Skip to content. Skip to main navigation.

Troop 79 Does a “Freeze-out” in the Kettle Moraine

A little snow and cold didn’t stop Troop 79 from enjoying a late fall weekend north of the “cheese curtain” in Wisconsin. Thanks to no school on Friday, several members of our Philmont 2020 crew (and one future Philmonter) hiked out into the woods and fields of the famous Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Arriving at backpack Shelter #3 several hours later, the crews made a trail dinner, setup their tents, and promptly settled into their sleeping bags as the temps sank into the mid-20’s overnight.

Saturday morning dawned slightly warmer, as the crew shouldered their packs for the remainder of their 15 mile hike. The trail crossed fields and woods, and included a visit to a dolomite outcropping called Brady’s Rocks.

A satisfying trail lunch was the Philmont crew’s reward before continuing on to Pinewoods Group Camp where the rest of the Troop would be waiting. A happy reunion followed! A two mile hike was enjoyed by the rest of the Scouts while the 15-milers rested their boots.

Dinner was started early as darkness fell around 5PM, which prompted a hot campfire of locally sourced oak until “hiker midnight” around 9PM. Thankfully not so cold as Friday.

Thanks to our Patrol Leaders and adults Mr. Keats, Carter, Chambliss, Martin, and Boyle for making the weekend possible! Last campout until 2020.

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

[PHOTOS] Kettle Moraine camping @boylesfour

Two more Troop 79 Eagle Projects completed

One reason achieving Scouting’s highest rank is such an accomplishment is the service project that must be completed before a Scout turns 18.  Fall 2019 has been an important season for two of Troop 79’s Scouts on the path to Eagle.

What is the Eagle Scout Service Project?
While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts of America.) A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your unit leader and unit committee, and the council or district before you start.

From Eagle candidate Andrew B: Thank you to everyone who helped with my project! Despite the cold and wet Saturday, we were able to complete the assembly of the bench components (sanding, staining, building, as well as yard work) to prepare for the job site. Due to the cold and wet weather, I was forced to extend the project to Sunday when we (James, George, my parents, and I) installed all the benches to complete my project.

I would like to thank Mr. Taylor and Mr. Zoiopoulos for their guidance and encouragement throughout this process. Thank you to Mr. Martin, James, Chris, George, Geoffrey, Nico, Daniel, Eadan, Aidan, James, Henry, Lev, Brady, Max, and Davu for attending; in total, you earned 80 service hours, ate 24 donuts, drank over 2 gallons of Coca-Cola, and ate 5 large pizzas.

I received generous donations from Home Depot on Elston Ave. and several family friends. These benches will help St. John Berchmans School and the Logan Square Community, where I live.

From Eagle candidate Jack S: Thank you to everyone who helped with my project! The painting of all of the walls, installing the rubber flooring with the glue, and Andrew masterfully installing the lockers could not have been better. Through the course of the day, I was very thankful for all your support. Although we could not finish the project that day, my parents and I went back the night after and did some finishing touches.

I would like to thank Mr. Taylor and Mr. Zoiopoulos for their coaching and everyone who came out to help me complete my project.

Special thank you to Eddy Murray who supported all the cost of my project. Benton House is very thankful for your support and is interested in hosting further eagle scout projects.

[PHOTOS] Logan Square Benches @ABui, Benton House Interior @JStewart

Troop 79 hosts two Cub Scout Packs at Council Camporee

What a beautiful fall weekend to join thousands of Chicago area Scouts and their families for the Pathway to Adventure Council Camporee! Troop 79 played host to two Chicago Packs, sharing a camp dinner and tent space. Great time was had by all.

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

[PHOTO] Busse Woods camping @DKeats

Fall In! Troop 79’s Annual Court of Honor

Chris and Jack hosted this fall’s Court of Honor to a packed house of Scouts, parents and siblings.

