On Saturday, we have a crew of 8 scouts and 4 adults heading to the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming for the troop's first ever self-guided high adventure.
We have been planning this trek since March with practice hikes every week, crew meetings every few weeks, and distribution of tasks.
There is a ton of work that goes into making a trip happen and the scouts going on this one now have a better appreciation of that. The SPL is going and he has been the primary planner, defining what needs to happen and handing out jobs. The scouts have done an excellent job of defining tasks and getting them done. I believe they have already learned more valuable skills on this one trip, even before departing, than all the campouts we've done before this.
Tonight, I went shopping for food for 12 people for 5 days with the two scouts tasked with food planning. I had gone out earlier to do research and to make sure we stayed on the right track. We had a fun time purchasing all we'd need. Then, at a scout's home we repackaged everything into meals that will be distributed to individuals to carry on Friday. At least these two scouts have now seen the value of repackaging - we saved a few pounds of excess weight, have less garbage, and each meal is complete. They've also seen first hand how much food a group consumes in a week.
Another scout got crew T-shirts made and they got here last week. He did online research and ordered the shirts from a web site.
Another scout created an elevation map of our route based on a topo map we have and Google Earth images. He gave a short presentation about it at our crew meeting on Monday. His map is really a graph of our elevation at every 1/2 mile increment of our 34 mile trek. This gives us a very good idea about which days will be more difficult, how far we go and how high we go. We were impressed!
Another scout found campgrounds for us to stay at in Rapid City on the way there and back. I made the reservations, but he got all the information to me.
Since this is our first try at something this big, my job was to make sure the bases were covered and to teach some scouts what they needed to do for their tasks. I also presented Leave No Trace guidelines to the group so we are fresh on that. After this trip, I'm sure that Leave No Trace ethics will be important to this group and they will begin to spread it to their patrols.
Well, since we have our approved National Trip Permit back, I guess we're ready to head out. I'll miss posting anything until next weekend, so ...
This month I have been too busy to find time to jot down my thoughts. I guess that happens from time to time.
We had an excellent week at Many Point Scout Camp last week. Most of my time was spent keeping track of all that was scheduled and checking on progress. We had 101 merit badges taken this year and about 2/3 or those were completed at camp. I expect next year there will be a huge rush on the Astronomy merit badge - the handful of scouts that took it this year had a blast. They put on a Star Party for the rest of the troop and explained what they had learned about constellations and cellestial bodies.
Thursday afternoon gave up our only storm of the week with hail almost as big as golfballs. Very hectic for 5 minutes and then it was pretty much over.
This year is the 60th anniversary of the camp so they have some special activities going on such as a medallion hunt and old time scout skills.
The past 3 years, we have cooked all our own meals at camp but the troop elected to move to a different campsite next summer and have our meals in the dining hall. That will be a new experience for everyone and should make life easier for me! :-)
I'm already looking forward to what it will be like. Nothing like camp!