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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 at Indiana Dunes State Park with the Arrowhead 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, Apr 6 thru Sun, Apr 7 – 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

Summer 2020 is just around the corner

Perhaps this is a slight exaggeration…  But still, one can dream.

Found yourself up a creek in the Boundary Waters at Northern Tier without a paddle in 2018?  Or maybe you’ll miss the boat to Sea Base St. Thomas in 2019?  Well, then perhaps it’s time to consider the wifi-free high adventure of Philmont in 2020.

Troop 79 has scored two crew spots for July 17 – 31, 2020.  Plenty of time to get fit, ’cause it’s no joke.  Ready to haul around a backpack on foot for 50-75 miles?  How about loading it with 30 lbs+ of food, water & gear?  Then tilt the landscape up to over 12,000 feet?  Now we’re talking! 

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!!

Interested?  Well, you’ve gotta be registered with the BSA, meet Philmont height & weight guidelines and be at least 14 years old by July 17, 2020.  Several adult advisors will also be needed, with special training requirements that must be met.  Cost is still to be determined, but expect to spend about $1,750 per attendee.  Signup will open in late spring 2019 for active members of the Troop.

[PHOTO] Troop 79 Crew 723-C1 @Philmont

Troop 79 orients their way to an early Thanksgiving

I know, the sugar buzz from the Halloween candy is just starting to wear off, while the stores have already moved on to the season of gift giving.  So where does that leave the most American of holidays, Thanksgiving?  I can tell you – at Camp Dan Beard just up the road in the northern suburbs.

Members of Troop 79’s PLC began the weekend on Friday afternoon with a five mile hike up the DesPlaines River Trail.  Mr. Carter and Mr. Keats patiently stoked the home fires awaiting their arrival.  By twilight the Scouts appeared from the treeline and into a celebratory “Bill and Ted” pose.  Friday dinner was hunted and gathered locally from Joe’s Pizzeria.  Temps dipped below freezing to create a frosty Saturday morning wake-up with batches of “Waffle Balls” fabricated in cast iron and chopsticks to rotate them.

Saturday morning the rest of T-79 campers arrived, tents went up and marinated steak taco meat went onto the fire-pit grill.  Meat and lunch plan provided by Mr. Carter – thank you!  Scouts sliced and diced ingredients for the South of the Border (of Lake County) lunch with some Scouts creating “burritos as big as your head” as seen on Halsted Street.

Falllll innnn! After lunch the Scout-led troop marched into the forest for three hours of compass orienteering course and daylight Capture the Flag. By nightfall a traditional Thanksgiving dinner prepared by the Scouts for the Scouts was enjoyed after the Philmont Grace.  Much to be thankful for on a beautiful Fall weekend spent outdoors.

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

[PHOTO and TEXT] @David Keats

Troop 79 returns to bike the ‘burbs

Another October, another beautiful weekend for a bike trip through the Chicago suburbs.  Apparently the members of the Patrol Leader’s Council thought last year’s cycling event was worth redoing.  So we did!  Like in 2017, a hardy group of older Scouts started at the east end of the IL Prairie Path in Forest Park and pointed their handlebars west for a 25 mile ride.

Meanwhile, back at HQ, the 10 mile riders were literally bouncing off the wall they were so excited to go!  Both groups met up in Wheaton to start the next segment of the ride to camp as the SAG wagon baton was passed. Finally rolling into Camp Blackwell, the combined 10 & 25 mile riders paused for a group photo at their nice site on a little knoll with views of the surrounding fields beyond.

After going about the usual business of setting up camp, most everyone took advantage of some “feet up” time to rest their legs.  Until it was time to make dinner.  The patrol menus were just right for a chilly fall evening: foil meals with burger & potato or tomato soup with grilled cheese.  This year’s dessert was a new one – cherry/apple cobbler using a corn bread mix.  Perfect job for a couple Scouts to assist while the sunset lit the sky on fire. As the heavens faded to black, the Scouts headed to a nearby field to play “Commando”.  Hot cobbler and stories around the toasty fire were waiting for their return.  Nothing like a good day of fun to wear everyone out just enough to call it quits around 10PM.

Even a beautiful fall weekend of camping has to end some time.  With the bikes and gear packed after a hearty breakfast, the Scouts were ready to head home.  Many thanks to the adult leaders who accompanied the Scouts on the trip, as well as the parents who drove out to Blackwell to help transport the Scouts back to the city.

