In our neck of the woods, there are few recreational ideas that stimulate more scout and parental interest than visiting the historic Yankee Stadium in the Bronx! Recently, Troop 353 sponsored a visit to the historic house that Babe Ruth built and invited local Cub Scout Pack 7 and all parents alike. The response was overwhelming, as our group quickly reached a maximum allowable number of participants at 60 strong! The timing for a stadium tour was good as the construction on the new 51,000 seat Yankee Stadium (next door) has begun and hopefully will be completed in time for the 2009 season.
There is an incredible amount of history at Yankee Stadium, which opened its doors on 4-18-23 with a 4-1 win over the Red Sox before a crowd of over 74,000! Babe Ruth, acquired from the Red Sox three years earlier, hit the first home run in the Stadium that day. With 26 World Series titles, more than any other professional sports team anywhere, the Stadium is a virtual mini-Hall of Fame that any baseball fan could appreciate.
The tour included a stop in the massive Press Box, a visit to historic Monument Park, and ended with a lengthy stay in the dugout. All along the way, our tour guide offered a non-stop dialogue of interesting facts and recounting of historic moments. The grass in the baseball field looked like a golf course! And when sitting in the dugout, it was very easy to imagine what it would be like during a real professional game. Many a face were either in awe or in a daydream mode! For more information on Yankee Stadium and the rich history of the Pinstripes, go to http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/nyy/ballpark/index.jsp
Unquestionably, this was the troop’s most popular event of the scouting year and one that reinforced some special father-son bonding in a special way. For more great photographs, click here.
Recently nearly 20 scouts and parents from Troop 353 volunteered their time to help beautify the grounds of the Graymoor Monastery. After spending the day clearing weeds, brush and undergrowth, there was time (and energy!) for a variety of fun sporting activities. As well, the older scouts were able to give a successful demonstration on how to prepare a dutch oven treat! (Note from the Webmaster: it was truly delicious!) The camp site on the Graymoor Monastery grounds was fantastic, where also the Applachian Trail cuts through the property nearby.
The scouts worked very hard during a beautiful weekend to clear a substantial amount of weeds, brush and small trees and their roots on a steep slope near the main entrance. The ultimate goal of planting hundreds of wild flowers on a cleared-out slope was achieved through substantial physical labor. (Note from Webmaster: we were beat, especially the “old goats patrol.”) Brother Ted, our liason with the Monastery, was surprised (and quite pleased!) at how much work was accomplished that Saturday. Despite the strenuous work, our scouts remained “cheerful” and appeared quite gratified in their accomplishments!
Brother Ted also gave us a very personal tour of his 9-11 Memorial Garden, which was constructed after the tragic WTC disaster. Materials found from the WTC site were used to construct a large Cross. Needless to say, many people from all faiths from all over the world frequent this holy garden for quiet moments of prayer and reflection. Troop 353 is proud to have helped beautify the area nearby. A scout is helpful & reverent! For more photos of the weekend at Graymoor Monastery, click here.
If there is on thing that boys of all ages love, it is a bonfire! Recently, Troop 353 Eastchester in conjunction with Cub Scout Pack 7 in Tuckahoe, sponsored their first ever recruitment bonfire on a brisk Friday night in late April. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts alike performed several funny skits. Our SPL and ASPL, Daniel A. and Connor M., led the crowd in singing a few songs, as did Troop 353 committee member Mike W. Pack 7 Cubmaster Michael P. and Troop 353 Scoutmaster Tom M. gave overviews of Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting to eager parents and interested youngsters.
The best part however, was the scouting presentation by two of Westchester Putnam Council’s premier Indian Lore experts, John G. and Denise G., aka Lady Hawk. Their full native American costumes were fabulous and their message to the children highly effective! Even our district executive for the Four Rivers district, Carlos R. paid a visit and gave parents a brief synapsis of the fun scouting activities often pursued.
Even the older scouts from Troop 353’s venture crew assisted in the evening’s festivities. These experienced scouts showed the younger scouts how to build a fire in a “Leave No Trace” manner. Six inches of top soil was put on top of a tarp and the bonfire was built atop the dirt-covered tarp. Cleanup was easy, though the ground was still damp the next morning from extinguishing the fire.
