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Troop 79 “zips” to Camp Shaw

After a couple year hiatus, Troop 79 returned triumphantly to Camp Shaw-Waw-Nas-See about an hour outside of Chicago. Maybe a little longer in Friday evening rush hour traffic…. We made camp as the sun was setting and enjoyed the patter of light rain overnight.

Woke up Saturday to a bright spring morning! The creek was ragin’ from the past week’s constant rain. Scenery aside, the main attraction was the gaga pit. Who would’ve thought a game originally from Israel could bring so much entertainment? Afterwards, camp SPL Colin G. led the younger Scouts in flag raising practice on the tallest pole we could find.

The Scouts were led in some challenge games by Camp Shaw staff after lunch. Great lessons in teamwork and communication. Thanks, Sketch!

Zip lining followed! Everyone made two passes – one each way across the river. Seemed like a lot of fun. The afternoon was capped off with a short hike to a marker for Chief Shaw-Waw-Nas-See.

Back in camp for the evening, patrol dinners with a festive Cinco de Mayo theme were prepared. Followed by “smacos”, interesting conversations and stories of the Potawatomie around the campfire. You never know what you’re going to learn on a Scout overnight.

Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny, with temps quickly rising out of the 40’s into the 60’s. Time to make breakfast, clean up camp and head out. Another T-79 overnight in the history books!

Member of our Google group? Click here for more photos.

[PHOTOS] Camp Shaw camping @Dave Keats and @boylesfour

Troop 79 Celebrates the “Eagle X” class of 2018-19

Historically the number of Scouts who achieve the Eagle rank is a very small percentage. This past weekend, Troop 79 had the opportunity to recognize 10 of our Scouts for doing so. What took place in a few hours at a formal Eagle Court of Honor in the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago was the culmination of some big numbers. Here are just a few combined stats from these outstanding young men:

  • 120 YEARS of Scouting, from Cub Scouts through Webelos and on to Troop 79.
  • 270 MERIT BADGES, each representing many hours of learning new skills.
  • 32 LEADERSHIP POSITIONS held, contributing to our Scout-led troop.
  • 360 DAYS at Camp Owasippe, earning merit badges and trying not to miss home cooked meals.
  • 40 WEEKS of BSA high adventure, testing their endurance and leadership skills in the mountains, rivers and oceans.
  • COUNTLESS nights of camping with the troop, making stories together that will last a lifetime.

Other than the data, it’s difficult to sum up all that these guys have done for the troop, their communities and each other on their journey to Eagle. But as our distinguished guest, IL Senate President, John J. Cullerton said, expectations are high for them to continue to contribute!

In addition to local community leaders and our Chartered Organization Rep Barbara Guttmann from the Old Town Triangle Association, the Court of Honor was attended by over 200 friends, family members, troop members and others who had contributed to the success of our “Eagle X”, Class of 2018-19. The ceremonies were led by T-79’s Asst. Senior Patrol Leader, Colin G. and included a number of important elements that helped recognize and reflect on the importance of this occasion:

  • Receiving a thoughtful invocation from Rev. Dr. Lucy Forster-Smith, Fourth Presbyterian Church
  • Learning about the meaning of the Scout Oath and Law in a candle lighting ceremony led by Patrol Leader Geoffrey B. with several members of Troop 79.
  • Examining the Eagle Scout requirements by adult advisors Jim Larson, Jeff Boyle, Dan Nitzsche and Joe Barich.
  • Explaining the responsibilities of an Eagle Scout from a recent T-79 member’s perspective, thanks to Hunter Morgan (’16) and Ben Keats (’17).
  • Charging the Eagle candidates with their new rank, and finally making the award presentation itself to the Eagles, their parents and mentors by our Scoutmaster, Dave Keats.
  • Recognizing Jim Zoiopolous with a special Lifetime Eagle Mentor award and campership in his name organized by Committee Chair Jim Larson, including keepsake “I SURVIVED MR. Z” bumper stickers for the 10 Eagles.
  • Hearing stories from the Eagles individually on their Scouting experience in a panel discussion moderated by Gretchen Winter, mother of one of our Eagles.
  • Closing the ceremony with a blessing from Fr. Ken Simpson of the Chicago Archdiocese, a fellow outdoorsman and mentor to several of the Eagles.

Of course, no Eagle Court of Honor can wrap up without a party! A reception followed, complete with refreshments, thanks to Eagle parents Sam and MaryAnn Martorina with Liz and Steve Gardner, table displays of Scouting memories created by the Eagles themselves, and a video/slideshow produced by Amy Boyle that included interviews with each of the Eagles and photos from their Scouting journey.

Several other Eagle family members contributed in very important ways and need to be recognized here. Allison Youngblood was our primary connection to the venue and managed all the site coordination, assisted by Betsy Morgan. The invitations and guest coordination were managed by Cynthia Patti, who also played an important role in event setup and teardown with Jim Patti and Jodi Larson. The full color printed program, including facts, photos and stories, was created by Cathy Hug. Northwestern University Medill journalism student and free lance professional photographer Colin Boyle provided photo coverage of the ceremony. Jim Brown wrote the checks that paid for all of this, though now the Eagle families have to pay him back! Lastly, Jeff Boyle did his best to make the event environmentally conscious while coordinating the planning and rehearsals.

