Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Re: Delemma.....backpacking!
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 11:53:00 -0400
Jason Cruse wrote:
>However, the parents have a concern about the cost. It is much
>cheaper, for example, for my boys to go to the Seabase, where all
>equipment is supplied, than to go to Philmont, where the boys would
>need boots (unless they follow the advice in a recent Backpacker
> article...), sleeping bags, etc.
This is true but there are other ways to get into high adventure
backpacking without spending a lot of cash. I went to Seabase with
our troop this summer at a cost of $495 plus incidentals (souvenirs,
meals in Key West, etc.). I still had to buy an extra bathing suit,
deck shoes, a duffle bag, and the like on top of the cash outlay for
A week after we got back from Seabase I took a group of 5 Scouts and 2
Scouters on a 52 mile hike through a section of the Appalachian Trail
in North Carolina. We even took a whitewater rafting trip at the end
of the hike. The cost of our homemade high adventure trip was $112
each (which inluded two nights in a motel, trail food, the rafting
trip, and gas for a 1200 mile round trip). Even with incidental costs
for souvenirs and meals, the cost was under $200. If you're careful
you can outfit a Scout with a decent backpack and boots for well under
$200. Much of the other gear (stoves, tents, water purifiers) you may
already have as troop equipment or you can split the cost among your
The reason we did the Appalachian Trail hike was to address the
initial reason for this post, to instill a renewed interest in
backpacking with the hopes of sparking interest in a Philmont trek in
2000. Our troop had fallen away from backpacking activities due to
apprehension and climate (we're near Tampa). So when the PLC didn't
put it on the troop calendar, we offered the AT trip as an additional
outing that Scouts could opt to attend. The PLC wasn't threatened by
this at all and we had 12 Scouts sign up. The list was pared down to
7 by shakedown hikes and moving families.
I can tell you that even though this was the cheapest of our summer
high adventure activities, it was the most rewarding and challenging
of them all (according to Scouts who attended multiple activities).
Seeing Scouts work together in a physically demanding situation is a
very enlightening, and pleasant, experience. Nothing brings a group
together like shared pain and suffering! ;) Seriously, nothing is more
stisfying than seeing a group of boys using their Scout skills and
working as a team.
The next step is to recognize the Scouts who took the hike at our
Court of Honor next week. They will not only receive their 50 miler
awards but will also be acknowledged as men who conquered adversity
and had fun in the process. I'm making some custom white blazes for
the hiking staves and putting together some commemorative maps of the
hike for them too. I'm also planning to have some displays including
photos from the trip to spark backpacking interest with other Scouts
in our troop.
Just having the trip with a small number of Scouts has already helped
though. As we prepared for the trip we made monthly announcements
about shakedown hikes and planning sessions so the trip got some
publicity within the troop. Possibly as a result of this, the slots
in our Philmont 2000 trek were all filled last month. Now the
challenge is to keep the interest and the skills alive in the troop!
Philmont here we come!
Yours in Scouting,
ASM T11, Timucua District, Gulf Ridge Council, Tampa, FL
I used to be an Eagle, SR-CS-5
I used to be an Antelope, SR-204
I used to be a staffer, SR-CS-8
I used to have spare time!