course was reduced to $45 per participant, plus the cost of transportation.

When the Central Minnesota Council received this information they began the process of trying to create a contingent of 40 or more Scouts. If they could find the forty Scouts the cost would be $325 per participant, which included the cost of a charter bus. Four Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 quickly registered for this event. Two of the troop’s adult leaders applied to be adult leaders. One was chosen to be one of the four chaperones for the trip.

The contingent of 42 Scouts and four adult leaders left the council office in Sartell Sunday evening on July 22nd and arrived at The Summit Monday afternoon. During the next few days the crew members received a sampling of many of the high adventure activities which included BMX biking, mountain biking, skateboarding, a high ropes course, rock climbing, shooting sports, and more. They even visited areas of the base that most campers never get a chance to visit, such as the logistics center. Two highlights of the trip were the 3200 foot long zip line Tuesday morning, and the white water rafting adventure Thursday morning.

Was the trip a success? Did the Scouts have fun? Well, let’s put it this way. When the Melrose Scouts were asked if they would like to go back for a full high adventure program they all agreed they would love to have the chance to go back to The Summit. I guess the answer to the question would be “Yes!”

In May I discovered that four Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 had signed up to attend the new S.A.L.T. program at the Summit Betchel Reserve in West Virginia. The Summit Adventure Leadership Training is a five day program designed to give participants a chance to sample many of the activities found at the Summit, along with some training on how to promote the Summit in their troops, districts, and councils.

I have never been to the Summit. I wanted to visit the base during the 2017 National Jamboree but things did not work out for that to happen. I decided to call the council office and check if they needed any adult leaders go to on the trip. They told me they were looking for leaders and if I was interested I should send in a “resume”. The last time I needed to send a resume to the council was when I applied to be a Scoutmaster of one of the troops for the 2001 National Jamboree.

It took me week to get around writing a resume. As I was writing it I thought to myself, as I listed my Scouting accomplishments, this could work for me or against me. The council may decide to choose younger leadership or a couple Scoutmasters for this trip. Oh well, the decision was theirs. I sent it in and waited for a reply.

For the next week I waited for a reply. To tell the truth, I was starting to have second thoughts about the whole thing. I would soon be 58 years old. Maybe I did not want to camp out for a week long trip anymore. I have not spend a week camping since I stepped down as Scoutmaster in 2011. The hot, humid, and possibly rainy weather known to be in West Virginia during July was another concern. I think I have grown a bit soft since I moved on to a committee position. I was also a little concerned because I had very little information about what would be required from the adult leaders.

After a week I received a reply from the Central Minnesota Council. They would be glad to have me join the crew if it still worked for me to get vacation time. That would not be a problem. I had already been approved the time off at work. I would have to let the Scoutmaster know I would not be spending a couple of days at summer camp which the troop would be attending the week before the trip to the Summit.

I called the council to inform them that I would be glad to attend the Summit. I would soon add a third Boy Scouts of America high adventure base to my list of bases attended.

Holy cow! The Boy Scouts of America have announced a new high adventure base to be opened in the near feature, and only a few years after the latest one, The Summit, opened. Boy, they are really trying to get new youth into the program and retain the current membership for as long as they are able. According to the Bryan On Scouting blog:

Fifty years, to the day, after an Eagle Scout was the first human to set foot on the moon, the Boy Scouts of America will create a permanent high-adventure base there.  Tranquility High Adventure Base — the fifth jewel in BSA’s high-adventure crown — will open July 20, 2019.

The BSA is partnering with NASA, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX to make this sci-fi dream a reality. Thanks to their support, it’ll cost just $24,995 to spend a week at Tranquility. That cost does not include transportation.

This article was posted on April 1st. Yes, it is an Aprils Fool joke, but just think about it if it. What if it would have been true!

PhilmontLeaving - 5The crew is on the way! The Scouts and advisors of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 left for their trip to Philmont Scout Ranch last night. Everyone seemed to be excited for the trip. They will have a great time. Hopefully, I will be getting a few photos sent to me as they travel that I will be able to share with you.

PTC Trip 2014 - 175Today is the day that seven Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68, along with two adults, head out for the trip of a lifetime. They are going to Philmont Scout Ranch for a ten day backpacking trek in the backcountry of one of Scouting’s favorite locations. They will be driving to the ranch with a stop at Mount Rushmore.

I have been to Philmont seven times, five times on treks and two times for training. I know the Scouts are going to have a great time. In some ways I wish I was going with them but I also realize it is time for others to pick up the mantle and help the new generation learns about the magic of Philmont.

Philmont Gate 2014It is official! Boy Scout Troop 68 of Melrose is going to Philmont Scout Ranch in the summer of 2016. Our committee chairperson received confirmation of our trek registration last week. Let the planning begin!

It has been a decade since the troop went to the ranch. In 2004, six troop members and three adults went along with the council contingent. Unfortunately, we signed up late and our group was split up to fill out the two crews. It was not the ideal situation but everyone who went had a great time.

