Hoosier Trails Council (our neighbor to the south and council surrounding Ransburg) is offering Wilderness First Aid Training at Camp Maumee (just a few minutes past Ransburg and just short of the Deem Wilderness fire tower).
This is required training for one or two persons on any high adventure trek. I highly recommend it for scouts, since they may be the ones needing to assist the adult leader(s) on the trek.
It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Troop 191 will officially close at the end of 2016. Long time Scoutmaster Lawrence Smiley has written me the following letter. I found the letter to be heart-felt and impassioned, so it was worth sharing with you. Mr. Smiley’s list of activities was very creative and worth considering in your troop or crew.
It has been an honor and a privileged to serve Crossroads of America Council for over a quarter of a century as Troop 191’s founder and scoutmaster. So many great memories of Christ-protected and guided high adventures:
- Riding the narrow gauge train from Durango, CO to gain access to The Chicago Basis [twice]
- Climbing Mt. Harvard [twice] and Columbia [once]
- Canoeing a 50 mile loop in the Boundary Waters [once]
- Sailing a homemade tri-hull in the Florida Keys under the command of Captain DeTurk [once]
- White water rafting the Missouri River near Buena Vista, CO [twice] and the New and Upper Gulley Rivers in West Virginia [twice]
- Shotgun Shooting at private farms in Indiana [most every year]
- Rappelling in Red River Forest east of Lexington, KY [most every year]
- Snow skiing at Swiss Valley in S. Michigan [most every year]
- Hiking sand dunes and swimming at Michigan Dunes State Park
- Canoeing the Blue, the Tippecanoe, The Wabash rivers in Indiana [most every year]
- Caving Small-Dull Cave near Bloomington or Marengo Cave [most every year]
- Water skiing at Lake Lemon [once]
- Paint balling on private property [most every year]
- Ransburg Summer Camp [every year!]
- Hiking the Lincoln Trail from New Salem to Springfield, IL [once]
- Biking to Mounds State Park from Hamilton SE High School [once]
- Touring the Air Force Museum in Dayton [once]
- North Star District Camporees [a few]
- And many more adventures that have faded from the corners of my mind!
- Weekly Thursday night meetings, way too many too count, where life skills, servant-leadership and character were taught along with earning rank and merit badges and having a ton of fun.
As I’ve previously mentioned, I close down Troop 191 with both the pride of accomplishment of mentoring tons of boys along their trail to manhood and the sadness of closing out a huge chapter in my life as a part of the Boy Scouts of America – from the age of 7 as a Cub Scout to the age of pushing 70 (June 23).* * *It has been a great ride and fantastic life adventure; and I depart with no regrets and many, many great memories!Thank you Jeff [Heck] (and Jerry [Simon]), for your service to the Boy Scouts. I wish you, The North Star District and the Crossroads of America Godspeed, as you continue serving the youth of Indianapolis.
Troop 92 in the Pathfinder District needs 2 more people to fill a crew, with up to 5 open spots for a Philmont trek in 2017, adult openings as well. It is a 7-day trek from 7/9/17-7/16/17. We need to fill these spots quickly so if anyone or another troop would like to join up with us, it would be much appreciated. Travel arrangements have not been confirmed but we anticipate the cost to be $800-$1000 total prior to our fundraising efforts. Please contact Chris Padgett at (317)703-9753 or email@example.com ASAP if interested. Thanks!
- Philmont trek and cavalcade participants must be 14 years of age OR completed 8th Grade and be at least 13 years of age prior to participation.
- Participants must have a valid BSA Health Record with all parts, A, B, and C. Especially important is the Body Mass Index compliance.
Greg Hoyes from our Troop 804 has forwarded this message from an Iron Horse District Troop:
Scout leaders on Philmont waiting list:
My troop was selected for a Philmont trek in 2016, expedition # 626A. The date is June 26th to July 8th , leaving Indy on 6/25 & returning 7/8. We are a small troop, 40 miles southeast of Indy in the Iron Horse District. The troops in Iron Horse have not filled up my crew and I currently have three spots open for scouts aged 14-20. I requested a waiting list from Philmont for the Crossroads of America council and your names were provided. We are planning on flying into Albuquerque and are having Blue Sky adventures provide ground transportation, meals and hotel with some sightseeing in Albuquerque, where we will spend one night to help get acclimated to the altitude. Total estimated cost of the trek, including transportation is $1775.00 , (Philmont: $870; Ground package: $465; Airfare (estimated at $440.) This will be my 5th trip to Philmont, so I am familiar with the Philmont adventure.
Contact me if any scouts in your troops are wanting to go to Philmont in 2016 and might be interested. I will be happy to provide any additional info and will sign anyone up on a first come, first serve basis. I can add scouts up February 22nd, as the final Philmont payment must be received by March 1.
