Troop 353 Enters Space Race

Troop 353 entered the space race in May, as scouts built their own air and water-powered rockets and blasted them off into the night sky at Parkway Oval field.

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Good Turn Coffee Fundraiser

It’s that time of year again! Our local Boy Scout troop has been working tirelessly to participate in a *BRAND NEW* and *EXCITING* fundraiser that can be found online at http://www.goodturn.coffee. Simply put, we realized that popcorn is just not something most people are interested in buying. This year, we asked ourselves, “how could we get people to help us raise money, while also giving them something they want?” We found our answer in coffee! How would you feel if I told you that you could change the lives of boy scouts just by changing where you buy your everyday cup of coffee from? Well, now you can, and we’re proud to roll out this amazing fundraiser. It’s something that everybody can get behind. 

We wanted to make this as simple and accessible as possible, so we gave you the power of choice: you can choose between ground coffee *or* K-Cups, express shipped right to your door. It’s a win-win for everyone! You pay below market price for high quality coffee, while the boy scouts get 100% of the proceeds as a donation. What more could anyone ask for? All the money you spend on coffee can now be spent philanthropically, and it’s now possible for you to seamlessly lend a hand in helping foster community, teamwork, adventure and character. 

There’s just one simple thing you need to do to help the boy scouts – upon checkout, enter our troop code: 0353-10709- XX (each scout has his own two-digit code to replace the final two Xs…)

We cannot tell you how excited we are to participate in this effort, and hope that http://www.goodturn.coffee becomes your main source for coffee! We kindly ask that you forward this post to any friends, family, and colleagues who you think would be interested in helping change the lives of the scouts in our community, and helping lay the groundwork for the future of America’s youth. Let’s make our scouts’ dreams come true, one cup at a time.

Scouts Endure Harsh Winter Conditions & Learn Firsthand About “Being Prepared”

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In late October, Troop 353 had the privilege of camping at the beautiful campsite North South Lake. Located in the Catskills, North South Lake is full of beautiful scenery of the mountains and water—but we would not appreciate this until Sunday morning. The troop first arrived at the park early Saturday morning, after a two hour car ride. Eager to set up and go on the hike, the boys began to setup camp under increasingly harsh weather conditions.  As the scouts were constructing their tents, it started to rain and the wind coming off the lake was accelerating. This rain eventually turned into fast falling, ie blowing, snow. Temperatures started to decrease further as the boys scrambled to finish setting up in +20 mph winds while trying to stay dry and warm.  It was definitely much colder than when we left the Tuckahoe Community Center.

After a quick lunch, we drove to the nearby trailhead. We were shocked by the extreme snow storm that was occurring just outside of our warm cars.  The wind was accelerating through a funnel-like formation and blowing as much as 30—40 mph.  Reluctant to get out of the sheltered cars, the boys eventually built up the courage to huddle together and start the hike through the somewhat snowy mountains.

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To the troop’s surprise, the wind and snow wasn’t as bad in the mountains. This was mainly due to the trees providing a nice protection from the elements. The boys stopped at various points in the steep mountains to admire the scenery, but it was near white-out conditions and we had no idea how scenic the viewing points were!   Although barely visible, the mountains and lake looked like something out of a movie–something that could only be experienced in real life.  It was brutally windy and cold.

After the hike, the boys came back to the camp to start Troop 353’s annual golden spatula cook-off contest.  Fire building was the #1 priority at that time as we were wet and very cold!  As tradition, there is a secret ingredient that the scouts don’t know about until they cook. This year’s ingredient was the tomatillo plant, a Mexican plant similar to a tomato. Three patrols took part in this event:  Dragon Ninjas / Wolverine Patrol, Phoenix Patrol, and the combined Sasquatch / Eagle Patrol

There were two parts to the cookout, dinner and dessert. The scouts competed with beautiful dishes such as a fancy macaroni & cheese and a steak plate with fried vegetables and the winning patrol (Sasquatch/ Eagle) topped it all off with a dutch oven cobbler!

After the cookout contest, the boys got ready for the long, cold night that they were about to face. The wind continued to howl and temperatures reached all time lows as the scouts tried to keep warm in their tents. Eventually they made it out alive in the morning. The morning showed hope for the boys as the sun came up and the sky was clear.  We could see snow on the mountain tops behind the park.  Temps were rising, though still freezing, and the wind was beginning to slow.

