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Troop 79 takes the Camp Cup at Owasippe

It has been an eventful week at Camp Owasippe. As always, Troop 79 represented ourselves well, winning the Camp Cup, collecting a record number of merit badges, and chillin’ in our chairs around the fire.

The weather started out unusually hot and sticky. On Sunday, we checked in, but had to endure a downpour that nearly knocked out the opening campfire. Fortunately, the storm passed through just early enough, contributing to the fun atmosphere of the festivities. Otherwise we avoided any more rain. Though the steamy weather came back a bit in mid-week, it became very pleasant as the week ended, even being a little on the chilly side the morning of departure.

The Camp Cup consisted of daily challenges. We won canoe swamping and the waiter challenge, finished strong in gaga ball and the dry match race, and did just well enough in the frozen T-shirt competition to win by a score of 108 to 107. Expect to see the Cup at the next Court of Honor.

Scoutmaster Mr. Keats, Mr. Recinto, and Mr. Carter completed enough of the requirements (taking a 30-minute nap is a requirement) to get leader recognition. We also appreciated the assistance of Mrs. Smith and Mr. Barich.

Andrew completed his Order of the Arrow ordeal. Congratulations!

Pathfinder Scouts learned about the details of Scouting and moving up ranks, and finished with Swimming and First Aid merit badges. Older Scouts took many newly-offered badges. Much time was spent hanging around the Trading Post and visiting with Elijah.

[PHOTO] Troop 79 at Camp Owasippe @Dave Keats


Fall outdoor event schedule

So what exactly does the Patrol Leader’s Council do?  In a Scout-led Troop like ours, the PLC decides what the guys want to do with their monthly outings and presents the plan to the Troop Committee.

Thanks to Edward and Hayden for gathering input and presenting to over 20 adults at last week’s Committee mtg.  The PLC has spoken.  The themes they chose to incorporate into our activities were advancement, environmental impact and quality of food.  Here’s the plan for fall 2018:

Our first event will be on September 15 -16 at 31st St. Harbor courtesy of the Sea Scouts. Games, food and other things to entertain both our Scouts and the Webelos (5th graders) who will be invited for the day. The Troop members will have a place to sleep on the big Sea Scout boat, with additional vessels to be added as needed.  Sailing an option depending on weather.

Next up is October 13 – 14 at Blackwell forest preserve in DuPage County. This will be a bike overnight with potential for two different mileages similar to what we did last year on the beautiful (and flat!) Illinois Prairie Path.  This location is ideal for exploring both on foot and on two wheels.  Campfire expected as well.

Third is scheduled for November 2 – 4 at Camp Dan Beard in Northbrook. No school for CPS on Friday gives us the option to do an extended two night event.  This property in Cook County offers opportunities for hiking, orienteering and pioneering (building cool stuff out of branches & rope).

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] IL Prairie Path @boylesfour

Summer 2019 High Adventure – never too early to plan!

It’s true!  Troop 79 is pointing our compass south again to the Caribbean island of St. Thomas to participate in the BSA’s Sea Base high adventure program in 2019.

Experience the allure of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Here, the trade winds blow, offering some of the best sailing in the world. Upon arrival at Sapphire Beach Resort and Marina, our two crews will each board a 40-foot-plus vessel with an experienced captain. Most crews attain the 50 Miler Award as they circumnavigate the crystal blue waters surrounding St. John.

In addition to sailing, our crews will snorkel pristine coral reefs, hike through jungles in the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park, swim ashore to incredible beaches, and fish.


Sea Base St. Thomas – see the Troop calendar

  • Highlights of the trip – see Sea Base St, Thomas brochure
  • Crews fly into STT Airport via commercial airline and taxi to the marina.
  • Adventure will span 6 nights, 7 days including arrival and departure dates, plus transit.
  • Estimated cost is $2,000 per participant including transportation.
  • Either a passport or copy of birth certificate is required to travel.
  • To be eligible to sign up, each participant must:
    • be a registered Boy Scout or Adult Leader.
    • be 13 years of age prior to July 29, 2019.
    • be in good health evidenced by the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record
    • be able to pass the BSA swim test.
    • meet BSA Height and Weight Guidelines.

We have a limited number of spots available! A minimum of 4 adults are needed for the trip (moms or dads).  That leaves room for a maximum of 12 Scouts to attend.

Sign up link will be sent to the Troop email distribution.  Deposit due Aug 1.

Contact Mr. Boyle, Asst. Scoutmaster with any questions.  Anchors aweigh!