On behalf of Edward Boyle, Otto Brown, Will Gardner, Kenny Larson, Nick Martorina, Hayden Morgan, Matthew Nelsen, Jake Nitzsche, John Patti and Michael Youngblood, we are incredibly grateful to the Eagle parents and mentors, plus Troop 79 Scouts and adult advisors who made this day possible.

[PHOTO] Eagle Court of Honor @boylessix

Troop 79 does a “Freeze-out” at the Dunes

While March is supposed to go out like a lamb, frosty temps and bitter winds made us question what we were thinking camping out at the Indiana Dunes in this weather.

Gathering on Michigan Ave, the guys headed downstairs and boarded the South Shore train for the park. Arriving at Dune Park station, the Scouts hoisted their packs and headed out for the mile hike to camp. Thankfully the overnight rain had quit.

Camp was damp. “No running amok in the muck!” and several other rules were decreed at a briefing from Mr. Keats. After setting up tents on the little dry ground they could find, the guys headed out for a hike to the nearby nature center. And then on to the dunes! Cold and windy was the forecast for the day.

A blazing fire welcomed the guys back at camp. Time to start dinner before the sun went down and the cold really settled in.

The guys also had some fun with nighttime photography. Thanks to the Scout with the light-up frisbee for the multi-color long exposures.

Morning came, and with temps in the mid-20’s, another fire was definitely in order. The guys worked swiftly to break down camp after an easy breakfast before heading back to the train.

See you again, Indiana Dunes, maybe when it’s a little warmer!

Member of our Google group? Click here for more photos.

[PHOTOS] Dunes camping @Edward Boyle and @boylesfour

Troop 79 at the District First Aid Meet, St. Patrick’s Day Edition

Congrats to the two competing T-79 patrols Cobra and Cracked Bell. Everyone had fun with the other troops, learned more First Aid, and had lunch. A big thanks to Troop 973 of St. Andrews for hosting the Founders District First Aid Meet. Both T-79 patrols won the stretcher races outright – no doubt.

As for the results, T-79 took 3rd and 4th places. The 1st and 2nd places were resolved with a tie-breaker. T-79 was only 6 points out of 500 behind the two teams who tied for 1st. T-79 was prepared and our teams did their best! Thank you troop parents Sheila and Lisa for staying to help judge and Mr. Larson for moral support.

Member of our Google group? Click here for more photos.

[PHOTO] District First Aid Meet @Dave Keats

Troop 79 Eagle projects and Council recognition

Late last year a call went out to the Scouts of the Chicago area and beyond: Bring us your best Eagle projects for consideration in a national competition. One of those efforts submitted was the work of our very own Michael Y. And he won!

His Eagle Project was selected as THE one and only PTAC Top Eagle Project 2018! Next his project goes to the Regional level and perhaps on to National. Last weekend, while the rest of the troop was roughing it at camp, Michael and Jake N., among other recent Eagle Scouts from the region, were recognized at a special dinner in their honor. Can you find them in the photo? (Hint: upper left)

In other news from a Scout hot on the trail to Eagle, Matthew N. wanted to thank all the Scouts who helped him with a project to benefit his high school. “The project is for the Lane Tech band. The band currently has no record of our music. We will be doing a few things. First, we will be clearing out a storage room and cleaning and painting the walls. There are a bunch of file cabinets that we will be getting rid of that are full of scores. We will be transferring these scores to bins and building shelving in the room. We will also be cataloging the scores in the file cabinets, as well as scores in two other locations. Unlike most scouting events, this is one where your phone will not only be allowed but required for cataloging!”


Eagle recognition @dnitzsche

Lane Tech filing @mnelsen

Troop 79 leaps into winter camping

Great turnout for a wintry weekend in the southwest suburbs at Camp Bullfrog Lake! Thankful for three heated cabins courtesy of the Cook County Forest Preserve. The guys got to work picking up trash that had been tossed by the resident raccoons and then went right onto the ice to play.

The first hike of the day was to the site of a formerly top secret Manhattan Project facility in the woods nearby. More of the story here. Now deemed completely safe for recreation, according to the Dept. of Energy. The icy trails, however, were another matter entirely. Lots of slipping and sliding.

Back at camp, the high schoolers polished up their card playing skills and the middle schoolers relaxed. Meanwhile, ASPL Colin led the newest Scouts on a 5 mile map & compass hike to the Little Red Schoolhouse nature center.

The guys earned a hearty pizza dinner, followed by peach cobbler around a roaring fire. The cabins were a welcome respite from the cold before turning in for the night.

Temps had dropped into the low 20’s overnight, making a fire essential for preparing a hearty patrol breakfast the next morning. While spring is definitely not yet in the air, with a roof overhead there’s no reason to postpone outdoor fun! Thanks to the PLC for coming up with the idea.

