The annual Diversity Hike of BSA’s San Gabriel Valley Council was conveniently held in Monrovia this year. Troop 147, ably led by its SPL, volunteered to be the color guard for the opening flag ceremony, and represented themselves well. After opening speeches by local dignitaries (including Monrovia’s mayor), our scouts and leaders started hiking a 5 mile loop through Monrovia. Hikers stopped at ten houses of worship along the way, and learned about others’ faiths. It was very interesting to hear from Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, and other faiths all in one day.
The San Gabriel Valley Council held their annual Scout Expo, but with a new name (“Youth Expo”) and a new location (the Rose Bowl). Troop 147 usually volunteers to run an activity booth, and this year, scouts and leaders put together an Art booth. Scouts from all over could earn their Art merit badge under the tutelage of Assistant Scoutmaster Todd Dirks. Mr. Dirks is an accomplished artist and art teacher at Pasadena High and the boys had a great time in his class. At a separate table, the younger Cub Scouts and Webelos had lots of fun earning their Art belt loop. Several Troop 147 scouts and parents helped out for hours in the hot sun and deserve a lot of credit for giving up a Saturday to help out. Our scouts also earned a few merit badges of their own – not only Art, but some earned Electricity, Chess, and Fingerprinting. Check out a few pictures…
Camporee is an annual event in which boys work as patrols, competing not only with the other two patrols of Troop 147, but also with about 350 scouts (about 50 patrols) from local cities in the Lucky Baldwin District of the San Gabriel Valley Council. This year’s events included first aid, knots & lashings, citizenship, knife & axe, firebuilding, orienteering, camping, cooking, rifle-shooting, and a mystery event. We had a great turnout of 20 scouts, and our three patrols (Mystery, Spartan, and Eagle) did great – even the newest scouts represented themselves admirably. The adult leaders in the troop also deserve some credit – they worked hard all day in the hot sun running the knife & axe skills event, and ran a safe, educational, and fun program. Check out the photos…
The troop headed to the Colorado River for an outstanding canoe trek. After passing through Hoover Dam security, we launched canoes from the base of the dam into the cool clear waters of the Colorado. Scouts canoed 25 miles downstream from Hoover Dam to Nelson’s Landing over three days. Spectacular scenery, dark caves, hot mineral springs, canyon climbs, a tour of a fish hatchery, a visit to a marina, some scout skills training, great campfires, and great food – there was so much to see and do, we can’t describe it all. Just look at the pictures!
Scouts spent a weekend in March camping at a great railroad museum in Perris. Boys worked on their railroading merit badge, in the process learning all about the past, present, and future of rail transportation. Special thanks go to our great merit badge counselor, tour guide, and camp and museum host for the weekend – Steve Pesante. Many of our new crop of scouts joined us for this one, and earned their very first merit badge. Every scout even got to drive a trolley car! Boys also did a great job setting up camp and cooking as patrols. There were some nervous scouts at night because a mountain lion attacked somebody nearby a few weeks ago (and escaped), but this fact helped make sure everyone obeyed the buddy system. We’re proud of the new scouts for doing so well on their first campout, and of the senior scouts for showing the new guys the ropes (figuratively & literally). Take a look at a few photos:
The troop returned to San Jacinto State Park for some amazing backpacking through the snow. Scouts had a lot of fun riding the Palm Springs Tram and at the top found a winter wonderland with heavy snow falling as they hiked. Scouts hiked for a couple of hours and set up camp in the deep snow at around 9,000 feet elevation. The boys really had to live the boy scout motto, “Be Prepared”, to stay warm, dry, and comfortable on this adventure. Check out the pictures!
The boy scout motto is “Be Prepared” and this trip was a good opportunity to live this. The scouts were looking forward to an exciting overnight bikepacking trip to a favorite camping spot in the Angeles National Forest. Although we knew that the road had been closed due to a recent forest fire, the USFS and Caltrans both assured us that the road up the canyon would be open bright and early Saturday. Alas, Saturday morning came and the authorities were mistaken. Troop 147, along with a troop from Huntington Beach (who drove all this way for a day hike) and many other hikers and bikers, were turned back at the San Gabriel Canyon Gateway Visitor Center. Instead of giving up, the boys decided to cycle in the opposite direction down the San Gabriel River trail to Santa Fe Dam. We very lucky – the Santa Fe Nature Center was open, and even better, we were welcomed to their volunteer appreciation breakfast where the boys enjoyed their pancakes, eggs, and sausages! Plus, members of the local Kizh (Gabrieleño) Indians were on hand for a special ceremony. The scouts were all treated to a ceremony where they were “smudged” with sage smoke in the Indian tradition. After this, boys worked on lots of scout skills such as backpacking stoves, knots, and animal tracking, led by their Scoutmaster and Senior Patrol Leader. The rest of the day was spent riding around Santa Fe Dam, working out on the various exercise equipment, and paddling around the lake in kayaks and paddleboats. Somehow the scouts saved energy for the ride back, with them biking at least 14 miles (that’s for the adults – the scouts rode more miles for the fun of it!). We’ll revisit our bikepacking trip sometime soon. More importantly, we’re proud of the scouts for turning a potential disappointment into an outing to remember.
For a highly unusual change, the troop skipped camping for the month of December. First time in many years. Instead, we took in excellent tours of one of LA’s marine fire departments. We had an amazing tour of the fire station and boats given by enthusiastic firefighters. Then, it got better – we had a tour of the USS Iowa given by the grandfather of two of our scouts. Mr. G. gave an up-close and personal tour of what it was like to live and work on the Iowa.
We also managed to squeeze in a quick look at the San Pedro Maritime Museum, and walk along the shorefront looking at various statues and memorials – very interesting. Check out the photos!
The cub scouts of Pack 66 and boy scouts of Troop 147 had a fun day of fishing on a beautiful day in late November. Scouts left from Long Beach harbor on the cozy fishing boat “Southern California”. The boat was filled to its capacity of 60 fisherman. The weather was perfect and the ocean was calm. The fish were biting – scouts caught mackerel, treefish, chuckleheads, sheepheads, and a lot of nice rockfish. We even had a visiting sea lion that ate a few fish right off the lines! Everyone had a great day of fishing (with some time for playing cards and watching the sea life), capped off with a beautiful sunset on the ocean before we returned to the lights of Long Beach.
The troop’s monthly campout featured something different in November. We camped at Lake Silverwood and worked with the Pacific Crest Trail Association to do maintenance work on a local section of the trail. The PCTA generously provided us with a huge campsite, free of charge. In return, we provided the heavy labor of our scouts.
Muscles were sore, smiles were big, and the boys had a great time. The boys also learned a lot about how much work it takes to maintain trails. I think we’ll offer our help to them again next year.
Some pictures will be posted shortly.