Archive for the ‘Scouts’ Category

Summer Camps ’10

Posted: August 13, 2010 in Camp, Church, Scouts, Sports

It was another busy summer camp year for the boys!

Jake spent the first week of the summer at the YMCA’s camp Wakanda Teen Adventure program. As one of the older kids there, he got to help guide some of the younger ones and help with activities.

Josh had about three days off after school ended before he eagerly headed off to North Woods for 4 weeks as an LIT.

He spent a good part of his time at camp on the waterfront. The Life Guard certification was a good challenge for him and he was up to the task! He proudly returned home with Guard and CPR certification.

He did mange to have some fun too! As this was year six for him at North Woods, he renewed a lot of friendships and made some new ones as well. He got in some soccer and some camp-craft activities along the way!

Half way through Josh’s stint, Jake arrived at North Woods for his fifth year at camp and his first year in the Senior section. Like Josh, he had a lot of fun with friends new and old.

Josh came home for about five hours before leaving for Kentucky with 30+ other members of our church on their annual mission trip! In Beatyville, they worked with the Lee County Habitat for Humanity team to help with the construction of a community center and church. They slept in the town’s old jail!

They worked hard through the week – painting, laying tile, installing sheet rock – all in excessive heat and humidity. They also learned a lot about the people they were with and those they were helping. It was a great experience!

The same day that Josh arrived home from Kentucky, Jake departed for a week at Storer Scout Reservation. He’d missed the week that his own troop would attend but signed up for a week with the “Provisional” troop along with his buddy Brendan.

Unfortunately… Brendan would come down with strep and return home early. But jake stuck it out on his own, had a fun time making new friends, enjoying the summer sun, and earning three merit badges: First Aid, Swimming, and Orienteering!!

Both kids went to soccer camp again at Soccer Plus‘s camp at Northfield Mt. Herman school.

Once again, thy were reunited with a few old friends, made a few new friends, and worked hard on some soccer skills! They make great roommates.

By the middle of August, everyone was ready to be home. We’ve got a few weeks at home before school starts – just enough time for some family bonding!

Summer Camps ’09

Posted: August 10, 2009 in Camp, Scouts, Sports

It was a summer full of camps for both Jake and Josh this year!  They spent four and five weeks, respectively, away from home and on their own!  Left our place strangely quiet…

It all started July 12 when we dropped Joshua off for four weeks at North Woods Camp. This would be Josh’s fifth year there and he’d decided he wanted to go for TWO two-week sessions this year. He really seems to fit in there – and a had a few friends from North Reading along as well.

Josh knew a number of councilors and kids from previous years – including his cabin buddies Eric, also from North reading, and Sam.

One week later, John deposited Jacob at T.L. Storer Scout Camp for a week of scouting fun. This would be Jake’s second year at Storer and he had the game pretty much figured out. No tornadoes this year and the weather allowed him to complete work on FIVE merit badges (Forestry, Pulp & Paper, Woodcarving, Basketry, and Leatherwork) during the week!  John would return to camp Friday morning to enjoy the final day of camp and the closing campfire and spend the last night at camp before hauling a tired but happy Jake home on Saturday. 

Troop 750 won “Honor Troop” recognition for it’s participation and site upkeep efforts.

Here’s Jake with his tent-mate Brendan. For the first time in recorded history, the Troop also won the coveted Magee Cup – a relay race including running, biking, and kayaking. Jake ran the first leg for the winning team!

Jake got home from Scout Camp, dumped his trunk, refilled it with clean clothes, and headed back up to Winnipesaukee the following morning. We picked up Josh at North Woods and enjoyed some time in Wolfeboro as a family before dropping Joshua back at camp and setting up Jake there as well. We had nice lunch at one of the restaurants on the Winnipesaukee shore.

The guys spent Session 3 together at at North Woods and, by all accounts, it was a great time. This would be Jake’s fourth year at North Woods and they really scored some of the best weather of the summer in this session and that meant a lot of time outside and at the waterfront – always a recipe for fun!

Josh served as a Swim Mentor both sessions. As an older swimmer with advanced skills, he was paired with a younger swimmer to help demonstrate technique, lead drills, etc. Good experience all around!

Jake’s “Self Portrait with Manhole” won the award for “Best Picture” for the third session. He had a lot of fun in the photography activity where he not only took the picture during a trip into Wolfeboro but also developed the film and made the print!