Member of our Google Group?  Click here for more photos.

[PHOTOS] Troop 79 winter camping @boylesfour

Troop 79 conquers the “Klondike Challenge”

For the first time since 2015, the Chicago area had enough snow for a proper Klondike Derby! The temps in the mid-30’s were a welcome reprieve from the past week’s bitter cold of -20. Welcome to Camp Reinberg in Palatine!

Thanks to the leadership of Chicago’s Troop 626, the Scouts were treated to a series of events geared for winter. But first, several events were held inside the park’s main building – the guys did really well at the knuckle crawl and high kick.

Back outside, pushing the carefully assembled sleds, fire building, doing two different kinds of rescue carries, spear throwing, “caber tossing” and getting the patrol across an imaginary electric fence tested the Scouts’ team building and cold weather skills.

In the end, the Cracked Bell patrol came in second place in a crowded field of eleven. Nice work, guys! Thanks to Mr. Keats for making the connections with Troop 626 to attend, and to our adult drivers.

[PHOTOS] Klondike Derby @Smile Earthlings

Updates from the Troop 79 Eagle’s Nest

Eagle Project to benefit St. Vincent DePaul Senior Residence

Another fine Eagle project to benefit our community, one nominated for a national award, and a spring Court of Honor being planned! Read on—

John P. reports: “Scouts worked hard from 9-3 building four auto-watering elevated planter boxes and a picnic bench for the residents of the St. Vincent DePaul Senior Residence. Scouts made their way through heavy snow to be there, so I am very thankful for their amazing work.”

Michael Y. has submitted his application for the NESA National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award. Projects are considered at the Council level, then regional, before proceeding to the national stage. Bragging rights and more at stake. Stay tuned and wish him luck! Learn more about Michael’s project here.

Lastly, the Troop is planning the biggest Eagle Court of Honor in recent memory, maybe ever! Mark your calendars for the afternoon of Saturday, April 6. Active members, their families and other honored guests are sure to pack the hall for a graduating class like T-79 has never seen before.

[PHOTO] St. Vincent DePaul @C Patti

Winter/Spring 2019 Outdoor Event Schedule

Once again, the PLC has made their wishes known. Thanks to our SPL for gathering ideas and presenting to the adults at the fall Committee mtg. While the Troop Committee recommended against a 3+ hour drive each way to Indiana for canoeing, we still found plenty of fun closer to home. 

Fire – an essential element of spring camping in Chicago!

Here’s the plan for winter/spring 2019:

Sat, Jan 5 – Family Ski Trip to Lake Geneva T-79 Families and Scouts can sign-up for this event and coordinate their own logistics with fellow T-79 Scouts and families. This event is organized by the Indian Trails District.

Sat, Feb 2 – Klondike Derby  This is the official winter sled racing day we’re targeting and it’s all about having lots of snow!  Location changed to
Camp Reinberg in nearby Palatine with the Indian Trails District.

Sat, Mar 2 thru Sun, Mar 3 – Cabin Camping at Camp Bullfrog Lake We’ve reserved two large heated cabins in the heart of the vast, hilly Palos Preserves.

Sat, Mar 30 thru Sun, Mar 31 – Tent Camping at the Indiana Dunes  Weather permitting, we’ll be heading back to the dunes, possibly by train and hiking into camp!

Fri, May 3 thru Sun, May 5 – Tent Camping, Challenge Course & Zip Line at Camp Shaw.  With 110 acres of land, open fields & wooded areas for tenting, Camp Shaw-waw-nas-see offers a variety of activities. We’re setup for tenting with a pavilion nearby for the usual camping, cooking and having a great time in the outdoors. We’ll also test our skills on a challenge course, and experience the thrill of Camp Shaw’s zip line. Of course we’ll find a way to include a Cinco de Mayo theme!

Check your schedule and save the dates!  Also posted on the Troop calendar.

Member of our Google Group?  Click here for more photos of previous events.

[PHOTO] Camp Dan Beard @boylesfour

Good leaders are made, not born

What happens when you combine pizza with the classroom talents of a seasoned college lecturer applied to the BSA’s formal leadership training?  You get Troop 79’s latest edition of Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops, or “ILST” for short.  Here’s the official course description on the BSA website:

“The purpose of the ILST course is to teach Scouts with leadership positions about their new roles and how to most effectively reach success in that role. It is intended to help Boy Scouts in leadership positions within their troop understand their responsibilities and to equip them with organizational and leadership skills to fulfill those responsibilities. ILST is the first course in the series of leadership training offered to Boy Scouts.”

Mr. Barich teaching teamwork

A classroom of eager students joined Assistant Scoutmaster Mr. Barich on a Saturday in December for the course.  While the temperature outside was sub-freezing, the energy inside was high.  More than just sitting and listening, ILST allows the Scouts to put the concepts into practice.  How better to learn than with your friends?  And plenty of pizza….

[PHOTO] ILST Teamwork @Dave Keats

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