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Astronomical Awesomeness

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IMG_1620Every few years, we go up to Monte Sano in Huntsville for a campout. It was exceptionally fun this year, because, besides the Planetarium show and Star Party hosted by the Von Braun Astronomical Society, several Scouts decided to make a “Hunger Games” mini movie. Also, we got to add another sticker to the Troop trailer! This year, the Society did a presentation on Jupiter the day we went. As of now, this campout is definitely one of the best outings of the year!

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Fish, Food, Football, and Fun

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A Scout is cheerfully cleaning his freshly caught bass before cooking it

Most of the Troop camp outs during 2015 were full of rain events.  So far in 2016, the Troop has enjoyed much better weather.  In February, the Vulcan District Camporee has been very cold and wet.  This year we had mild temperatures and no rain.  For the March camp out, the Troop missed all the rain and cold by just a day.  The Troop got to camp next to a private lake filled with Bass.  It did not take long for the Scouts to catch a fish.  For some Scouts working on their Fishing Merit Badge, this was the first time they were able to catch a good size fish, clean it, then cook the fish. When the fish were not biting, the Scouts enjoyed playing around with a football.  As the day of enjoyment ended, patrols cooked some hearty dinners then relaxed by the fire.  It was a great camp out for fish, food, football, and plain old-fashion outdoor fun!

Camporee 2016

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Vulcan District hosts a competition event each year  – Camporee.  Troops from the district compete in multiple events, from knot relays, to cross cut sawing, to first aid.  Each patrol competed in various events and had fun while doing it.  In addition to the competition events, Scouts can learn to make fire starters, cook, and how to make rope.  Troop 95 hosts the rope making station each year and teach Scouts how to make rope by either a machine or rolling it by hand.  Camporee is also a great venue for Webelos to learn about Troop life.  While the Troops are competing in their events, Webelos have a similar set of competitions.  After their events are complete, the Webelos get to camp with the Troops.  Troop 95 was happy to have Webelos visit from Pack 386.  The Webelos got to cook with the Patrols and learn what it is like to camp in a Troop outing.  The weather could not have been any better – warm and dry.  Traditionally, Camporee is wet and cold, so this year the Troop enjoyed great weather.

2016-Camporee

Honey Badger Patrol competing in the Trolley Race

Survival Campout

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survival-2016

A Scout making his survival shelter

When you talk to Scouts or adults who were former Boy Scouts and you mention the words “Survival Campout”, one word consistently is mentioned: Memorable.  On January 16, 2016, Troop 95 held a survival camp out and it was memorable.  The scenario was that the Scouts were on a two hour hike and get lost.  They had to use what was on them and had the opportunity prior to the outing to create a survival kit using an Altoids tin with what they thought they needed.

Once at the camp site, Scouts practice signaling, snares, and water filtration methods.  After eating their lunch from the hike scenario, Scouts were told they were now lost in the woods and should build a shelter to survive the night.  All afternoon, Scouts made their shelters in the hopes of staying dry and warm throughout the night.  With little chance of rain predicted, the Scouts thought they needed to focus on staying warm only.  After dropping to freezing weather, mother nature decided that the 30 percent chance of rain was really 3 hours of rain.  Scouts and leaders who participated learned quickly if their shelters were warm and dry.  For most, it was not the case.  Wind and rain showed most the error of their ways.

For dinner, Scouts were given some skirt steak and a chicken leg to simulate catching their dinner.  Scouts had to make their fires and devise a way to cook their catch.  From spearing their food to making a spit, Scouts were proud on their achievement on making their own dinner.  After the camp out, Scouts were asked how the outing went and what they learned.  All were enthusiastic and wanted to do it again.  Most of all, Scouts said this outing was memorable!

Backpacking Trip

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Scouts backpacking on the Pine Torch Trail in Bankhead National Forest

Scouts backpacking on the Pine Torch Trail in Bankhead National Forest

On October 18,2014, the Troop ventured out to Bankhead National Forest and backpacked the Pine Torch Trail. For many of the Scouts and Leaders, this was the first time backpacking. The weather was perfect for hiking. The trail was a little cumbersome since the trail is an active horseback riding trail. Sitting around the Leave No Trace style campfire in the evening, the Scouts reflected on what they saw and learned that day. Even though the hike wore out some of the Scouts, all agreed is was a fun time. It was realized that many fellow students their age never get the opportunity to put experience putting your entire living (shelter, food, and clothes) on your back and go out into the wild and live. Some Scouts may have grumbled on the hike in, but all Scouts were cheerful on the way out from such a great time.

Summer Camp 2014

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One of the Scouts took shotgun merit badge.  He earned a nice bruise and the "most improved" award.

One of the Scouts took shotgun merit badge. He earned the “most improved” award and the bruise to prove his efforts.

What a difference a year makes. Last year, half of the Scouts attending Summer Camp were new to the experience. This year, the Scouts were old pros at having fun at camp. Scouts took merit badge classes, ranging from activities such as rifle, canoeing, and shotgun, to Eagle required classes such as first aid and cooking. Once again, Troop 95 was honored to have Scouts and leaders be tapped into the Order of the Arrow. Three Scouts and one leader accepted the nominations for entering the OA. The Troop had a new campground which had a great fishing spot nearby. The Scouts had a great time and will remember camp food for years to come.

Off to Camp

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The Troop posing before they headed off to Summer Camp

The Troop posing before they headed off to Summer Camp

The Troop headed off for Summer Camp on Father’s Day. 95 has a standing tradition of going to Camp Comer every year where the temperature tends to be cooler than the Birmingham metro area. A few fathers gave up their Father’s Day celebrations to head out with the Scouts to spend the week having fun. Some Scouts are focusing in on their Eagle merit badges while some go to just have plain ole’ fun.

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