Every troop has its traditional outings. For Troop 353, it is the annual winter outing in January to Ten Mile River (TMR) Scout Ranch in the southern part of the Catskills. The range of outdoor activities in this winter wonderland are more numerous than you might imagine: snow ball fights, sledding, snowshoeing, quinzee-building, snow skiing, and even ice-fishing! And even in years when snow is not as abundant most of these activities are still possible. This cabin campout is a clearly a troop favorite and you can see when viewing the pictures.
The typical schedule involves a 2.5 hour drive to TMR, dropping the gear in the 2 cabins and rushing to our snowshoeing / hiking destination near the Delaware River. After 3 hours on the trail, the troop comes back to the cabin for a quick lunch and then the ice fishing instruction by long-time troop friend Ray Evans ensues. The scouts have a few hours of sunlight to try and catch a fish, but mostly skate across the frozen pond in metal chairs, aka “chair curling”. The scouts often seem puzzled about the effectiveness of the small bait fish used, as they are literally frozen! The grand Thanksgiving feast, a flag retirement ceremony, perhaps a skit or two and then a late night cracker barrel cap a day full of fun activities! Many (but not all!) scouts typically have no problem falling asleep Saturday night against the backdrop of a warm fireplace glow.
Perhaps it is the fact that the scouts do not do have to do much to prepare meals for this trip (adult-led Thanksgiving feast) or that the cabins are heated with full kitchens and bathrooms or the ability to play board games (Risk!) late at night or the special respectful flag retirement ceremony; or maybe it is the ice sledding on the lake, or maybe it is the whole weekend!! The biggest challenge is always cleaning up Sunday morning and apportioning unmarked clothing that scouts leave laying around. Unquestionably, it is a very fun event and remains one of the scout’s and scout leader’s favorite outings of the year!
As a testament to HOW much fun the trip can be, the recent Scout of the Year winner, Andy M, created a wonderful 5 minute video highlighting the recent 2014 trip — it is full of great clips of our scouts having a blast ==> Awesome TMR video 2014!