A special thanks to the Village of Tuckahoe for delivering considerable free firewood to this event. Additionally, John D. of Pack 7 led a considerable parental effort to provide substantial food and treats for everyone to enjoy! All in all, it was a wonderful and fun event that should help boost Cub Scout recruitment efforts considerably this September. For more fun photos of the event, including many happy children, click here!
Recently a small group of mainly older scouts ventured out for a stenuous hike on the Breakneck Ridge Trail in the Hudson Highlands State Park. Although the hiking maps showed a likely steep ascent, the magnitude of the pitch was even more intimidating in its actual appearance. However, the trail was not as bad as it first appeared and about every 200 feet of elevation there was a spot for resting and enjoying the view. The trailhead begins at the Hudson River and winds its way nearly straight up mulitple rock facings until one reaches the peak at about 1100 feet. There were multiple scenic view points along the way as evidenced by numerous spectacular photographs. After lunch, our hardy crew headed back down the backside of the ridge along the Breakneck trail bypass.
Along the way, we came across a small swamp with thick reeds atop the mountain with numerous loud, chirping frogs–a unique and unexpected ecosystem that was thriving with life. The area was also ripe for major bird watching, with several different species spotted along the way. In the distance, about 3 miles to the Northeast of the top of the ridge one could view South Beacon Mountain and an abandoned watchtower, where one reportedly can view NYC, some 40 miles south. In the Hudson River below, hikers could view Pollepel Island, home of the Bannerman Castle. Francis Bannerman built a castle simulated after his home country of Scotland and used the island as a major storage facility for his highly successful munitions business. Pollepel Island has a rich history, for more information, see http://www.bannermancastle.org/history.html.
All in all, participants agreed that the strenuous hike was well worth the effort and each agreed that they look forward to a return visit. Maybe next time, our group can make the South Beacon Mountain Tower….Enjoy the pics!
Manning two tables filled with coffee, juice and dougnuts – as well as hand-outs on Scouting – a hardy band of Scouts, Webelos and adult leaders braved a blustery morning at Immaculate Conception Church on Scout Sunday, March 25th. The goal was simple: to let church-goers know about all the great activities of Cub Scout Pack 7 and Troop 353 and to recruit new members. There was plenty of enthusiasm as boys, parents, and grandparents stopped by the tables to talk about Scouting and get more information. Several Scouts got up to read a short presentation after each Mass and received enthusiastic applause. Oh, and the doughnuts went fast too.
If there is one thing a scout likes to do just about any time of year it is swimming! During the winter months of February and March, Troop 353 took scouts to the Durland Swim Center in Rye, NY. The boys had a very fun time playing their version of Water Polo. Scouts passed their 2nd Class and 1st Class (BSA Swim Test) swimming requirements. Some even retook the BSA Swim Test just for the challenge! Clearly, the Water Polo game was the center of attention and considerable fun! Take a good look at the official Durland Swim Center sign–it may soon be a collector’s island, as our Council is in the midst of trying to sell the property. For more fun photos from swim night at Durland, click here!
Scouts of Troop 353 and visiting webelos from Pack 353 recently got a full scale appreciation of real life potential accidents that call for basic first aid skills. All scouts were split into 5 patrols and each patrol sent one of its members to one of five different mini-classes (splints, burns & hypothermia, snake/insect bites & scratches, ankle/arm / head wraps & CPR). As the boys were brought together, each patrol was assigned to go find a “missing” scout and administer first aid. The mini-class instructors observed the scouts administering first aid to the “injured scout campers.”
For example, one scenario outlined how a scout started running toward his tent from the campfire area, tripped on a rock, hit his head on another rock and endured a 2nd degree burn when his hand theoretically went into the fire. Yet another scenario highlighted a scout theoretically slipping on a rock in a nearly dried up creek bed while backpacking, twisting his ankle and cutting his hand on the fall. A combination of camping gear props, theatrical makeup and a very realistic scenario behind each “injured scout camper” created a lasting impression for the scouts that should reinforce the importance of administering first aid with a “cool head” for a variety of common injuries.
Of course, the boys also found time to play one of their favorite team games, “steal the bacon.”
Many more pictures from that troop meeting can be found here.