After cleaning up & packing up, we drove to the next drop off to take another hike along the famous Escarpment Trail. This hike was much more memorable for the scouts as it was warmer than the last one, and the views across the Hudson Valley were absolutely spectacular! Climbing up rugged rocks and terrain, the troop finally made it to one of the more scenic overlooks:  Artist Rock.  The sight was like none other!  Scouts looked speechless at the wonderful sight in front of them. We were at the top of the world looking down at God’s gift. The autumn colored trees topped it off.

In the end, this trip was definitely one of the troop’s best and we learned a lot about “being prepared”.  Scouts had a blast hiking the mountains in the snow and then viewing the spectacular world from on high. This is a memory the boys will definitely not forget!  We strongly encourage you to check out more incredible video clips and photos on this trip, by “clicking here”.

2016 Troop 353 Adirondacks High Adventure Trek

353Troop 353’s High Adventure Trek took place in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. The week-long trip started and ended at Summit Base Camp, located within the Camp Read Scout Reservation in Brant Lake, N.Y.  The High Adventure 5 Day Trek included a 2 ½ Day Backpacking and Hiking Trek and a 2 ½ Day Canoeing Trek in the Adirondack mountains covering over 44 miles.

What: High Adventure Trek out of Summit Base at Camp Read, Brant Lake, N.Y.

Where: High Peaks Backpacking (Mount Marcy) / Long Lake to Raquette River

When: Sunday, July 3rd – Saturday, July 10th

Who: Marcus, William DeKnatel (Adult), David, James, Gabriel, Alex, and Brian

Highlights:

  • Backpacking with a full backpacks weighing between 35-55 lbs.
  • Hiking straight up Lower Wolf Jaw Mountain on a water runoff trail to an elevation of over 4,200 ft.
  • Spending a day jumping and swimming in freezing water at Bushnell Falls followed by water bottle races and merit badge classes
  • Learning how to paddle your canoe straight during the first nine miles on Long Lake
  • Learning how to capsize your canoe and get back into it
  • “Portaging” or carrying your 45 lbs. canoe on your head along with your full backpack for over a mile to the next river entry point
  • Dealing with direct sun, high humidity, gnats, flies, mosquitos, and dragon flies during the 16-mile trek along Raquette River
  • 5 Days of drinking only from a lake, river or waterfall, and eating rehydrated food in foil packs
  • Zip lining into a pond performing many high wire acts and wipe outs
  • Getting car sick and slaphappy trying to find a place to have dinner near Summit Base
  • Sleeping in Hammocks
  • The crew earned Canoeing merit badge and earned partials for Backpacking and Hiking

Community Service — 23rd Annual Holiday Food Drive Benefits ECAP

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Our troop’s signature community service event is our annual food drive to benefit the local Eastchester Community Action Program (ECAP), which serves Bronxville, Tuckahoe & Eastchester.  In our largely middle class area, it is surprising how many families need food.  ECAP director Don Brown expressed how his initial disbelief about serving the community turned into a deeper appreciation after only one season, as over 200 families are typically served during the holiday season, and some families benefit from multiple meals in one day.

As Troop 353 has grown in size over the past few years, so have our scout’s combined food contribution efforts.  Each scout is tasked with placing 12 empty grocery bags (750 were donated by Trader Joe’s) in their neighborhood with a request to contribute non-perishable items to this worthy cause.  As the volume of food bags contributed continued to escalate over the years, so did the demand for an organized space to sort and store the food.  The solution arose in the form of an outstanding Eagle Project by Jason Chin, whereby he contributed several wire shelves on rollers as well as built shelves in the upstairs after-school/ recreational room.  (For more info about Jason’s project, check it out his written summary on the Eagles Nest page.)

Another indication of how big and popular this single night of massive food organization has become is the clearly growing number of non-registered adults that also eagerly volunteer.

Unquestionably, these nights are some of our troop’s proudest moments!  A very special thanks to one Mr. Michael William, the event’s founder and ever-passionate supporter!  Giving back to the community — a Scout is indeed Helpful!