Thursday, November 11, 2010

Way to Go, Supporting our Veterans!

Troop 76 took some time off school on Veterans Day to show our thanks.  30+ scouts, plus parents and adult leaders attended Simsbury's Veterans Day ceremony at Eno Memorial Hall at the invitation of the VFW and American Legion.

Thanks to all our veterans for protecting our rights.  We are proud to support you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mt. Monadnock Summit

The last time we tried Mt. Monadnock in November, we got turned around just above treeline by rime ice and 30+ mph winds.  Four years later, the weather was perfect and the summit was great.  Cam Ballard and Pat Sullivan did a fantastic job leading the younger scouts.  Nate and Ross successfully led the Ventures up the Spellman Trail ("the most challenging on the mountain"), several with full winter packs to get ready for Mt. Washington in February.  Derek, Jack, and Tim reconned the lower elevations to build confidence and endurance.  A great hike all the way around.

Good job cooking by the patrols.  I wasn't so sure where we stood on cleaning up after cooking last night, but Nate had the show under control in the morning.  Great job getting the whole camp broken down, cooked and fed, cleaned up, and litter swept to get everyone on the road on time.

Thanks to Mr. Greenberg for his excellent dutch oven cooking (dinner and dessert) and breakfast.  As always, great adult company to go along with great scouts.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blame the Boy Scouts

National Geographic Traveler editor Boyd Matson, an Eagle Scout, puts the blame squarely on Boy Scouts for his adventurous lifestyle.

"That organization stole my soul when I was a kid and planted it in the wilderness. I was too young to resist their clever sales pitch built around hiking and camping trips. And their system of rewarding accomplishments with higher ranks and colorful merit badges meant, in effect, there was always one more goal to reach, one more mountain to climb."

Worth being blamed for.  A nice article from National Geographic Traveler.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

AT Recon for October 23-24 Campout

Sunday morning October 17, Mr. Starrett, Floyd, and I headed out to Kent to check out the campsites for next weekend.  See the video below for the approach to Mt. Algo shelter, where the Ventures will stay Friday night after a moonlight hike.

After that, we drove to to the High Bank Campsite along the Housatonic River where the troop will camp Saturday night.  It's a beautiful, open site -- perfect after a long day hiking.  Weather will be perfect: sunny, daytime temps in the 50's, and mid-30's overnight.

Let me know by this Tuesday, October 19, if you'll be going.  I promise you'll have a great time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's in Your Wallet?

Good ideas for survival kits in this article.

What's in your 10 Essentials kit?  Mine, which like all our scouts I throw in my backpack or daypack for every campout, includes: headlamp (plus maybe an extra somewhere else in my pack), knife, water purification tablets, matches, lint for tinder, a disposable lighter, flint and steel, duck tape, and an extra compass.  The extras are because every now and then a scout will forget one of those things.  I also bring a small first aid kit, and a small notebook and pen.  The rest of the 10 are somewhere else in the pack: extra clothes, extra food and water, sunscreen and lip balm, a map or two (extras, you know), whistle, etc.

The best list is of course in your Scout Handbook, p. 264.  Plus what to have in your first aid kit (p. 127), what to wear on a campout (p. 272), and what to bring camping (p. 292).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Get SCUBA certified

Mr. Lungarini has set-up a class for SCUBA certification. Oct 1 (6pm-10pm) Oct 2-3 (9am-5pm) This will allow us to have the class and do the open-water test before lakes get too cold. (they do not do open-water tests in the winter/early spring) If interested in Seabase this will be the last opportunity to get certified (required for Seabase). Contact Mr. Lungarini ASAP if interested.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Boy Led Troop

Good essay on what it means to be a boy led troop.  What do you think -- are we?  (Click the title)

Monday, August 23, 2010

2010-2011 Troop Calendar Posted

Check out the new troop calendar, now on Google Calendar.  It has everything you need to know for the troop's 90th anniversary year.   Link it to your iPhone or BlackBerry.  Link it to your other on-line calendars.  Or print it off and hang it up.  Moms and dads will love it, with links to event details and maps.  Thanks to the Proctor's for setting up such a cool way to keep up to date.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"I believe that today, as for the past 100 years, there is no finer program for preparing American boys for citizenship and leadership than the Boy Scouts of America."

