Although only a few scouts participated in our annual backpacking event in nearby Harriman State Park in early June, those that did had the memory of a lifetime. The weather was nearly ideal and not nearly has hot & humid as the year before. Our mini-trek’s lunch-time destination was Lemon Squeezer, where cool moist breezes characterize a labyrinth of rock formations. This area within Harriman St. Park is a natural magnet for adventurous hikers and backpackers alike. Our particularly curious scouts discovered a hidden entrance to a small cave and sought refuge in the coolness of the rock’s natural formation. Reluctant to leave this near-oasis, our group loaded up and headed out for our evening destination. Former Scoutmaster Don Wauchope led our hearty group to the targeted campsite with great purpose. Though our group began to get stretched out along the trail, the long hike up the mountain was soon forgotten upon arrival to a truly magnificent campsite nestled on a high ridge with an incredibly panoramic view of the river below. A dual-fireplaced lean-to also served as a major lookout tower. A rock cliff gave rise to climbing opportunities, that ASM Mike Dobbins soon discovered was best conquered with adequate safety precautions. Fortunately, a long-rope prevented him from sleeping on the side of the mountain that night and led to an opportunity to explain to the scouts later the values of knowing how to tie the Bowline knot! The stunning campsite was so popular and amply spacious that our crew shared it with two other camping parties. A full moon that night made for one of the more memorable camping experiences ever experienced by this old-timer! .
In mid-June several troops were invited by the Eastchester Historical Society to participate in the dedication of a new flag pole at the One Room Marble School House, erected in 1835. It was a small event, by community standards, with about 30 people total, but was well represented by Troop 353. In honor of the newly dedicated flag pole, the Scouts hoisted the American Flag and led the crowd of appreciative onlookers in the pledge of allegiance. Following a few brief dedications by local dignitaries, the local VFW provided a 3-gun salute. It was a small, but meaningful, way for Troop 353 scouts to serve their community! More great pics here.
With the growing sensitivity to preserving our environment, the town of Eastchester embarked on an ambitious day-long exhibition highlighting conservation and environmentally-friendly practices in our community. Not surprisingly, both girl and boy scout troops were invited to set up display booths highlighting conservation-minded projects. The timing dovetailed perfectly with Life Scout David Q’s recently completed Eagle Leadership Project. David led the troop, as part of a much larger effort orchestrated by the Tuckahoe Village, in a cutting-edge project to measure the tree canopy of the Village of Tuckahoe. Training our scouts on how to document the health and size of the trees owned by the Village was the primary focus of David’s project. The tree canopy project itself has proven to have clear economic benefits that have been well-documented in other like studies in California and in the far East. As well, ASM & Eagle Scout Thomas McNamara helped lead the Pledge of Allegiance in the opening flag ceremony that morning. Troop 353 scouts, adequately trained by David Q., fielded many visitors throughout the day inquiring about the nature of the unique tree canopy project. Next year, it is the great hope of the 4 Rivers District Boy Scout Executives, that additional local Boy Scout troops will “be prepared” to participate in this significant community event! More great pics here.
After having recently revisited the Delaware River recently on the troop’s annual winter outing, I am reminded of some of our troop’s acquatic activities during the warmer months of May & June! Every year our troop journeys to the Poconos for an ultra-fun day of white water rafting. The trip is open to all family members and friends, so we typically have a large group. Massive water fights on the river are inevitable. And since several scout troops often participate in this event, it is not uncommon to assist another raft full of scouts that may have over-turned. To encourage the development of the right core values of scouting, we require all scouts to generate 20 hours of community service hours in order to qualify for participating in this fun day-trip. Evidently, given the consistently large turnout, the price of admission is well worth it! More great photos here!