Friday, January 31, 2014

Calendar Time!

Because letting people know what's going on before it happens is a good thing, here's the Troop 125 calendar for the next three months (February through March). Look for exciting things like the Klondike Derby, camping at a wonderful place called Hell's Half-Acre, and exciting things like finishing the Camping and the Fire Safety merit badges and starting on the Cycling merit badge. That is if winter is finished with us in March. I may be a little optimistic on that one.

As with all calendars, things can get thrown into chaos.

For example, I just found out about the Ammon North Stake's Youth Standards Night set for February 4, 7 pm. I'm hoping that will cancel out the combined activity on the third Tuesday (if it doesn't, we're taking that Tuesday for scouts).

Also, for those working on the Communication and Citizenship in the Community merit badges, I'm taking interested parties to an Ammon Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Wednesday, Feb. 5, also at 7 pm. Should be an interesting night, with Ball Ventures coming to speak about a new retail development at the southeast corner of Hitt and Sunnyside roads.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Scout Camp -- Confirmed

Good news: We're signed up for Island Park Scout Camp for the last week of the season -- July 28 through August 2.

Even better news: We've got the Riverbend campground, instead of getting stuck with one of those spots way out in the middle of nowhere. For those unfamiliar with IPSC, Riverbend is in the north central part of the camp, fairly close to the rifle and archery ranges, and smack next to the Nature area. The creek runs through our campground. Should be a fun place to stay. I'm excited already.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Caught Cheating at the Pod Races

I confess I cheated at the pod racing.

But I still lost – good proof that cheaters never prosper.

Josh, Talon, Dean, and Hunter challenged me to a pod race – just as it appears in the Star Wars film, sans Jabba the Hutt watching from the sidelines (and without a lot of other things, yes, I know) – down the road in front of the Millers’ cabin this past weekend.

Josh and Talon have a fast sled. I mean a fast sled. So confident were they, they offered the rest of us a head-start. “We’ll go at ten, you go at five, and Dean and Hunter can go at three,” Josh told us.

So I sat down on my sled. Adjusted a few things. Then said: “Okay, FIVE!”

I shot down the hill, lying practically flat in my sled, hoping my extra weight would power me down the hill ahead of them.

They weren’t far behind, with their calls of “cheater!”

I was moving. I mean moving. The start of that road is steep. But their shouts were getting closer. The slope was shallowing out.

Josh and Talon shot past me in a blaze of flying snow.

They won the race, despite my cheating.

We went again – only after I promised to play by the rules this time.

They kept winning. And winning.

Once on the way down, Dean, Hunter and I collided in a cloud of snow. Through the cloud I could hear shouts and laughter.

Good times.

We had to leave early thanks to an impending blizzard. But sledding with the Scouts of Troop 125 helped me recall many a sled outing when I was a Scout. Vivid memories. I hope that’s what the boys are building as well.

NOTE: Thanks to the Miller family for letting us use their cabin as a base for our snow adventures, and to Rodney Farnes for providing the pictures.

Ethan shows off his cold-weather gear.

Oh yeah. Island Park roads. Not as bad as we thought they'd be.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Bakcpacking Clarification

Had a question on the Backpacking Merit Badge come up in our troop meeting tonight, specifically on this requirement:

Do the following:

a. Write a plan for a backpacking trek of at least five days using at least three different campsites and covering at least 30 miles. Your plan must include a description of and route to the trek area, a schedule (including a daily schedule), a list of food and equipment needs, a safety and emergency plan, and a budget.

b. Using Leave No Trace principles, take the trek planned and, while on the trek, complete at least one service project approved by your merit badge counselor.

c. Keep a daily journal during the trek that includes a day-by-day description of you activities, including notes about what worked well and thoughts about improvements that could be made for the next trek.

The question is specifically about the first requirement, and whether the backpackers can use a base camp on their first night after arriving at their chosen location as one of the three campsites in the requirement.

I say yes.

I base that on a quick read of the requirement itself: It doesn't specify that the campsites have to be hiked to. That's implied, yes, but without explicit instruction, I think there's enough wiggle room in the requirement to accommodate this.

I also base my opinion on the nature of the planned outing: Father and son plan to hike the tallest mountain peak in Colorado, then drive to Utah to climb the highest mountain peak there. They're doing a lot of quality hiking, with camping in the mix. If they camp the first night after driving from Colorado to Utah, I'm not going to stand in their way of making that campsite one of the required sites. If anyone wants to quibble, I guess I'll say this: Put on your backpack, hike 100 yards from your car to the campsite, then call it a night.

The intent of the trip is meeting the intent of the requirement.