By Jonathon L. Earle
Last June, Scouts of Troop 326 traveled to the Minnesota-Canada border, where they spent a week camping and canoeing on the boundary waters. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness includes over a million acres of wilderness. Streams, forests and glacial lakes create a rich ecosystem that is home to deer, beavers, moose, black bears and a wide variety of birds. The area offers excellent camping, hiking and fishing opportunities, especially for pike, bass and walleye.
Beyond its natural beauty, Boundary Waters offers a unique opportunity for Scouts to develop their outdoor skills and become leaders. After an intense day of canoeing, the scouts chose an island, which would become their home for the following week. Their camp was separate from the adult chefs, which allowed them to practice survival skills including cooking, boating, and fishing.
As scout Max Germann shared, “Our time has taught me to be better prepared, without basic necessities.”
Other Scouts have expressed similar sentiments.
“BW has changed the way I think about decision making: thinking more carefully about results,” said Jacob Earle. Abel Goodwin reflected the same, saying, “BW has helped me learn not to take the basics for granted.”
Teamwork and conflict resolution were skills the Scouts also developed while navigating the northern wilderness. Oliver Longenecker suggests that “BW has taught us that teamwork is essential, especially in difficult situations. Walter Hurley recalled, “BW has helped us develop a sense of conflict resolution.
Between lessons on necessity and teamwork, the troop enjoyed copious amounts of swimming, boating and show jumping, the latter being, according to Henry Hurley, a highlight of the trip. Such outdoor experiences have allowed Scouts, as Henry Pennington commented, “to focus on what really matters”.
In November, Scouts will use their outdoor experiences to hike the Appalachian Trail and explore the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico next summer.
Troop 326 meets Monday evenings at 7 p.m. at First Christian Church in Danville. Their Scout Leaders are Monte Owens, Stephen Davis, Vince Pennington, David May, Mike May, Mark Upton, Logan Germann, David Longenecker, Brent Williams, Jon Earle and Danny Goodwin.