Thanks for considering.
Scoutmaster, BSA Troop 28
Iron Horse District
Arlington, IN 46104
High adventure (loosely defined) is one of the most important parts of retaining older scouts along with true youth leadership of the troop through use of the Patrol Method. If the older scout feels he is needed and wanted while having fun and challenging himself, his biggest enemy to continued scouting is his 18th birthday.
Many troops and crews struggle to run effective high adventure programs. There are many impediments: youth participants’ interest, adult participants’ availability, costs, logistics, program availability, etc.
For troops and crews that do make it through the planning stages and schedule a high adventure trip, they sometimes struggle to fill a contingent (that is the group that will do the high adventure activity together, usually 6-12 scouts depending on the activity). Some of our troops field multiple contingents on any one trip. This offers many savings in economies of scale, especially with travel and lodging.
For others, the biggest problem is having enough scouts to fill out a complete contingent.
The District is making an effort to help fill contingents. We already have several troops with plans for 2016. If all goes well, all scheduled scouts will attend. However, life happens and vacancies may occur for a variety of reasons. The trip is most likely to achieve its goals of adventure and citizenship development if the contingents are full. To help overcome obstacles, the District is working as a clearing house at Roundtables to discuss where units have vacancies on existing contingents that already have scheduled departure dates.
If your troop or crew has a known vacancy or is willing to accept names for a waiting list, please contact District Commissioner Jeff Heck or your assigned Unit Commissioner. Similarly if your unit has an eager scout who wants to go but cannot find the right trip for him, contact the Commissioners so that we can help place your scout(s).
In a future article we will look at some opportunities for District to offer high adventure trips, including Order of the Arrow contingents, that might help units who have struggled to make high adventure a part of their program.
Troops and crews often face problems of teaching youth how to become leaders. Some scoutmasters rely on resources like scoutmasterCG.com. Some rely on official BSA training courses.
The unofficial resources do a good job of giving a fresh perspective of the problems that you run into with youth training. They tend to focus on training within the troop. The emphasis is on informality, effectiveness, practicality, and fun.
The official resources allow youth to continue to follow official BSA training continuum. Most important part of the BSA training regimen is the ability for senior youth leaders to have an opportunity to learn with their peers. Senior patrol leaders have an opportunity to go learn with and from other senior patrol leaders. The emphasis is a broader understanding of the BSA program.
The BSA youth leadership training continuum begins with Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops. This should be taught by council. Once a senior patrol leader has taken the course, he is expected to offer the course at his own troop. The preferred time for the training is immediately before the new youth elections. This allows the new candidates to better understand the positions they are looking to take on. This course is required, in theory, before a scout moves on to National Youth Leadership Training. Locally we refer to this as White Stag. This takes place in two sessions in June and July at Camp Redwing. Graduates can then become camp staffers in following years.
Graduates of White Stag then can pursue training at Philmont, and the other national centers, called National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience. Here they will put NYLT lessons to use.
Are your youth leaders looking to have leadership challenges beyond this? Look into the Kodiak Challenge. It can be offered at the unit, district, or council level, with Council’s Training Department approval.
You want to keep your older scouts engaged? Promote this leadership training continuum and watch how boys refuse to leave scouting.
“You think Survivor is tough? Check out Big Munson. The Out Island Adventure combines camping on a remote 100+ acre island, snorkeling on pristine coral reefs, trolling for sportfish, kayaking through red mangroves, and exploring the flora and fauna of Big Munson Island. You will wade ashore on Big Munson Island carrying all the food, water and equipment used during your adventure in a rugged camping setting. Powerboats will take you snorkeling and fish on selected days. A program mate will remain with you for the duration of your trip to assist you in appreciating this unique environment. This is a true high-adventure program, one that combines physical challenge with excitement and adventure. If your crew has strong camping skills and enjoys rugged camping, then the Out Island program is for you. This is a seven day event.”
The website describes Big Munson this way:
In December of 1982, a gift was received by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America which was destined to change the very nature of some of the exciting programs offered by the Florida Sea Base. The gift was an untouched, uninhabited island over 100 acres in size, surrounded by the crystal clear water off Big Pine Key in the lower Keys.
On the entire string of islands called the Florida Keys, there are but a few that remain as they were when the pirates first rowed ashore in search of fresh water and game to provision their galleons. This island shows up on old nautical charts as Newfound Harbor Key, and on newer charts as Big Munson Key.
It is located three miles offshore from US 1, and a mere four miles inshore from Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, known for some of the most fabulous reef formations found in the Keys. Sea Base has committed to retain this island in its natural state. Lightweight screened tents, cooking gear and other necessary equipment is provided by Sea Base, but all personal gear, food, and water must be waded ashore for your stay.