When we returned to camp at the end of Session 3, we found Jake hanging with a bunch of new friends. Josh, on the other hand, had wondered off to the girl’s camp next door! The guys came home dirty and tired with lots of fun experiences to tell about!  They have a lot of fun at North Woods and can’t wait to go back again next year! 

We once again replenished the guys’ laundry and then sent them off the next day to soccer camp as run by Soccer Plus on the campus of Northfield Mt. Hermon School. This was Joshua’s third year of Goalkeeper training with Soccer Plus and Jake’s second year in their Striker program.

Though camp started off a bit gray with drizzle the first evening, the weather turned hot and humid – typical New England summer – and the boys got a lot of field time! Poor Josh took a pretty good toasting from the sun on the first full day buy lived to tell about it.

They stay in the school’s dormitories and use the cafeteria and fields. Josh and Jake shared a room and looked after each other  sharing pizza ordering and laundry duties! Judging by the cell phone updates sent home, they had a blast!

Both guys seemed to really enjoy the soccer work too. They’re evaluations at the end of the session both said they worked hard and did well. Jake was praised for his speed and Josh for his keeper skills.  Both want to go back again – that’s a victory for sure!

In the end, it was a long hard run for the boys. They were pretty burnt by the time they came home on August 14th. They’d had a blast, met new friends, learned new skills… But were glad to be back home! And mom and dad were pretty happy to have them home too! Ain’t summer grand?

The King and Jake

Posted: May 9, 2009 in Scouts

Turns out that His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is not only a yachting enthusiast, but he’s also the Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation – the worldwide fellowship and fund raising arm of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

So, when the Volvo Ocean Race came to the port of Boston just as the 100th anniversary of Scouting in the USA approaches, it was an obvious chance to tie some things together.  300 Scouts and Scouters from the Boston area were invited to represent the Boy Scouts of America at a pancake breakfast with Baden-Powell Fellows from around the world. Jacob and John were honored to be among them.

16 Scouts from the local Troop assembled early on a Saturday morning for the trip into Boston.

Not only did we get to have breakfast with His Majesty and some of the world’s largest contributors to Scouting, but we also got to enjoy a Q&A with some of the crew members and see the boats sail off from the dock for a day of in-harbor racing.

Among the dignitaries present was Crown Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed of Saudi Arabia who a was on hand to present the World Scouting Foundation with a check for $3 million!!  Clearly, this is a rich man’s sport.

It was all a very cool experience!

Local Scouters Honored

Posted: April 30, 2009 in Scouts

John and a couple of his local Scouting buddies were honored at the annual Flintlock District Recognition dinner held April 29 at the Minuteman Club, Hanscom Air Force Base in Lexington.

Jeff Anderson, Scoutmaster for the local Troop, was honored as “Boy Scout Leader of the Year” for his 17 years of service. Tony O’Brien was presented with the “District Award of Merit” for his multiple years of service first with Cubs,  Scouts, and the District. And John was presented with a District Service Award for his efforts as the North Reading Unit Commissioner and as a presenter for the annual Friends of Scouting drive.

It was a fun night out and an honor to be recognized!

Ward Reservation 08

Posted: November 9, 2008 in Scouts

The Scout Troop headed for the Charles Ward Reservation again this fall. Jake loaded up like a mule and bravely took on the challenging hike.

Unlike last year, when it was freezing cold but dry, this year was unseasonably warm but there was rain in the forecast.

Undaunted, the scouts got their site well set up and got in all of their activities on a relatively dry afternoon. What rains did come arrived after they’d retired for the night and were done by daybreak. Jake had a good time, completed some advancement requirements, and might have even gotten some sleep!  Wahooo!!

Mass Jam ’08

Posted: October 13, 2008 in Scouts

On the Friday night of Columbus Day weekend, Troop 750 held its fall court of honor at which Jacob was presented the merit badges he’d earned at summer camp – his first ever!

Filled with Scouting Spirit, jake made a last minute decision to join the Troop for MassJam ’08, a huge encampment of over 7,000 scouts from all over Massachusetts and even a few from surrounding states. Throughout the weekend, scouts competed in traditional activities including pioneering, orienteering, first aid, and riflery as well as special “challenge” events like mountain boarding and the challenge wall.

Jab had a blast bunking with buds, cooking hot dogs and beans, and generally, doing Scout stuff.

What an awesome event!

Scout Tsunami 08

Posted: July 27, 2008 in Camp, Scouts

OK, maybe it wasn’t that bad. But the week that John and the boys spent at T.L. Storer Scout Reservation this summer has got to go down on record as some of the worst summer camp weather ever: rain, thunderstorms, even a tornado!!