Yesterday morning, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates -- an Eagle Scout himself -- addressed Scouts at the 100th anniversary National Jamboree.  Click the title to read an excellent speech to our seven boys there, and their 44,993 friends.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Seven Troop 76 Scouts Head to National Jamboree 2010

Seven of Troop 76's finest headed to Ft. A.P. Hill, Virginia for the BSA National Jamboree 2010. Tony Robucci, Joe Jevnik, Josh Rodin, Nate Lungarini, Ross Harmon, Keiko Kaplan, and Ryan Carr met dark and early Saturday July 24 at Rentschler field to join the CT Rivers Council contingent.
After a 6am departure and some sleep, they toured Philadelphia on their way to DC and their final destination in Virginia.  Wishing them a great trip...and more pictures to come.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Super Summer Camp 2010!

Yesterday the troop completed a fantastic week at Camp Mattatuck for summer camp 2010.  All you scouts did a great job: successful on merit badges, great weather (Tuesday aside), good competition, way too many activities -- but all fun -- zero homesickness, and only one scout to the hospital (Michael is fine, more on that later).

In addition to the 42 scouts from the troop, we picked up two provisionals (Timmy and Andrew), who were both outstanding.  Don't tell Travis from Mountain Biking, but they gave him a run for the money as best Provisional Ever.  And not including SPL Nate Lungarini, who took the week off to lead the troop, we had four other scouts or alumni on staff (Will Oliver, Luis Torres, Ryan Carr, and Joe Amarante).

A few highlights:
  • Mountain Biking lunch at Lost Lake and Bouldering Lunch
  • Saw-off with Troop 90 from Cheshire (longstanding tradition)
  • COPE games on Thursday night, coupled with the scouts again letting the adults win at volleyball (11-2)
  • An awesome Family Night, thanks to an outstanding dinner organized by Mrs. Sullivan, and followed by the troop contributing 3 skits to the campwide campfire
  • Domination of the Iron Chef (Ms. Kim and Mr. Burger) and Paul Bunyan (Richard Havighorst and Mr. Johns -- who else?) competitions
  • Derek Cedar catching a 16" bass, and Harrison Braidich a 28" pickerel
  • Tim Carr being the first to find Ursa Minor and Ursa Major on the Astronomy Star Hike
  • Josh Rodin winning Little Splash at the dive competition
  • Mr. Mundt (aka Spiderman) winning the "Bottomless Cup of Coffee" for winning the Scoutmaster Dive competition (3 years running)
  • Truly excellent scout leadership, thanks to the Patrol Leaders, Ventures, Summer Senior Patrol, and not least of all new SPL Nate Lungarini really stepping it up.
Sure, a few things could have gone a little better.  We could have won at Water Polo (4-1 loss).  But our teamwork was much improved vs. 2009.  And next year we won't cram so much into the evening activities.

Everyone will be glad to know that Michael Rattray is fine and healthy after a brush with dehydration and heat exhaustion on Friday.  It was a really hot week with a lot of walking and constant activity.  He was his usual happy self when I ran into him Saturday afternoon.

Thanks to all the adults who helped keeping things running smoothly, both in the troop and supporting the camp staff.  I was up there this morning to drop off our staffers for Week 3, and heard the thank you's in person.  I'm sure no troop there has as much fun as we do (scouts or adults).

More pictures are available at the troop's Flickr site. Instructions are on the opening page of the troop's Google Group's site.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bailey's Pedaling for Peace

Keep up with Troop 76 alums and Eagle Scouts Nate and Ben Bailey as they pedal across the country this summer.  They started out from Portland, OR and as of July 2 are in Bend.  After 3,000 miles and two months of pedal power, they'll end up in Harrisonburg, VA where they'll both be at Eastern Mennonite University this fall.  A pretty cool adventure.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Great Article on the Underappreciated Prussik Knot

OK, it's really a hitch.  But I bet this is one that Richard Havighorst doesn't know.  Yet.