The evening kicked off with a flag ceremony and included Committee recognition from Mr. Larson, presentation of about 100 merit badges, many rank advancements and installation of the troop’s newest leaders.  Thanks to Mr. Barich as our “journey to excellence” continues to bear patches, including a special 30 year commemorative “79” in honor of our longstanding relationship with the Old Town Triangle Association as our sponsor.

As always, a “changing of the guard” was conducted to hand over the Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant SPL roles from John and Colin to Colin and Oscar.  In addition, the Troop heard from past SPL Elijah who’d spent the summer as a guide at the Northern Tier canoe base. His message about savoring the time together in the outdoors was well received!

This year we had a special award presented to our Scoutmaster, Mr. Keats, in appreciation of his over six years leading Troop 79. What made this recognition all the more meaningful were the recommendation letters that came from Scouts, not adults. Thank you very much for your selfless service!

Following all the pomp & circumstance, our summer camp SPL Geoffrey showed off the second Owasippe Camp Cup won by the Troop. Sea Base crew leader Oscar then shared some highlights of the summer’s high adventure trip to the US Virgin Islands. Tough duty! Thanks to Mr. Carter for the multi-media presentation to add color to the commentary.  Mr. Boyle wrapped up the evening with a few words on the important reasons we camp as a Troop.

Many thanks to all the Scouts, Committee members and parents who support Troop 79 and help make it the fun Scout-led organization that it is.

[PHOTO] Court of Honor @boylesfour, @SMcArthur

Troop 79 Hikes at Starved Rock

It was a dark and stormy night. Wait, that was Saturday…. Friday was a beautiful night – to be stuck in rush hour traffic leaving Chicago for Starved Rock State Park about two hours away. Three years ago the troop camped in the same field. Hard to tell when we arrived that night, but by daybreak on Saturday the place looked very familiar.

Our acting camp SPL, Oscar, gave the Scouts a demo on how to properly pack a backpack. This training will come in handy for several of our guys heading to Philmont next summer. Then it was time to hit the trail to St. Louis canyon.

The canyon and its caves made a great lunch stop. Most of the troop headed back to camp after a stop in the visitor center, but not the hardy Philmonters. They put another couple miles under their boots, including a lot of stairs. They seem to be off to a good start, but wait until they add four days worth of food to their packs in the high mountains of New Mexico next July!

As the sun settled into trees, out came the matches and fire for dinner, as demonstrated by our new SPL, Colin. Fruit cobbler and a game of commando on the moonlit field capped off the evening. At least things were mostly dry when we finally called it a night.

Here’s where the stormy night comes in. Sometime around 3AM, distant flashes of lightning became more frequent and insistent, followed by rain. Lots of rain. And wind too. Thankfully by morning the heaviest stuff had let up, leaving a brief break in the precip to make breakfast, pack up and head home to Chicago.

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

[PHOTOS] Starved Rock camping @boylesfour

Troop 79 Sails the High Seas

This summer Troop 79 ventured to Sea Base in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Two crews boarded Celebration and Manukai, heading over to circumnavigate St. John.

Despite some initial nervousness, Scouts jumped in and easily completed swim checks to the satisfaction of the boat captains. We soon realized this was nothing compared to the lengthy snorkeling we did daily. Often tying up to buoys in particularly deep water, we would don our fins, masks, and fluorescent vests, “yeet” ourselves off the boat, swim across this deep expanse to outcroppings, and enjoy breathtaking wildlife. Trigger fish, parrot fish eating coral, squid that changed color as we passed, nurse sharks, blue flounder, swimming through sergeant majors in schools of hundreds, stingrays, a large number of sea turtles, and South Sea lobster. Celebration crew learned how to identify the lobsters’ hiding spots (not too difficult with their antennae sticking out), spooked them out, and successfully caught one. It turned their plain meal of mac and cheese into a gourmet meal of mac and cheese and lobster!

