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Troop 79 negotiates the Nippersink

The weekend’s canoe trip / campout in Wisconsin was a success.  Apparently we got less rain up north than the folks that stayed in Illinois.  And everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, whether seasoned paddler or novice.

The goal of any overnight in the woods is to spend quality time with friends and nature.  That objective was clearly met in the rolling hills of Camp Sol R. Crown and on the sinuous stretch of the Nippersink Creek we paddled.  After a Friday evening rush hour departure, the crew made it to their destination while there was still enough daylight to setup camp.  Saturday morning began with the usual patrol-style breakfast before the short drive to Keystone Landing.  The ten boats and their occupants were given a creek-side safety briefing and canoeing demo before pointing their bows downstream!

The water was running pretty quickly, but there was still plenty of time to pause and observe the plentiful birdlife.  Every so often, a manmade “rapids” added a little excitement to the trip.  After 11.5 miles and less than five hours, the Troop made it to their destination at Lyle C. Thomas Park.  Back to camp for an afternoon of card games and other goofing off before the serious work of dinner and campfire skits began!

Sunday broke gray and blustery, but thankfully the rain had passed overnight, with the Scouts making quick work of breakfast and tearing down camp before the trip home.

A huge shout out to Elijah on his final overnight with the Troop as SPL.  We will miss his enthusiasm but know the Scouts at Owasippe this summer are going to be with a very talented and energizing staffer. Also many thanks to Mr. Keats and the other adults who spent their weekend shuttling Scouts and camping.
Member of our Google Group?  Click here for more photos.
[PHOTO] Nippersink Creek @boylesfour


The Impacts of Summer Camp (Speech by Elijah)

I am a strong believer that every scout should go to summer camp at least once. My first week at Owasippe was a life-changing experience, and after that summer I felt like I got what scouting is all about: The camaraderie. The spirit. Being able to goof off without your parents or teachers there to give you the look.

Even if you can’t put your finger on it, anyone who’s been to Owasippe before knows how their time at camp has impacted who they are today. However, I recently read an article that made me question the future of camps like Owasippe. The article claimed that many parents are opting out of sending their kids to summer camp, and instead, are enrolling their kids in academic programs or internships, in order to beef up their child’s college resume.

First, I’d like to add that I don’t think it should be the parents’ choice whether or not we want to go to camp, but that’s not what the author was arguing. He pointed out that for many scouts, summer camp is the first time in our lives that we are living away from our parents, and that if a parent is concerned about a college resume, they should remember one thing: They can’t follow their son to college. That is a path the child must take alone, and if you can master independence at camp, you’ll be more prepared than anyone else when the time comes to leave home. (more…)

Representing Troop 79 at the Top of Texas

How many people do you think you pass every day and don’t know they’re part of Scouting?  What if you wore your Troop 79 pride in public?  Well, your own Asst. Scoutmaster had the chance to do that recently.  The reaction was terrific!

On a trip to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, I wore the custom T-79 Philmont crew shirt from last summer’s expedition.  On the trail to my backcountry camp, I stopped to talk to anyone who would engage in a little hiking banter.  If nothing else, to catch my breath hauling a 30lb pack up 3,000 vertical feet.

One of those chats was with Steve, a former Scoutmaster of 25 years and his wife, Denise, training for a trip to the Grand Canyon.  What caught my eye was Steve’s decorated hiking stick complete with the Philmont Bar PS brand.  It turned out they were headed for the same campsites to make an attack on Guadalupe Peak, 8,751 feet above sea level.

A terrific conversation ensued.  What became obvious, whether you’re from a town of 1,600 people in the middle of Texas, or a big city in the Midwest, is how many of our Scouting stories were similar.  Whether reveling in the laughs, dealing with bugs or rain, or toughing it out on a long hike, we both saw Scouting through a similar lens.  But most of all, it came down to doing things that were just a little more than you thought you could do.

And that’s where the confidence comes to conquer whatever life throws your way.  Hike on!

[PHOTO] Guadalupe Peak @boylesfour

Troop 79 enjoys a wet & wintry spring weekend in IL

When you think spring in Chicago, I guess you need to be prepared for rain, wind and temps near freezing. Regardless of what the calendar says, it sure felt like winter just couldn’t let go of its icy grip on this place.

