With the start of the program year in September of 2016, Troop 128 began action packed season that featured a 50-mile bike ride, a colonial fort, several Eagle and service projects, a zombie attack, an incredible hike on the Appalachian Trail, and overnight stay on a frigate. It is no surprise, therefore, that Troop 128 once again achieved Gold-level status for its BSA Journey to Excellence assessment.
Five Overnight Adventures
One of the most important aspects of a Gold-level troop is its outdoor program. From September to December, the Scouts of Troop 128 had five overnighters. In September, we visited we camped at Fort Frederick State Park and biked Western Maryland Rail Trail for a 50 mile round trip. October featured three –YES, THREE! – camping trips that challenged the Scouts in different ways. One trip was the Zombie Apocalypse Camporee where we learned about first aid and emergency preparedness. Another trip found two crews of Troop 128 backpackers (the novice crew and the High Adventure crew) taking separate treks on the Appalachian Trail. Our third overnighter found us camping in the middle of downtown McLean as part of our annual service project for the McLean ArtFest. While the calendar did not permit another event in November, December found us swinging in 19th century hammocks onboard the USS Constellation in Baltimore Harbor.
Other Outdoor Activities – Fun and Service
Camping was not our only outdoor fun. The season featured two Eagle Projects, Scouting for Food, and running the archery station for the Cub Scout Camporall. We were also proud of two T128 Scouts who WON the Maryland Orienteering Day competition. And in November, a group of us ascended Signal Knob on a ten-mile hike for the last of the fall colors.
Scouting events yield more than fun. Every event provides opportunities for our older Scouts to learn and demonstrate leadership, while younger Scouts gain the necessary experience to advance in rank. Their individual efforts this past fall have helped them grow and prepare for life, and ensured that Troop 128 achieved its Gold-level rating for the Journey to Excellence. Good job, Scouts!