Speaking of food, the crews cooked on board most of the time, with the chance to visit the shore for a “hamburger” cook out over a charcoal fire. This was one of many opportunities to go ashore and play on the beach or go hiking. Land shoes and water bottles were critical, as the heat and terrain, often along rocky shores, made hikes a challenge. Both crews made their way to the Annaberg sugar mill ruins, and later, at a stop in Salt Pond Bay, we hiked to the southern-most point at the top of Ram Head. It was surprising to see so many cacti in what seems like a tropical area.

It was a rainy week. Celebration crew had gone to shore just before Manukai crew, and we all met at the Annaberg sugar mill ruins. Heavy rain seemed to be approaching, so Celebration crew headed back, but Manukai crew thought the rain would stay to the north. Celebration crew reached the shore just as the rain started, and made it back to their boat, but Manukai crew were caught out. With lightning hitting all around, including nearby Mary Point, Manukai crew were stuck on the beach. The downpour was so heavy, it was hard to see the boats from shore. In the rain, the crews danced and shouted back and forth. If there is one thing we learned from the trip, it is that when you are wet multiple times a day, being rained on means nothing.

Both crews spent time sailing, with such lean that the side rail would be in the water. Scouts helped tie up the boat to the buoys, let out/bring in the sails, and any other ways they could assist in sailing. Evenings were spent playing cards. Sleeping above deck was a challenge, as there was considerable rain nearly every night, so Scouts found spots on the floor in the cabins.

Crews went into Cruz Bay separately and enjoyed lunch and a chance for souvenirs. A tropical fruit smoothie where the fruit is just picked is a delicious respite on a muggy day.

The trip ended with the return to the Sapphire Beach harbor, cleaning of the boats, a quick meal, and brownie and ice cream treat at the resort up the hill. Except for a little sunburn, all ended healthy and happy.

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

[PHOTOS] Sea Base St. Thomas @K Carter, E Schechter

Troop 79 Repeats the Owasippe Blackhawk Camp Cup

Another successful week at summer camp, according to Scoutmaster Mr. Keats. “We ate, we competed, we merit badged, we flopped, we won the Cup, we shot, we sweated, we swatted, we swam, we sang, we saluted.”

New this year was a camp-wide carnival, complete with food, games and a Scoutmaster karaoke competition. America’s got Talent?

The weather was cooperative this year: warm and summery, with only a few passing sprinkles. After the cool and wet spring we’ve had, the clear water of Big Blue Lake was a treat for boating, tubing, swimming or the camp favorite – Battle Boat!

The Camp Cup consisted of a number of daily challenges throughout the week including gaga ball and match splitting. Who’d have guessed our strongest finish would be in the water balloon toss? We will proudly present the Cup at the next Court of Honor.

Scoutmaster Mr. Keats, Mr. Recinto, Mr. Martin and Mr. Carter were our adults on duty for the week, enduring the “point five” star food and lodging. We also appreciated the assistance of Mr. Barich and Mr. Bui.

In addition to all the fun stuff, there was some serious work getting done. The new Scouts earned their first of many requirements on the path to Eagle. Our more seasoned Scouts took home many newly-offered badges. And of course, plenty of time was spent hanging around the Trading Post and stocking up on treats.

[PHOTOS] Troop 79 at Camp Owasippe @K Carter

Another Troop 79 Eagle candidate serving the community

As you’ve seen here before, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout requires several years of effort. The capstone of which is the Eagle service project. The popular Bryan on Scouting blog defines the service project this way: Five words make all the difference: “plan, develop and give leadership …”  In other words, it’s not your standard Scout service project!

In Life Scout Simon C.’s own words, “On Saturday, I completed my Eagle Scout project. For my project, I built and painted shelves for an animal rescue shelter called the Wright-Way Rescue animal shelter. We worked in two shifts, one consisted of painting and assembly at my house, the evening shift was installing the shelves at the shelter. Thank you to all the Scouts who spent their time to help me on Saturday.”

Enjoy a sample before and after photo of the project. All the best to you, Simon, on your path to Eagle!

Storage area – BEFORE
Storage Area – AFTER

[PHOTOS] Wright Way Rescue @KCarter

Summer 2020 High Adventure Plans!