Thankfully the good folks at Camp Dan Beard in the Cook County Forest Preserve have recently upgraded the property to include a covered pavilion, complete with fire pit and yes, electric lighting.  Now before anyone makes any unkind comments about Scouts having lost their edge, remember everyone was still sleeping on the ground in tents.  But it sure was nice to have a roof over our heads for cooking & hanging out!

And while not hunkered down under cover, the Scouts had an ambitious agenda.  This included a rather muddy ~3 mile hike out to the DesPlaines river and back, a 1 mile orienteering course and an impromptu scavenger hunt.  Don’t ask what they were looking for…

Dinner was prepared and served patrol style, meaning the Scouts do their own grub.  And while it may not be as delicious as mom’s home cookin’, food always tastes better when you’re chilly and damp after an afternoon exploring the drizzly woods.  Dutch oven pineapple upside down cake, making its third appearance in as many overnights, capped off the menu.

No Scout overnight is complete without the usual camaraderie around the campfire, which was fueled by the remains of Mr. Boyle’s cedar fence and some free seasoned hardwood.  A Scout is thrifty!  This weekend’s entertainment included a presentation of meme-themed charades and an impromptu chorus of “Hail Owasippe” to break up a particularly silly chain of conversation.

Many thanks to Mr. Keats for his camp stove, cheerful and patient leadership, and to Elijah and Edward for running the show.  Very glad we decided to press ahead with this one despite the forecast.

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

[PHOTO] Camp Dan Beard @boylesfour



Summer 2018 High Adventure Parent Meetings

In case you missed the parent info nights for those attending summer high adventure, here are the highlights:
  • Charles L Sommers Canoe Base, AKA “Northern Tier” – see Troop calendar
    • Highlights of the trip – see N Tier site
    • Travel will be rental van and estimated final cost is $1,100 per participant. Invoices have been sent.
    • Recommended gear list
    • Medical forms A, B and C are required before school’s out, good for 1 year
    • Swim test can be done at Owasippe, all participants must pass!
    • Physical preparation is strongly encouraged! With extensive paddling and overland canoe/gear portages, both upper body strength and overall endurance will make for a much more enjoyable trip.
  • Paul R. Christen High Adventure Base, AKA “The Summit” – see Troop calendar
    • Highlights of the trip – see Summit site
    • Travel will be rental van and final cost is $1,100 per participant.  Invoices will be sent for any outstanding balances.
    • Recommended gear list
    • Medical forms A, B and C are required before school’s out, good for 1 year
    • Swim test can be done at Owasippe, all participants must pass to participate in white water rafting
    • Physical preparation is important, as several miles of daily walking will be expected, plus cycling, climbing and other activities

Contact Jeff Boyle, Asst. Scoutmaster with any questions.

Troop 79 Maintains Annual Tradition of First Aid Meet Success

Out of a field of 11 or so teams competing in the Founders District First Aid Meet, our TWO First Aid Meet patrols brought home 2nd and 3rd Place. Thanks and congrats to our two patrols comprised of:  Chris,  James,  Abhinav,  Christian,  Brady,  Will,  Craig,  Victor,  John,  Simon,  Colin,  Davu, and Elijah. 
Immediately afterward a group of us drove straight to Drucker Center to help the Pack 3079 Pinewood Derby and put it all away till next year.  They really appreciated the help and we had fun.   Big thanks to Scouts:   Will (car remover), Elijah (Mr. Microphone MC), Victor (crowd control), Colin (track surveyor), Christian (pit manager), and Mr. Barich (registrar and ladder climber). 
Please enjoy your spring break and remember there is no meeting this week 3/21 and no meeting 3/28.   
HOWEVER, the mandatory Summit Meeting with Mr. Boyle is being held this Wednesday night 7pm at the Clubhouse AS WELL AS the Eagle Project for Elijah.  
See for details.  Also note our April campout is just around the corner and clear your schedules for Owasippe 2018 June 30 to July 7!
Yours in Scouting,
Mr. Keats
FYI links to where T-79 is going this summer 2018:

Two Upcoming Outdoor Events

Two new local camping trips planned this spring:

  1. Fri – Sun, April 13-15 @ Camp Dan Beard (CPS off school on Friday) Program TBD, but should include hiking/orienteering.
  2. Fri – Sun, May 18-20 @ Camp Sol R Crown with canoeing nearby, specific launch/pickup locations TBD.  **NOTE DATE & CAMP CHANGE**

Checkout our Calendar for more details as we post them.

New Website

We are launching our new website today.  We expect to have some specific content here soon.

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