The 2016 trek will once again be a troop outing. The council did not reserve a contingent for that summer. This means we, the troop and committee, will have to do all the planning and transportation arrangements which is not a bad thing when you think about it. We will probably drive to New Mexico from Minnesota so we will need to plan the course and overnight stops. A little sight seeing will have to be included. Can you say “road trip!”?

The first time Boy Scouts from Troop 68 attended Philmont was in 1986 when five Scouts and myself partook in a trek. (This was before the two deep leadership rule.) The troop went back in 1989, 1992, 1998, and 2004. We tried to plan a high adventure trip every three years. In 1995 we went to the High Knoll Trail in Virginia. In 2001 we participated in the National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill. The 2004 Philmont trip was the last high adventure outing for Troop 68, until now.

This is not saying that our Scouts have not had opportunities for high adventure. Several individual Scouts did participate in council contingents to Philmont and other National Jamborees over the years.

The troop has a registration for 5 Scouts and two adult leaders in July 2016. I am thinking we may have 6 or 7 Scouts sign up for the trek. We already have two adults and one Scout who will be an adult at that time who have stated they plan to attend. There has been some talk among the committee that we offer any unfilled slots to another local troop to fill out a 12 person crew.

I would like to go back to Philmont with the 2016 crew. I have participated in the previous five treks taken by the troop and enjoyed every one of them. Those five treks may have to be enough for me though. I have been having a little problem with my right knee over the last few months. Walking does not bother me but climbing stairs can be painful at times. Most of the Philmont trails have an easy seven degree incline but there are always the steeper climbs that become more challenging. I will have to see how the next few months turn out before I decide.

Philmont ArrowheadSome of my favorite Scouting memories are from my trips to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. I have been lucky enough to attend Philmont six times: once for scoutmaster training and five times on a trek with the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. Needless to say, Philmont holds a special place in the heart of this long time Scouter.

It has been ten years since Troop 68 has planned a high adventure trip, so at Wednesday’s committee meeting I brought up the idea that we should start planning for one. We discussed briefly each of the four national bases, the approximate costs of each one, and transportation issues. We talked about the two to three years of planning and fundraising required for this type of outing, and how it would give the younger Scouts something to look forward to as they get older.

Of course, I am partial to Philmont. The Charles Sommers Canoe Base would be the closest and least expensive. The Florida Sea Base would be a fantastic adventure but also the most expensive, probably. We talked a little about the Summit in Virginia, but we did not have much information about that base yet. The committee decided to bring it up to the Boy Scouts to get their opinions.

The theme of the Scenic District’s January roundtable is High Adventure. I am going to have to try to get our scoutmaster and maybe a few Scouts to attend this meeting. In fact, one of our Scouts participated in a Philmont trek this summer so I am going to ask him to come to the meeting and give us a brief summary of his experience.

Talking about Philmont at the committee meeting. Upcoming theme about high adventure bases at the next roundtable. Add to this that I was watching the Philmont Documentary Collection DVD this week and you can see that I have been thinking about Philmont a lot recently.

On Thursday I received a surprise when I looked through my mail. There was a letter from Philmont Scout Ranch. Talk about timing! I thought it was a brochure about the treks available for Boy Scouts. My surprise grew when I discovered it was an invitation to attend the Philmont Training Center in the summer of 2014. I was grinning from ear to ear.

I called Bob, my district executive, to ask him about this. After all, you do not get an invitation unless your council recommends you. He explained that my name was on the short list that the council thought might be interesting in attending a course at the ranch. He also told me that he was thinking about attending a course himself. If I decided to attend, and our courses happened to be the same week, we could drive down together.

As I hung up the phone I could not help but think about all the Philmont related coincidences that happened this week. Add to this that 2014 would be the 30th anniversary of my first trip to Philmont (for training) and the 10th anniversary of the last time I attended the ranch (for a trek with the troop).

It almost seems like I am being called back to those starlit skies above, those aspen covered hills, and the country that I love. Is it time to return to Scouting’s paradise?

jambostuffThe 2013 National Jamboree is officially over. The new Summit high adventure base has completed its first real test at handling large groups of Boy Scouts, leaders, and staff. It will be interesting during the next several weeks to see what the reports will read.  Were there problems? How will things change for the next Jamboree? What will remain the same. What will change? And the most important question, did the Scouts have a great time? I would be willing to bet that Bryan at http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org will keep us informed.

I have been reading things online written by both leaders and Scouts who have attended this year’s big event. One thing that impressed me is that many of the council patches have really been outstanding. I wish I would have attended just to collect patches. Granted, I did collect a fair amount when I attended the 2001 National Jamboree, but I think I would have had to bring five times as many patches to trade if I would have attended this year.

Every Jamboree has plenty of stuff to collect, not just patches. There are shirts, pants, towels, neckerchiefs, books, pamphlets, pins, rings, papers, and lots of other miscellaneous stuff. And I would guess there is more to collect now then there was 12 years ago. The picture above shows some of the “official” things I accumulated during the 2001 Jamboree, including a towel, cap, and tee shirt. I even kept a couple shopping bags for good measure.

During the next few articles I thought I would share a few other things I saved from the jamboree, including some special items that are irreplaceable. Stay tuned. Or should I say, plugged in?