This weekend five of the now ten Webelos II Scouts called “Tree Scouts” went for an overnight at the Butte Creek Scout Ranch in Cascade Pacific Council. The goal was to work on the Outdoorsman requirements. During the years summercamp at Adventure Cove some requirements were met.
Our fearless Webelos II Den Leader worked out the planning for the overnight at Butte Creek and also the four-hour Horse ride. We were able to camp in the Adirondacks for free. This is due to our Pack attaining the Friends of Scouting goal for 2012. We get free camping on the non-summer time days. During my time within the Pack, we only have made FOS twice. Attaining FOS within a Pack is a hard thing to quantify to the Parents. This is just one way to make it real.
The main plan of attack was to get on site, setup and have fun. Once on site and bunks were scouted out and figured who is sleeping where, we went exploring. We knew the area since we were there the summer of 2011. We could not go into the main area since two other districts combined for a Webelos Woods. We caught the tail end and recognized a few Scouters from this summer.
Off we went back to the Campsite with a stop at the river. Rock throwing 101 and Exploring 101 was had.
Back at Camp we reviewed all the different types of Fire. As well as: Discuss with your Webelos den leader the rules of outdoor fire safety. Using these rules, show how to build a safe fire and put it out.
We also talked about: With your accompanying adult on a campout or outdoor activity, aid in preparing, cooking, and cleanup for one of your den’s meals. Tell why it is important for each den member to share in meal preparation and cleanup, and explain the importance of eating together. The Scouts actually cooked hot dogs for dinner and then Pancakes/sausages for breakfast.
After breakfast we talked about: discuss how to follow the Leave No Trace Frontcountry Guidelines during outdoor activities. Which, we always talk about Leave No Trace as well as practice it.
The other reason we came to Butte Creek for a Horse Ride. The Scouts did a 15-20 minute ride in 2011 as part of came. We liked it so much, we came back for more. This time the Adults got to ride. Again, because of Friends of Scouting we got a reduced rate. ( I believe that’s the case.)
The wranglers are totally awesome. Eric, the Head Wrangler, Emily, Tim, Randy and Austin accompanied us for the half day trek. Eric, Tim and Austin came to the campsite the day & night before to check in on us. Time and Austin came back later during the evening to talk and hang out. Fun stories. We offered them Hot Dogs and Smores. Smores were the hit.
As Eric walked everything through how to act around horses, how to mount & dismount we all listened intently. It was the basic’s of Summercamp all over again, but it was more relaxed and more information was handed out. Plus it was WAY COOLER than a HOT JULY Day!
All all got our steeds and mounted up. These horses were the ones that went up to Camp Baldwin and were amazing. They really just walked with the other horses since they knew what was going on. The were gentle and responded easily.
The trek itself was about 4-5 miles long. We got to see a lot of ground that you just do not get to see if your there for Summer Camp. It took me awhile to get used to the horse, only because I could not get my left foot in the stirrup all the way. However, after one really good Trot, it slid into place. Oh, and the giblets did too. Go with the flow, don’t fight the horse and give him/her praise.
The ride was over faster than we all wanted it to be. All the Scouts had a lot of fun. Chattering the whole way. They were naturals when they got back. During the break Eric did go into more detail about the West/East Bound Trek to/from Baldwin. It’s an amazing trek. One of the Scouts said that he really wants to do it when he’s 13. He is the same Scout that said he wanted to go to Camp Meriwether next year for Scout Camp.
If you want to expand your program, create retention and have fun….go to Butte Creek. If you’re a Pack, this is what FOS can help you with. If you’re in another Council, look for things to do outside the norm. That is what makes the journey in Scouting memorable.
I also found one more reason that Friends of Scouting helps provides people jobs. Butte Creek is a working Ranch. There are some people on the Ranch who are still Scouts. They are there also to learn a trade. Friends of Scouting helps with this. We paid into FOS and got the free camping. But, it also provided for others to help us have a great weekend.