Any troop 5 outing from a simple hike to summer camp is an adventure.
Troop 5 camping trips are more than your regular weekend, because you are with your friends. Suddenly you will remember small mistakes or little jokes that will last forever. I can’t even explain the fun and laughter I enjoyed with the Cobra patrol after just one car ride.
On a sunny Saturday morning we all woke up with one thing on our minds: The Beach. The expectations of digging holes and swimming got us motivated to move quickly.
We soon ate breakfast and piled into the car, ready for a day at the beach.
Troop 5 has many traditions, one of which involves digging a massive hole in the sand.
Towards the end of the trip most of the troop gets into the hole and becomes buried. Also a few scouts decided to play “kill the carrier” with a spikeball, there were somehow no casualties, just lots of water swallowed.
Aside from swimming and digging the beach was also a place to lay down and play catch or spend time alone. Tired and sandy we left the beach appreciating why this trip continues to be an annual tradition.
A troop 5 campfire is most easily explained as magical.
A combination of the fire and the traditions make you seem entranced in the spirit of scouting, that we rarely get a taste of in our modern lives.
Besides the regular songs from the Kilkenny Collection there was The Window, Titanic, and Railroad.
Troop 5 skits are also a great way to get a short laugh with a lifelong memory on the side. The skits at the beach were Cobra Patrol Pokemon, and Mr Beast Roughriders. After the laughs and the songs the campfire was brought to a close with a small speech by Mr Donat followed up with apple crisp.
On Sunday morning while we pack up the troop slowly appreciates the luxuries of living in the 21 century.
While camping you can almost slow your pace of life where you don’t care about whatever someone halfway around the world did and posted online.
Instead you just think about you in the moment.
In summary, on the 2022 LBI beach trip we learn that scouting is best spent with friends.
There are a lot of traditions that come with coming to Massawepie Scout Camp.
You can’t really experience the full potential of these traditions in one week — that’s why Troop 5 stays for two weeks.
We got to the Maplewood Pool Parking lot around 6:00 or 6:30. The bus arrived, we loaded up the bus in preparation for the 5-and-a-half-hour ride up to Tupper Lake in ‘upstate’ New York.
When we got there, we went to our campsite — Newcome — as we’ve done in past years.
We didn’t also have a campsite at Tupper this year, so it’s kind of jampacked, but with the number of people coming and the number of people leaving, it all worked out in the end.
After we set up a tent, we went down to the dining hall for a medical check-up.
After that, we went down to the waterfall to take the BSA swim test. After the swim test, we went back to the campsite and finished setting up.
There’s a lot of time in between the evening Flag ceremony and the swim test so we set up our grills, made our duty roster, and made our beds.
At dinner time, the “Gophers” (patrol dining helpers designated on the roster) went down to get our buckets of food. We patrol-cook the first week of summer camp, and go to the dining hall for cooked food the second week of encampment.
We had the evening Flag ceremony, after which we eat dinner.
After dinner, there was the Monday night campfire where the Massawepie staff introduces themself and they’ll do a skit related to what they teach like sports or art.
The next morning, we got our schedules and started working on the merit badges we’d asked when registering for camp to be scheduled to work on.
This is the easiest place to get merit badges done because you have everything there.
Some of the merit badges I took were camping, small boat sailing, and pioneering.
Every day after lunch was ‘siesta.’ Siesta is a time where we can do some organizing or play cards with our friends or kind of like relax.
Also during certain hours the ‘Trading Post’ and ‘Big Jakes’ is open.
Big Jake is the snack shack of Massawepie, where you can get special slushies and can even request your own flavor. They also have candy and chips and ice cream.
During siesta is also when the ‘Bank of Tom’ is open. The ‘Bank of Tom’ is run by Mr. Tom Kilkenny, who holds individual Scouts’ funds in trust and safety during the encampment. When Scouts need money for things like at the ‘Trading Post’ or ‘Big Jakes,’ they need to visit the ‘Bank of Tom’ to be able to withdraw money for such things.
We went through the first week which was patrol cooking, which was an interesting experience, and finishing merit badges. When Friday comes around all of the other troops leave but we stay because we stay for two weeks.