Click the title to check it out.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Scouting for Boys... and Parents

Click the title for an excellent article about scouting values, the changes/challenges the BSA handbook has gone through, and why Scouts can inspire boys and their parents.  Written by a dad of a soon-to-be Boy Scout.  Made me think about the new scouts and families joining our troops.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chocorua "too Wimpy"; Ventures Decide to Tackle Mt. Adams

Confident after last year's summit of Mt. Washington in February, the troop's Ventures decided that 3,500 feet of Mt. Chocorua wouldn't be enough for 2010.  So the group has decided to climb New England's second highest peak, Mt. Adams, over Valentine's Day weekend.

To prepare, the crew hiked the Seven Sisters ridge in Skinner State Park near Hadley, MA on January 31.  The scouts loaded themselves with 30 lb. full winter packs for the day hike.  In perfect, sunny weather, they found a great place to take the troop in the future.  All did well, and at least think they're ready for 5,744' of Adams and 4,000' of elevation gain in two weeks.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chocorua Recon

After building up a week of cabin fever between Christmas and New Year's, Mr. Carr, Mr. Michaelson, Kyle Langdell, and his dad got a little crazy.  Why not meet at 4:30am and hit the road at 5am?  Why not drive 5 hours up to the middle of New Hampshire?  Why not hike 7 miles in the snow up Mt. Chocorua -- "New England's Matterhorn"?  And then drive 5 hours back home that same night?

Why not, indeed, when the weather is perfect and you can scrounge up good hiking buddies in less than a day?

This was a reconnaissance hike to check out the site of the Venture's annual Valentine's Day Mountaineering Trip.  "After two years up Mt. Washington, including the now infamous "Mere Mortals" summit conquest in '09, it's time to challenge these young dudes in other ways," said exhausted Scoutmaster Carr.  "They're good, but frankly, this is a tougher 3 miles up than the hike to Hermit Lake."

The hike up Brook Trail included sheets of ice hidden under powdery snow, a dozen or so stream crossings, and some tricky trail finding. All of the elevation gain was confined to the last half mile.   After nearing the rocky summit, the crew turned south to find Jim Liberty Cabin, where the Ventures will spend the first night of their trip.  This may be a little cushy for the V's, who have spent the last two year in an open 3-sided shelter at Hermit Lake.

The route down from Jim Liberty Cabin on the Liberty Trail was more manageable, and will likely be the route up in February.  Mr. Carr is now working on options for day 2, which may include a hike out on Champney Falls trail and intro to ice climbing... if the boys aren't too tired.

Eagle Scout Kyle Langdell commented, "I know Mr. Carr had a full pack and all, but really, I could have done the hike twice" as he ran back to the car to end a perfect day in the Whites.  A thought echoed, silently and politely, by the elder Langdell and marathoner Michaelson.

Stay tuned for the first and only shakedown hike on Sunday, January 24.  The Chocorua trip is scheduled for the first weekend of February break.

Eagle Scout Josh Gilbert Climbing on Pike's Peak

Click the title to watch Josh's video on YouTube, if you thought you were cool climbing Mt. Washington last year.  And help Josh win an American Alpine Club video contest!

High adventure trip to Colorado anyone?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mission Impossible: Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Cereal Killers

As many of you observed at the last Court of Honor, there's a serious problem with a gang of cold Cereal Killers. Since then, rumors have surfaced that they've gone to their hideout at Camp Moses in the mountains of Russell, Massachusetts.  Fortunately, we've just gotten word that Master Sleuth Sherlock Holmes has agreed to join the investigation in what is likely to be known in the future as SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE CEREAL KILLERS.
Patrol Leaders, Scouts and Ventures: you should begin making preparations for the weekend of JANUARY 16 AND 17.  Scout Skills will be necessary to help Mr Holmes solve this mystery. In order to confound the Cereal Killer Gang, we'll be using Scout Skills from 100 years ago, such as sending messages by signal flag or Morse Code. Patrol Leaders should contact Venture Leader Greg Hannon for more on what kind of skills will be necessary.
Important: On this trip, Patrols can choose to either camp in tents or build cool shelters like the one Mr Carr and Tim slept in on our last campout at the American Legion Forest. He says he was pretty comfortable, but was sorry he forgot his mosquito don't forget yours. Watch for more campout details!

Click here for the Mission Impossible flyer and permission slip.