Supporting our Chartered Organization

In case you were curious, the “Chartered Organization” conducts the Scouting program through its charter from the Boy Scouts of America.  In the case of Troop 79, we’re fortunate to have the Old Town Triangle Association as our chartered organization.  The Troop and our leaders therefore belong to the OTTA and are part of its “family.”

Q: Which of the below does the Chartered Organization do for the Troop?

  1. They provide the Troop a place to meet
  2. They help fund the Troop’s operating expenses
  3. They suggest activities that could benefit the OTTA and the neighborhood

A: All of the above!

And what does the Troop do in return?  Why of course, we provide cheerful service!  The most obvious example is supporting the annual Old Town Art Fair.  Over the course of four days, the Troop’s Scouts, parents and friends contributed over 350 person-hours of their time to the event.  Despite a couple rainy mornings, the crews setup tents, tables, chairs & stocked the entry booths.  Volunteers were also on hand during the event, as well as helped tear down afterwards.  And for the first time, the Troop also provided assistance for the memorable volunteer appreciation dinner.

Thank you, OTTA!  And thanks also to Mr. Martorina and Mr. Keats for herding the cats.

Member of our Google Group?  Click here for more photos.
[PHOTO] OTTA volunteers @Jill Wachholz

Troop 79 Eagle project update

Only 4 out of every 100 youth members achieve Scouting’s highest rank.  One reason the badge is such an accomplishment is the service project that must be planned, led and completed before a Scout turns 18.  Spring 2018 has been a very productive season for 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.

With the guidance of Mr. Barich, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Z and others, here’s what the six young men pursuing Eagle have achieved this spring:

March 21 With the manpower of over 20 scouts as well as the encouragement and wisdom of troop advisors, my parents, and the South Loop School after-school art teacher, Troop 79 conquered the first of many Eagle Scout projects this spring! Bringing the mural to fruition proved challenging, but the finished piece is fantastic. (still no invitations to the Art Institute masterpiece gallery though. Hmm…) Upon completion, the valiant scouts who sacrificed their evening feasted on Jimmy John’s sandwiches for their efforts. —Elijah

April 21 We did some landscaping cleanup, built and painted a bench and cubbies, and painted the high school room at St. Pauls UCC. (a pretty lengthy to do list…) Lunch was provided and this definitely counted towards rank advancement or high school service hours! —Jake

April 29 We met at the Holy Angels Catholic School Main Entrance at 750 E 40th St. From there, we headed to our workspace just down the block to build planter boxes and install/arrange them. This project helped create an afterschool program for the students to learn about urban farming and provide fresh vegetables for their community! In addition, pizza and drinks were provided for everyone! —Hayden

May 5 Scouts worked with Adaptive Adventures, an organization that helps people with physical disabilities gain access to adventures similar to those in scouting: kayaking, camping, and even skiing! At the project, scouts built multiple types of shelves and painted the entire storage container, resulting in a more useful and brightly colored space for Adaptive Adventures! —Michael

May 12 We worked at Patchwork Farms, 2825 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, from 9 am until 2 pm, and food was provided! We built a rat-proof lid for a compost box, which was formerly a shipping container (20 feet by 8 feet!)  In addition, we performed some minor repairs for the farm, as well as helped them get ready for the planting season. —Otto

May 26 The art installation at the Lincoln Park Community Services shelter took the cooperation of 20 Scouts and the use of the Lane Tech maker lab’s milling machine. The project incorporated additional shelving in their community kitchen, which was custom fit to the cabinet. The art pieces that came out of this displayed “Loyal”, “Helpful”, and “Friendly”; parts of the Scout law and images inspired by the city. —Edward

[PHOTOS] Elijah G,, Michael Y, @boylesfour


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

High Adventure BSA Swim Test

All Scouts and adults going to Summit and/or Northern Tier need to complete the standard BSA swim test. The test can be taken in one of the following ways:
1. In July at Owasippe (preferred)
2. At one of the two events below (see Troop calendar):
Sat, June 2 10:00-10:45AM at Independence Park, 3945 N Springfield Ave, Chicago, IL 60618, contact Mr. Boyle
 Sun, June 3 2:15-3:00PM at Ping Tom Park, 1700 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616, contact Mr. Greiner
3. On your own, assuming you can have a qualified adult trained in BSA Safe Swim Defense sign off the form here
Either way, the test must be completed and signed off before departing.  RSVP APPRECIATED for anyone attending the June 2 or 3 sessions!
– Jump feet first into water over the head in depth, level off, and begin swimming.
– Swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy resting backstroke.
– The 100 yards must be swum continuously and include at least one sharp turn.
– After completing the swim, rest by floating.

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



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