During the weekend, we usually do a campfire in which we sing a song and each patrol does a skit. We do laundry, play ‘commandos,’ and do whatever we want to. On Saturday night, we have a Troop 5 cookout where we borrowed Massaweepie grill and grilled hotdogs and hamburgers. Usually, Mr. Stein and Mr. Barry do that. On Sunday we have a lot of free time because all the new troops are showing up and they have to do the medical checks and swim test. During Sunday ‘siesta’ we get new schedules for the next week and hang out.
The next morning we eat breakfast in the dining hall and then went to our first merit badge activity of the new week. We went through the second week like the first week.
During the last Saturday night we do something called the Honor Campfire. It is when Troop 5 Scouts vote on who should be named the ‘Honor Camper.’ We vote for three people during the siesta and they announce it during the campfire.
Also, we retire an American flag ceremonially and appropriately over the fire. Then we did some songs. When someone wins Honor Camper they get a leather neckerchief slide with the letters H and C. These neckerchief slides are made by a former Troop 5 scout.
When it was Sunday, it was time to leave, and everybody was so sad.
We packed up and got out of the camp around 11:00 a.m. We were heading back to Maplewood and we stopped at a rest stop it get some snacks and stretch our legs.
Over the course of the bus ride, we watched “Spaceballs” and “Monty Python” and the “Holy Grail.”
I think we watched more, but I fell asleep through two of them, so I can’t remember.
We arrive at Maplewood at 5:15 p.m. and there’s a large crowd of parents and adult leaders waiting to greet us.
Also, if you are a new Scout or a parent that has a Scout in the Troop, I strongly encourage you to come to Massawepie and don’t come for one week because then you’re not getting a whole Massawepie experience.
Scenes from High Adventure trip to Philmont Scout Ranch, 2022
‘One of the Most Magical Places in the World’
By T.O. Brien
Philmont Scout Ranch, in Cimarron, New Mexico, is one of the most magical places in the world. Its lofty mountains and babbling brooks have captured the hearts of many Scouts since its opening in 1938.
In July 2022, I was one of the lucky few Scouts who visited Philmont from Troop 5, as part of the crew 709-R-02. Over the 12-day trek, we hiked over 60 miles, and went as high as 10,000 feet above sea level, experiencing one of the most amazing locations on Earth.
Our trip started in Denver, Colo., where we were picked up from the airport by Blue Sky Adventures, a company focused on enhancing high adventure trips for scouts. During our two-day time with BSA (an acronym that is no coincidence), we stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs, enjoying such amenities as a full in-hotel water park, several small storefronts, and the last real bed we’d sleep in for two full weeks.
During our stay, we went to several local Colorado attractions, including the Garden of the Gods, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and whitewater rafting at Echo Canyon. The fun and games were about to end, however, because at dawn on July 9, it was time to board the bus to Philmont Scout Ranch.
Once we arrived at Philmont, it was time to get all the supplies we would need for our trek: tents, food, and our route. The tents were simple two-person tents with only the absolute essentials – a tent body, poles, and a rain fly. Food was usually dehydrated and strictly non-perishable – we’d be carrying it for five days before restocking.
With everything we would need, it was time to set out.
Our trek began with a bus ride out into the backcountry for some quick training before we started the hike. Philmont Scout Rangers taught us everything we’d need to know before they left us on our own on the third day.
The first hike was probably the hardest – steep uphill, midday sun, and New Jersey-induced naïveté. After that, things got easier, and by the time our Rangers set back off to base camp, we all felt a little more confident.
From there, time passed quickly, with such amazing opportunities as the Tooth of Time, campfire performances at Urraca and Beaubien, and black powder rifles and tomahawk throwing.
(I’ve also been asked by our troop historian, Tucker Spence, to mention the missed opportunity of goat naps, a luxury we were unfortunately unable to indulge in for fear of getting to the next camp too late). By the time we got back to base camp on July 20, we were all ready to go home.
Words truly cannot describe the beauty Philmont Scout Ranch has to offer. It truly embodies the best of the American landscape. It’s a place where you can let your mind wander, taking in the sights and the sounds, where you can let yourself forget about what was, what is, and what will be. It’s a place where you can let your mind wander, taking in the sights and sounds, where you can let yourself forget about what was, what is, and what will be
Philmont has provided people with some of the greatest experiences of their lives, and it will continue doing so for many more years to come.