Troop 79 Scouts and adults – check out the details, eligibility & cost below, then sign up today for EITHER Summit or Philmont. Neither get in the way of Owasippe, but due to scheduling Scouts/adults can only participate in ONE of the two high adventure trips. Decisions, decisions…..

1. THE SUMMIT EXPERIENCE – travel by rental van leaving early Sat, July 18, returning late Sat, July 25, 2020 (DATE CHANGE)
This is a seven-day/six-night program that consists of half-day introductory level experiences:- BMX- skateboarding- mountain biking- zip lines- canopy tours- challenge courses- climbing- shooting sports- whitewater rafting
Summit provides three meals/day, tents, cots and all program equipment. Each Scout and adult advisor is responsible for their own personal gear.
A minimum of 2 adults and 5 Scouts are needed to fill one crew

Climbing wall at Summit

SCOUTS (14 – 20 yrs)
Must be registered with BSA
Must meet BSA height & weight limits
Must be 13 yrs old by Sept 1, 2020

ADULT ADVISORS (21 yrs and older)
Must be registered with BSA
Must meet BSA height & weight limits
Must have current training

$250 non-refundable deposit due 9/1/19
First payment $500 due 12/1/19
Final balance $250 due 3/1/20
PAYMENTS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE!

2. PHILMONT 12 DAY TREK – travel by Amtrak leaving Fri, July 17 at 2:50PM, returning Fri, July 31 around 2:50PM
Each of our TWO crews will participate in an exciting and strenuous backpacking trek of their choice.  In addition to ten full days camping and cooking in some of the most beautiful backcountry imaginable, other possible highlights are:
– Climbing 12,441 foot Mt. Baldy
– Horseback riding
– Rock climbing / rapelling
– Learning about indigenous cultures
– Assisting in conservation projects
– Experiencing an old west chuck wagon dinner
and much more!!

Hiking Mt. Baldy at Philmont

Philmont provides much of the crew gear (tents, food and cooking equipment). Each Scout and adult advisor is responsible for their own personal gear and physical fitness.

ALL participants must be in EXCELLENT physical condition, able to carry up to 40lbs in a backpack while hiking at high elevations (up to 12,000 ft) for ten days and 50-75 miles!

A minimum of 4 adults and 10 Scouts are needed to fill two crews 
If more than 6 adults and 20 Scouts sign up, preference will be given as follows: 
– has actively participated in Troop activities such as Owasippe, camping, service 
– has regularly attended Troop meetings 
– has not already attended Philmont 
Attendees will be notified by email and a deposit will be requested immediately. 

SCOUTS (14 – 20 yrs)
Must be registered with BSA
Must meet BSA height & weight limits
Must be 14 yrs old by July 17, 2020

ADULT ADVISORS (21 yrs and older)
Must be registered with BSA
Must meet BSA height & weight limits
Must have current training

$250 non-refundable deposit due 7/1/19
First payment $750 due 9/1/19
Final balance $500 due 2/1/20
PAYMENTS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE!

[PHOTOS] Summit @PChambliss, Philmont @Boylesfour

The Flying Eagles of Troop 79

Scoutmaster Dave Keats is well known for reminding our troop’s newly minted Eagle Scouts that their Court of Honor isn’t a retirement party. That’s right, after all those years of hard work, dedication and fun, they don’t need to check out of Scouts as soon as they get the medal.

Case in point, four members of the class of 2019 “Eagle X” planned and carried out a Memorial Day weekend overnight at Indiana Dunes. While the weather was definitely a step up from the troop’s spring campout just eight weeks earlier, these guys took up residence at the same group site and explored the same dunes and trails.

We’re really proud of all our Eagles, and it’s great to see our alums drop in for the occasional troop meeting. These fine young leaders are role models, and hope they always find room in their busy lives for Scouting.

[PHOTO] Dune leap @Edward Boyle

© 2019 Troop 79 - Boy Scouts of America | WordPress Admin