Scoutmaster Musings - Past Trail's End

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Scoutmaster Musings

Past Trail's End
camp birchwood for boys Have you every taken a trail and followed it to the end? Man-made and maintained trails are usually loops or have specific destinations. But, wild trails will often meander and finally fade out at some point. Then, you either go on your own, forging your way through the wild or turn back.

Earlier this month, I got to present Wilderness First Aid to the summer staff at Camp Birchwood for Boys. It is at the end, the very end, of the famous Gunflint Trail in Minnesota, only a stone's throw from Canada. When I reached the end of the trail, there was nothing but a mailbox with 'Camp Birchwood' on it indicating the camp, and a lake.

Fortunately, there was a small outfitter's building there so I asked if they knew where the camp might be. "Well, you've got to take a boat to get there," was the reply.

Fortunately again, the outfitter was a helpful sort and gave Birchwood a call letting them know I was waiting. Remember, I'm one of the five people left in the country that doesn't have a cell phone.

About ten minutes later a motorboat buzzed up, I dumped my training gear in, and we headed to camp - a bit further than the end of the trail. And, what a wonderful place it is! Boys that attend the camp go on canoe trips, or bike trips, or hiking trips, or rock climbing trips, or stay at camp. They have archery, shooting, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, a river swing, and an enormous waterslide that dumps into the river. Most importantly, the directors and staff are great people running a super program. I got to meet some young guys from England, Ireland, and Scotland as well as around the USA. A few of them were scouts.

If you've got some scouts looking for a challenging job in 2012 a bit past the end of the beaten trail, you might point them towards Camp Birchwood. It's a leadership challenge in one of those beautiful, wild places left in the country.

Scout On
Posted: 15:59 06-20-2011 636
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