If there is one thing that scouts love to do, other than building a big fire, it is shooting .22 caliber rifles! On a very cold day in early December, troop 353 had a large turnout of eager marksmen (and women!) drive over to Camp Bullowa in Rockland County for a day of rifle shooting. As a testament to the venue’s popularity, every year this event turns out to be one of the most heavily attended, and despite the often frigid conditions. Our troop is fortunate in that we have a relationship with the very generous J. Burkhardt, an executive associated with the NRA, and that the Hudson Valley Boy Scout Council allows us to use their rifle range at Camp Bullowa free of charge. Mr. Burkhardt provides the small bore rifles, the ammunition and eye & ear protection. Last year, 15 scouts shot more than 7,000 rounds of ammo. This year, two dozen scouts and several adults (including one mom!) easily exceeded last year’s total ammo fired. In a shooting contest, top sharpshooters included Andrew H., Michael W., and Matthew S.
Given the large number of young scouting participants & a limited number of open slots on the firing range, troop leaders opted to complement the shooting with advancement activities. Many scouts brought completed 2nd Class (identify 10 kinds of wild animals) and 1st Class (identify 10 kinds of native plants) requirements with them. Other scouts brought along their recently prepared first aid kit. While not shooting, SPL Conor M. and ASPL Thomas M. assisted the troop instructors (Sean W., Matthew S. & Brad M.) & troop guide (Daniel A.) in teaching groups of young scouts other basic scouting skills: how to build a fire, how to prepare kindling and tinder, gas stove safety precautions, lashing, knot tying and safe hiking rules. One of older scouts even completed a cooking requirement for Camping merit badge using backpacking stoves, by preparing a hot lunch for his patrol! It was a fun and productive day for all! For more great photos, click here.