Backpack shakedown.

It’s fire season, so we are avoiding back-country camping for a few months. That said, we have Scouts and Scouters who need to break in backpack gear and get used to our packs.

So we took some of our Scouts out on a shakedown hike to Sycamore Falls in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It was warm, a couple of our number did not bring enough water, and it was more strenuous wearing masks, but it was a lot of fun and a real confidence-builder for a Troop that has made car camping a habit over the last few years. I am going to suggest to the PLC that we make this an annual activity.

I can’t wait to head into the back country in a few months. Meantime, we have some great front country trips planned.

Socially-distanced, of course.

September: Citizenship Month

This month the troop will focus on programs that emphasize our role as citizens in our community, in our nation, and in the world.  Given that the month begins with a national holiday – Labor Day – this is incredibly appropriate.

Part of being a good citizen is knowing and appreciating the rights of citizenship. Indeed, one of the great gifts of citizenship in the United States is the rights that such citizenship confers upon us.

(I know: I spent nearly twenty years living in a country that threw people in jail for no reason, kept them away from any contact with family and friends, and could take away anything you owned at any time and for no reason.)

But something that is not talked about as much is our responsibilities as citizens. In Scouts, more than anywhere else, we learn that being a good citizen is not only important, it is easier than we think and is deeply rewarding.

If you don’t believe me, ask a senior scout or the senior patrol leader. Each of these scouts have experienced many occasions when the service they give to their community and nation has changed their lives.

So enjoy this month – I would bet each of us is going to come out of this as better, happier citizens of the United States.

Camporee On the Beach!

Camporee is here! This annual event, where we get together with troops from all around the area, is all about fun, competition, skills, and awards.

We have two adults and five scouts set to go to Camporee April 20-22. This should be a great event, and we are all looking forward to a lot of fun at the clean and dry McGrath State Beach campground! This is the first time in as long as any of us can remember that the campout is being held on a beach, so this should be an event to remember.

All camporee participants must be at the prep meeting Thursday night at PCYC. There is lots to cover! Bring a jacket as we may be doing some prep outside by the pool.

Just in case your SPL forgets, make sure you have plenty of sunscreen and bug spray. You will be outdoors on the beach most of the day, and the weather looks really good. Also, the campground is next to a teeming coastal wetland, so bugs might be present.

Please let your SPL know of any dietary issues, and make sure the Scoutmaster (Mr. E) is aware of any and all medication requirements.

We have our fingers crossed for Jay to be called out for Order of the Arrow Saturday night, so make sure to give a big cheer for him when he stands up.

Mr. Wolf won’t be joining the troop (he has an emergency work trip to China on Friday morning), but he will be there with Mr. E, Mr. Smith, and the Scouts in spirit.

Have fun, and Go 234! Can do!

Please contact Mr. E or Mr. Wolf with any questions. Scouts, please reach out to Aaron.

Family Campout 2018

In Ventura County, we are spoiled by nature. Within an hour of our home base in Port Hueneme we have over a dozen outstanding places to camp. One of those great places is Point Mugu State Park.

Nestled up the wide – but, from PCH, nearly invisible – Sycamore Canyon is a well developed campground along Big Sycamore Creek. With the generous assistance of our campground hosts, we were able to secure two adjoining sites, allowing us plenty of room to spread out and to ensure that the scouts had their own patrol areas, and the adults and the families had an area for themselves.

After settling in late on Friday night we lit the campfire and enjoyed the sights, sounds, and hilarity of being in a public campground at night. There is nothing that makes a scout more proud than when other, often less experienced, campers come to our site asking for help, and the scouts are able to provide a service, teach a si

On Saturday we had a full day of activities led by the Senior Patrol Leader. A two hour hike up a moderate trail brought us to the ridgetop between Sycamore Canyon and the Giant Sand Dune along PCH. The view was incredible, a 360 degree panorama of mountains, beach, and sea.

One of our troop trademarks is that wherever we camp, we try to spend a few hours making the site better than we found it. Few campgrounds can keep up with all of the tasks that need doing to maintain them, much less improve them, and in the spirit of “doing a good turn daily” we like to be a part of improving the places we visit.

So after the hike and lunch, the scouts conducted a two-hour service project on behalf of the camp and at the direction of the camp hosts, clearing out concentrations of leaves and branches that had fallen from the canyon’s oak trees during the winter and that were beginning to block trails.

The scouts spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, playing ultimate frisbee, and practicing skills for advancement. A filling dinner and an incredible campfire ended the day.

After a good night’s sleep we had breakfast, struck camp, and shared our traditional closing with families. Scout achievements were recognized, and we started planning for our next activity.

For several of our families, this was their first time camping with Boy Scouts as we brought along two Webelos scouts from pack 3234.