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


Troop 79 cyclists @boylesfour

Troop 79 campers @ Dave Keats

Late summer brings more Troop 79 Eagle projects

Besides just having fun, our Scouts contribute to their community in many ways.  Whether it’s supporting the annual Old Town Art Fair or the many cheerful hours of individual service, Scouting includes serving.  The service project required to earn the Eagle Scout rank, however, may be the most visible example.

As you know, it takes Scouts several years to hike the path to Eagle, and not many make it to the summit.  Earning merit badges, demonstrating leadership, and living by the Scout Oath and Law are all part of the program.  Read on to hear about a few more of Troop 79’s Scouts working towards this goal.

August 25 I completed my Eagle Scout project at Andrew Jackson Language Academy last Saturday, It was a daunting task of putting their library back together. We worked for 5.5 hours (that’s a combined total of 132 hours of work!) and shelved thousands of books. 23 people helped to make this project a success, and because of it, 565 kids will have a library to walk into on Tuesday.

A special thanks goes to Troop 79 scouts and parents.


September 2 Thank you so much to everyone who came out and helped. Because of you, we were able to build both swing sets and the refrigerator shelter as well as paint them.

Patchwork Farms, a non-for-profit organization that helps provide healthy, locally grown produce for little to no cost, has seen the finished project and are very happy with the results!

Again thank you so much to everyone for your help.



September 29  My eagle scout project worked with the Ginkgo Organic Gardens, a community garden located in the Uptown neighborhood that has worked with victims of the HIV/AIDS crisis for over two decades and provided organic produce to the community. The Scouts built a new storage structure, revarnished a gardening shed, painted a bench, and worked around the garden. Overall, the project was a major success and will benefit the gardens for years to come.






Fall 2018 Court of Honor!

Jake and Michael, two of Troop 79’s Life Scouts, emceed 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 updates, presentation of about 130 merit badges, many rank advancements and recognition of the troop’s newest leaders.  A special “changing of the guard” was also conducted to hand over the Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant SPL roles from Elijah and Edward to John and Colin.  Seemed like the clapping would go on forever!

Following all the pomp & circumstance, the audience was treated to several multi-media presentations of the summer’s highlights.  Whether it was winning the Camp Cup at Owasippe, riding the 3/4 mile long zip line at Summit, or paddling / portaging over 175 combined miles at Northern Tier, there was a lot to share.  Of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without an inspiring minute from our Scoutmaster, Mr. Keats.

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

Troop 79 and the Sea Scouts on Lake Michigan

What better way to kick off the Scouting season than with an overnight at 31st St. Harbor courtesy of the Chicago Sea Scouts! Besides our own Troop members, we also hosted about a dozen Chicago-area Webelos Scouts and their families to learn about T-79.

Our guests were treated to a cookout, games plus a tour of a working Coast Guard search and rescue boat.  But then it was time to hit the water for real. Between a 28′ Catalina sailboat and the Sea Scouts with their high-powered Boston Whaler, the Webelos seemed to have a great day out on beautiful Lake Michigan.

By late afternoon all the Webelos families had gone home, and will hopefully consider Troop 79 when the time comes to bridge over to Boy Scouts. Afterwards, most of our Scouts went for an early evening cruise, while others kayaked around the harbor.

What an experience, watching a beautiful sunset over the city skyline from the deck of yet another Sea Scout boat, then settling in for the night on a 40′ ketch; some on deck and some below.

The next morning it was time to pack up, eat breakfast and head home.  Not our typical camping experience, but that’s partly what made it so memorable!  Thanks again to the Sea Scouts and Mr. Keats for so generously including their fleet in the overnight.

Member of our Google Group?  Click here for more photos.
[PHOTO] Webelos sailing @boylesfour

September Outing – Sailing @ 31st Street Harbor

Troop 79 invites all Founders District Webelos Scouts to join our members at 31st Street Harbor on Chicago’s beautiful south shore on Saturday, September 15 from 12-4 PM.  Food, games and weather permitting, sailing aboard one of several vessels will be available.

More info in the flyer, including contact info to RSVP: Troop 79 Sea Scout Flyer Sept 2018

Many thanks to Tim Harrington and the generosity of the Chicago Sea Scouts!

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