The 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.
Posts Tagged ‘High Adventure’
Today 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.
It 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.
Some 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?
The 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?
Can you name the three current high adventure bases of the Boy Scouts of America? Everyone can name Philmont Scout Ranch. Most people know about the Florida Sea Base. But did you know there is also a high adventure base in Minnesota? Yes there is! It is the Northern Tier High Adventure base, and it is the subject of this episode of Around The Scouting Campfire.
Scoutmaster Steve begins the show with information about the Northern Tier program. He tells us a little about a 2002 trip his troop took through the Charles Sommers Canoe base. Mike Linnemann, one of the Boy Scouts who attended the trip, shares a poem written by the crew members. Buttons has some canoe jokes for us before he shares some quotes by Lord Baden-Powell. The show ends with a scoutmaster minute about being thrifty.
Steve and Buttons thank PTC Media (http://www.ptcmedia.net) for allowing this program to be a part of the family of Scouting related podcasts. We also thank the Boy Scout Store (http://boyscoutstore.com) for sponsoring this show. Be sure to take a moment to check out their website. Finally, we would like to thank you, our listeners, for downloading Around The Scouting Campfire.
Ute Springs Camp was the smallest of the various camps at which we stayed. The site we chose was quite small. A little trickle of a stream bordered the east side. The south and west sides were rimmed by steep hills. The sloped gradually upward toward larger site which the PA group was using. The stream had to be crossed to get back to the trail from the site.
Ute Springs was so small that we decided to leave the tents packed and sleep under the dining fly. By adding a tent fly to each end of the dining fly we increased the sheltered area enough for everyone to sleep under and have enough room left to store out packs. It was pretty nice little idea.
A commissary and trading post was located a half mile down the main trail from the camp. We collected our next four day s worth of trail food there. Everyone also stocked up on batteries and junk food.
The scouts had a surprise for me when we got to camp. The commissary had a “swap box,” placed outside the door. Crews could swap food they did not care for for foods that other crews had left behind. When I was not watching the Scouts traded some of the food we didn’t like. In the trade they picked up a couple of boxes of tomato flavored cup-a-soup since they knew there were some meals coming up that I did not care to eat. I thought to myself that this act of consideration was quite thoughtful of the guys. It also restored my confidence in them regarding thinking about others.
The campfire program we held at Ute Springs was quite unique from others we had held. We set the stage for a reunion of our crew members which was to be held in twenty years at this very campsite. Each person would give an account of the last twenty years of his life. All life accounts had to be fairly believable.
Scott volunteered to be the first Scout to arrive for the reunion. According to the scenario, he had already made camp by the time the rest of us had arrived, one by one. The guys were a bit confused as to how they should enter camp as if twenty years had past so I set the stage by entering the campsite “first”. Brian came in next. Jeff and Robert came in together having met along the way. Gerry was the last to arrive. When he walked into camp we all busted out laughing. He looked and walked exactly the way his father does. It was uncanny. We exchanged greetings and handshakes as each person arrived. Each of us found a place to sit around the campfire. Then the stories began.
Gerry was the first to tell about his life “since he left the troop.” When his wife received the invitation in the mail regarding the reunion she had had to contact him at his archeological dig in Africa. He left the dig site, and the 500 workers, in the care of his assistants. Gerry’s wife had already written two lusty novels and was currently working on a third. Her first novel, Sex Under The Eucalyptus Tree, was a bestseller. They have son, who they have named Gerry.
Brian is a staff sergeant in the army. He is currently stationed in West Germany. He has fifteen years of military experience and plans to retire from the army in other five years. He hopes to receive a government job after his stay with the army. Brian has remained unmarried and has no children.
I live in California with my wife and four children, three boys and one girl. My sons, ages 15, 13, and 9, are all involved with Scouting. I hold the committee chairperson position of their troop. Several years ago, I sold my shares in the three lumber years I had a partnership in, and started producing movies. My first films, Rocks Of The Piedmont and The Red Bandanna, broke even at the box office. The next project I will work on involves the adventures of a troop of Boy Scouts.
Robert has chosen Montana as his home. He and his wife are raising two children, and boy and a girl. Robert has always been interested in cars. His automobile collection includes fifteen cars, one of which is a Lambourgine(?). His three auto body shops keep him quite busy.
Jeff is still unmarried. Ann, his girlfriend while he was a Scout, dropped him in his senior year for a basketball player. Florida is were Jeff calls home. He works at a school for handicapped children where he receives a lot of pleasure from working with the kids. He has adopted two children, one boy and one girl. Both kids are handicapped. Jeff spends as much time with them as he can. They often go to amusement parks, museums, or other fun places in his 1986 black Jaguar.
Scott, his wife, son, and daughter have made a home in Texas. He owns his own architectural firm which is doing quite well.
It will be interesting to look each other up in twenty years and see how close these predictions came to real life.
Tonight was Jeff’s turn for the first bear watch. Robert agreed to stand watch with Jeff if Jeff would do the same for him. They woke me up at 11:00 for my turn. I was tired, and did not want to get up, so I traded watches with Robert as long as he was already up anyway.
Thirty minutes later our camp was hit by a downpour. Jeff and Robert scrambled for shelter under the fly. Within minutes small streams were flowing down the hills, and we were in their paths. Everyone was moving gear and sleeping bags to drier spots. The plastic ground cloths were repositioned to to keep the water from flowing over them.
Gerry missed it all. Once again he was unwakeable. He never saw the rivers of water as they past below our plastic sheets on their way to the stream on our east side. Fifteen minutes later I too was asleep. Needless to say, bear watches were canceled for the rest of the night.
As we expected, our gear was drenched in the morning. Within a few minutes over two hundred feet of rope was stretched between the trees. Sleeping bags, foam pads, clothes and ground cloths were hung on every available foot of line. We waited as long as we could before repacking it, but it was not long enough to dry everything completely. There was a good chance that we would be sleeping in damp bags tonight.
This and other Philmont journals and photo galleries can be found at http://melrosetroop68.org/highadventure.html
Footnote: It has been over 20 years since that night at the campfire. Gerry still lives in the area but the rest have moved away from Melrose. Robert stops by for a visit a couple times a year. Jeff and Scott live near the Twin Cities. I have not seen either of them for years. Brian is the only one who came close to doing what he said he would do. He did actually enter the military and made a career of it. I think I have seen him twice since he graduated from high school.