Twenty-five boys and three leaders would head to the Barnstead, NH camp on a Sunday morning and arrive to a nice sunny day. We passed our swim tests and settled in for a week of camp.  When the first night’s opening campfire was moved indoors and then extended to keep folks in the dining hall while the “severe” thunderstorms passed, we should have known!

Monday was a rainy day but we got most of our activities in. Tuesday actually had some sunny breaks. Wednesday was another complete day of rain and Thursday, the tornado arrived. Yup, tornado. Of course, we thought it was just another squall and didn’t realize that a path of destruction had been laid down only a mile and a half from camp until panicked parents began calling to check on campers.

Friday actually dawned bright and sunny and, despite being cut off from the world by tree-blocked roads, we had a great day and caught up on a lot of missed activities.

This was Jacob’s first year at Boy Scout camp.  He participated in the Trailblazer program, completing many Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class rank requirements, and also earned both Art and Sculpture merit badges through his diligent work at the Handicraft area in the afternoons.

Joshua took on the challenging Canoeing merit badge as well as Art and Geology and completed them all with flying colors!

John spent his rainy mornings on the waterfront completing his BSA Lifeguard trainiing – a certfication he wanted for future troop canoe trips and such.

We finished things up with the final campfire on Friday night. Jake and Josh even joined John on the stage as he led the camp in a cheer he’d learned his first summer at scout camp in 1972!

Rain and all, it was a good time. The three guys had some fun adventures together – such as at the shotgun range where Jake and Josh each fired their first shotgun shells – and dad got to watch them doing fun stuff.  He was quite proud of his boys and thankful for the opportunity to spend a week in the (soggy) woods with them!!

Give Me Liberty!

Posted: June 29, 2008 in Scouts

Jake, Josh, and John lit off with the Boy Scout Troop to the City of Philadelphia at the end of June!  17 Scouts and five leaders departed Friday morning in two large rented vans packed tightly with camping gear and junk food.

They camped at Valley Forge – much like General Washington’s troops only a whole lot warmer! (OK, actually it was in a grove behind the Volunteer Fire Department.) Their first evening consisted mostly of riding out a thunderstorm that brought torrential rains and strong wind gusts. But, other than a washed out tent or two and a few damp sleeping bags, all was well.  On Saturday, they spent the day touring the historical sights of downtown Philly. They saw the (broken!) Liberty Bell

And they visited Independence Hall where it all began…

They also saw Washington Square and the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, Ben Franklin’ house, and a few other historical sites before a trip to Pat’s Steaks for a Philly favorite, and a return to Valley Forge where they toured the ramparts and huts and enjoyed a film at the visitors center.

Only time will tell how much Josh and Jake got out of the trip but, for John, standing in Independence Hall with his sons at his side, hearing the story of the Second Continental Congress, in the very room where our Nation was formed…  Was pretty darn cool.


Posted: May 4, 2008 in Family, Scouts

On the morning of May 4, North Reading’s Hillview Country Club hosted Pack 731‘s annual Blue & Gold Banquet – the culmination of the Cub Scouting year.

The year was very special for us as Jacob, who has been a hard working and dedicated Scout since joining as a Tiger, was awarded The Arrow of Light – Cub Scouting’s highest honor – and made the symbolic crossover from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.  We’re all VERY proud of him!!

All of the cubs at the event had a great time enjoying the buffet and the karaoke and dancing that followed.  Here’s the whole tribe with Jake and his buddy Nathan, who else completed his crossover, on the bridge in back.  What a herd!!

This was also a bit of a crossover for John as he’ll be ending his direct association with the Pack. Though he’ll still be involved in his role as Unit Commissioner, he’s passed the Cubmaster reins on to his pal Bonnie who has put her own spin on things… She’s great!!

USS Salem

Posted: March 30, 2008 in Scouts

Some time ago, John & Joshua had spent a night on the USS Salem. So when the Cub Pack decided it was time to go back and Jacob said he wanted to go, how could dad say no?

So Jacob and John packed up and headed for Quincy! 

We toured the ship’s museums, participated in knot tying, engine room tours, fingerprinting, stretcher races, fire fighting training, scavenger hunts, and other fun activities. We enjoyed a movie after dinner, had a blast crawling over the guns, slept peacefully in a big bunk room (thanks to our earplugs), and generally had a great time.