Our scouting year coincides with the school year, so we always plan a blow-out canoe trip bash at the end of June. This end-of-year paddling extravaganza is extremely popular with our troop as guests and family are invited and alumni scouts often come out for the day. It is not uncommon for us to have over 30 canoes and kayaks spread out along the Delaware River–it looks something like a Spanish Armada…except with water fights! Getting everyone (including the many adults) paddle-ready, means lots of prep work: BSA Swim test, Safety Afloat, Safe Swim Defense, review required equipment and parts of canoe and various strokes, and an actual paddle practice at a nearby lake.
Paddling down the Delaware River gap is indeed a national treasure. The area is full of wildlife. In addition to fish, we have seen deer, black bears and numerous eagles & hawks! One year, several of us paddled through a massive 20 minute down pour–which was nothing short of exhilarating (except for the pesky flies afterwards). There are plenty of places along the way to stop and enjoy lunch or a swim and it is not uncommon for scouts to spend more time out of the canoes than IN the canoes. Typically, the other big challenge is ensuring the scouts drink enough water to stay hydrated under the summer sun.
At the end of the day, our caravan motors over to a nearby campsite at Ten Mile River scout camp where the scent of bug spray replaces the smell of sunscreen! It is our tradition to have a yearend “spoof” awards at our post-dinner bonfire, recalling some of the funnier moments of many individuals during the prior 12 months. The Annual Frank McCluskey Friendship Outing is destined to be a favorite for years to come! Pictures say a 1000 words about how much fund this trip really is to everyone! Here are great pictures from 2011 and 2012!