Shohola scouts enjoy the many benefits of summer camp

| 18 Aug 2015 | 06:10

This past July, 20 boy scouts of Shohola Troop 76, along with adult leaders, spent a week at Goose Pond Scout Reservation (GSPR), located in Lake Ariel.

According to Ron Miller, Assistant Scoutmaster, despite the intense heat experienced during the initial two days, the weather was perfect. He reported that the boys kept very busy balancing their merit badge sessions with free time programs.

Free time programs consisted of, but were not limited to a number of opportunities that involved nature, boating, fishing, shooting sports, swimming and climbing. One of the most memorable activities involved the Polar Bear Swimming Challenge, which took place each morning. This challenge entailed getting up at the crack of dawn and going for a swim in the lake for a set period of time, prior to morning colors.

The troop, led by acting Senior Patrol Leader Jacob Barth, worked together to achieve several camp awards. Each of the troop’s patrols won a Green Bar Award, which is an honor award for troop and patrol spirit. The troop also garnered the Green Beaver Award for conservation, as well as taking first place in the camp wide Adventure Race.

For the younger scouts, who are often first time campers, GSPR offers a Pathways Program. This program is designed for new scouts who are not yet of the Tenderfoot rank and need to work on all, or subsequently all, of the New Scout Requirements. Two younger troop members took advantage of this program and did very well. On the whole, approximately 62 merit badges were earned during this week.

The scouts agreed collectively that it was an extremely positive experience. Members offered comments regarding the helpfulness of the camp staff and that they found the activities to be a lot of fun.

Gavin Brazanskas, First Class Scout, commented that he found GPSR to be “better than ever.”

He figured that it may have been due to his getting older, as he noticed that he “was able to do more than the last time.”

The troop had attended summer camp at that location, two years ago.

Brazanskas went on to comment, “it was great being able to get out and have so many opportunities for good times and memories.”

Abhay Byadgi, Life Scout, stated that “From the second I arrived, I felt that familiar feeling that I only get at camp. I knew it was going to be another great time.”

He quipped “the smell of the great outdoors and the latrines filled the air.”

Byadgi became serious and continued, “this year gave the scouts, my age, the chance to step up as leaders.”

Herb Rinkel, Scoutmaster of the troop noted that he was a bit apprehensive about attending summer camp, this year. His apprehension, he reflected, was relative to the fact that the troop had a number of older boys ‘age out’ this past spring.

The older boys had recently graduated high school and are on their way to college. In addition to the older scouts who have graduated from high school, two other scouts, who currently hold leadership positions within the troop have ironically taken summer jobs as camp counselors at local scout reservations.

These scouts were not able to camp with the troop this past summer, due to their work responsibilities. In preparation for this situation, Rinkel personally and proactively conducted BSA Leadership Program sessions for interested Troop 76 scouts during a number of scout meetings, over the past year. Several of these scouts have also recently attended the BSA National Youth Leadership Training program. He concluded that the younger boys stepped up effortlessly into leadership positions and did a fantastic job.

Rinkel stated that personally experiencing this leadership growth and maturity of these scouts had truly fortified his opinion that the Boy Scouts of America leadership training programs are a great resource for leadership development.

Lastly, the parents and scouts of Troop 76 would like to express their very sincere appreciation to their excellent adult leaders who selflessly volunteered their own personal time to spend the week at camp with them.