Order of the Arrow Call Out
Congratulations to our newest members of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting's elite Honor Society. This Call Out ceremony was conducted around a traditional bonfire. We're proud of our Scouts for taking on this responsibility.
This year’s annual backpacking adventure in Ocala National Forest was as fun as ever. All our Florida Scouts powered through the cold, making nights (and frigid mornings) by the fire that much better. Backpacking in Ocala over the MLK 3 day holiday has been a tradition for Troop 610 for over 14 years. It’s one of the Scouts, and adults, favorite trips, and embodies the tenants of Scouting at it’s core.
We always run two different treks on this camp out, a long and a short trek. We began by having sandwiches at Juniper Springs rec area, where the cars are left. 9 Scouts and 2 adults went on the longer trek, putting in at Alexander Springs, camping Saturday night on the shore of Buck Lake. We hiked about 13 miles Sunday, camping approx 4 miles south of Juniper. There are only 2 places on that stretch of dense trail open enough to camp in, and both are rather hidden. But fortunately our eagle eyed Scouts found the last one or we would’ve been out of luck. We ended Monday morning back at Juniper Springs, with a total of around 20-21 miles hiked.
9 Scouts and 4 adults on the shorter trek left Juniper Springs Saturday after shuttling the long trek guys, hiking north. They camped Saturday night at Hidden Pond, a reliable water source. Sunday they made it to the infamous sinkhole off the Yearling Trail, always a highlight. Monday they hiked out to Silver Glen, where the long trek guys picked them up. The short trek covered about 13 miles total.
There’s nothing like waking up to frost covered tents and packs, especially when you’re from Florida! The guys learned to sleep with their boots in their tent the hard way. And thanks to the leader who taught them ‘The Trick’, which he’d learned from a guide on a recent mountain climbing trip in Yosemite….fill a Nalgene with boiling water and put it in the foot of your sleeping bag for toasty warmth all night.
We are so proud of our 2017 Philmont Crew! 97 miles in 12 days. Can't wait to hear all the stories. Congrats, guys!
We wish all our Scouts the very best of luck on their trip to Philmont Scout Ranch! They left Saturday, June 17 and will return Friday, June 30. Troop 610 rotates between each of the High Adventure camps every summer to ensure Scouts are able to attend all before turning 18. Scouts must be age 14 to attend. Philmont seems to be almost all Scouts favorite High Adventure trip thanks to the climate and terrain that is completely unlike anything they experience in Florida. Also because the programming while at camp is amazing. You're not just hiking in the desert, but you're also getting to rock climb, do black powder shooting, etc. They'll also be putting in around 70 miles of serious wilderness backpacking. It takes stamina and a definite sense of humor to do those kind of miles, especially at elevation. We can't wait to hear how it goes, Scouts!
On Monday, May 8, 2017 PJ O'Brien achieved Scouting's highest rank by earning his Eagle Scout rank. As part of an Air Force family, PJ has admirably excelled in Scouting over 12 years despite being in various troops in 9 different states. This takes great dedication and effort. Through these many moves, PJ cites Scouting as being a constant in his life, and has helped him make new friends easier.
A Junior with a nearly a 4.0 GPA and a member of the National Honor Society, he is planning to attend a Florida university with a major in Marine Biology/Biology and a minor in Business. His ultimate goal is to work in the field of science, to own his own business, and to have a family where he can pass down his father's and his own name. PJ is the first Scout in his family to earn his Eagle rank, and will be a great example for his two younger brothers who are also in Troop 610.
PJ is extremely ambitious and hard working, and embodies friendliness and helpfulness. He has given countless hours of community service, including volunteering at his local shelter and sponsoring a special needs student at the Special Olympics. Through his leadership in the Troop he has mentored many Scouts and helped them earn merit badges and advance in rank. As an Eagle Scout, he will continue to be an example of Scout's highest ideals, and plans to participate as an Assistant Scoutmaster post-college. We wish him all the best. PJ, you will be missed!
Last weekend the Troop went over to the east coast to do some paddle boarding and ocean kayaking. We were surfing at Ron Jon in April, but this was different. We stayed at Tanah Keeta Scout Reservation in Tequesta (first time here, but it came highly recommended and didn't disappoint), and spent Saturday enjoying the big waves and bigger ocean at Coral Cove beach near Jupiter. We climbed all over the coral rocks on the beach and explored the sea life, then when high tide was coming in, we went out into the inlet at the Jupiter Outdoor Center on kayaks and paddle boards. We paddled around the lighthouse, and saw turtles, dolphins and lots of sea life. It was a great adventure, and a fantastic way to wrap up another great year of camping. Can't wait to do it again!
Sadly, this is the last camp out for Jakob Strawn and Jacob Bailey before their 18th birthdays. These guys are true examples of Scout Spirit, and will be tremendously missed by all of us.
Renaissance Festival Camp Out, Followed by the First Annual, Totally Epic Scouts vs. Parents Cook Off
This is our second time going to camp up at the Lower Hillsborough Washburn Equestrian area of SWFMD property, and this time, IT DIDN'T FLOOD. The weather was bright, sunny and just warm enough to wear shorts. No floating tents (!!!). We all had a great time ambling around the Ren Fair over at MOSI during Saturday, watching jousting and eating turkey legs til we burst. Twice now the Scouts have voted to make this one of their monthly campouts, and I expect it will be a yearly pick based on how much fun they all have.
After the great day out, our families met us at the campsite for a Scout vs. Parents cook off. Since we'd been studying medieval cooking practices, the criteria was you can only cook over coals or fire. Our Scouts gave the parent teams a run for their money. One thing for sure: Troop 610 Scouts CAN COOK. These boys know what's what. Grilled sides of salmon with grilled fresh pineapple, from-scratch fettucine alfredo with bacon, donut holes with chocolate fondue...seriously, you missed it. And the parents, not to be outdone: a big shout out to the trashcan turkey. 22 lbs cooked in 2.5 hours and it was delish. And of course to the Parent team winner, Mercedes' fantastic Puerto Rican stew!
Thanks to some of our great parent volunteers, we had a dodgeball court set up in the woods, and a giant slingshot game, and even water pong to keep the fun going while everything cooked.