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Camp Alpine and The Palisades: Hiking Along The Hudson

By Kristof D.

Tradition says if you want or need rain, invite Troop 5 to camp!

In late March, Troop 5 set out on a adventure for an 11.3-mile hike and camping around the banks of The Hudson River.

The troop drove up to Camp Alpine, were we then hiked against The Hudson.

The hike was a loop, beginning in New Jersey and leading into New York.

The first point on the trail was a small castle almost looking over the Hudson on a cliff; the adult leaders said it was used as an outpost in the American Revolution.

Next we hiked in cold rain and wind to a restaurant looking over The Hudson that graciously let Troop 5 in to eat.

After our lunch break, we went on to an overlook of The Hudson and saw many trains.

Then we hiked on to the border of the states of New York and New Jersey, where there was a stone monument.

Then we crossed the border and hiked through a river to come to a turning point, on the banks of the river.

“While many people can camp in good weather, Troop 5 can camp in any weather.”

–Roger Brauchli, Troop 5 Maplewood Scout Master Emeritus

As we turned back our Scout Master led us to an old highway on which we hiked back.

As we came back to the campsite we crossed over a highway on a bridge as cars honked at us.

When we came back to camp we set up in the rain and played around exploring the camp ground.

Then we came back to our tents where an Assistant Scout Master had set up a dining tent over a table where we ate chicken quesadillas for dinner.

After dinner one of the adult leaders set up a fire as it started to only drizzle.

As we went to sleep it was still raining. Many people had a sleepless night.

In the morning we had pancakes, eggs, and bacon as the rain had stopped and the clouds were opening up.

After breakfast we packed up our wet tents.

To close off the trip our Chaplain’s Aid gave a great interactive ‘vespers’ service.

Then our Scout Master said to set up our tents at home to dry, and everyone got into cars and went home.

A Day (Not Night) At The Museum

By Max C.

Troop 5 took a day trip Dec. 10, 2022 into New York City to visit the American Museum of Natural History.

After taking the train and subway to the museum, Scouts were allowed to explore the various exhibits the museum had to offer. A fun-filled day with lots of history and science resulted!

One of the featured exhibits contained eye-opening analogies to explain the vast scale of the universe, from the size of a single quark in an atom up to entire galaxies, showing how all scales were interconnected.

Other fun areas included displays of various animals and cultures from around the world, which aimed to teach about native ways of life, and a display about Earth’s changing climate.

The clear favorite, however, was the dinosaur floor.

Having crammed our brains with new knowledge while hanging out with friends, we were all glad we went, as we all began to think about our next Scouting adventure.

An entire level of the building was devoted to showcasing replicas of dinosaur skeletons and dioramas depicting what various dinosaurs are thought to have looked like. Spanning every age and classification of these fabled creatures, the exhibit was a highlight of many Scouts’ day.

Besides the standard exhibits, other highlights of the day included lunch in Manhattan’s Upper West Side (Shake Shack was a favorite) and a planetarium show. The show at the Hayden Planetarium included facts about the outer reaches of our solar system and the search for other habitable planets, all within a giant and somewhat trippy giant metal ball.

After a fun-filled and tiring day in New York City, the troop returned home (though not 100% awake…). 

Having crammed our brains with new knowledge while hanging out with friends, we were all glad we went, as we all began to think about our next Scouting adventure.

Cooking Up History, and a ‘Mystery’ at Camp Munsee

By Chris F.

Troop 5 made the trip to Camp Munsee for our annual Troop 5 Cooking Competition Jan. 21.

Before the competition the Scouts were playing basketball and football, as well as some card games.

As it neared time for the competition, we were all called into the dining room and told there was “a murder!”

The patrols worked to piece together information and find out who the “murderer*” was.

(*Due to legal requirements and due process, I am not at liberty to identify the suspected “murderer.”)

After the mystery was sorted out, the patrols began preparing their food or the competition.

The themes ranged from ‘Different Pizzas’ to ‘Squid Games.’

In the end, the Cobra patrol won with their meal, which included ‘pizza bagels,’ two pizzas (dino nuggets + fries, and plain), a ‘fruit and cookie pizza,’ and a ‘monkey bread pizza,’ which consisted of Pillsbury Biscuits, sauce, and cheese.

With the cooking competition finished, we played a game of ‘Commandos’ and assorted card games.

At around 10:30, we went to bed with full stomachs.

Battling the Cold at Battleship Cove

By Eric F.

ON BOARD THE USS MASSACHUSETTS, Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean–(Nov. 20)–

It was a brisk cold night.

We had just arrived at the battleship.

We arrived late. We pulled into the parking lot and as soon as we opened the door, a cold gust of wind blew into the car.

We exited the car walking down the dock to the battleship. It was pitch black at night, but you could still make out the giant waves and the water crashing down.

We opened the steel hatch concealing the interior.

We went down a few flights of stairs, which were cramped and barren. We came up on our berths where our whole Troop was staying, and it was very spacious but dark. Soon after we had stowed our gear we explored the ship.

There were many cool things, especially at night, and the darkness added a mystique which made the boat even more fun to explore.

We were walking along the deck of the boat, when we stumbled upon a strange door in the floor. We opened it and found a passageway leading toward the old mess that served soldiers in the war.

We strolled around in that room, finding many cool exhibits and ultimately learning more about the battleship.

We decided after that to look at the top deck.

It was very cold. I almost got frostbite despite wearing gloves.

West Point

By Ethan P.

On Oct. 21 Troop 5 left to go on a camping trip to visit the West Point Military
College. We left around 7 p.m. on the drive to the campsite, which was located in New York State.

When we arrived at the camping spot we saw many other Boy Scout troops who were also going
to West Point all around us, so we made our way over to our reserved campsite and quickly put
up our tents and got ready to go to sleep because we would have to get up early to get to the
college on time in the morning.

It was a cold night, with temperatures dropping to 36 degrees.

We woke up pretty early the next day, around 6 a.m. to get into uniform, eat breakfast and drive
to the actual college.

By the time we got to West Point it was around 8 a.m., we parked in a field and went to
see the demonstrations given by the West Point cadets.

At the demonstrations they were teaching boxing, judo and displaying other activities.

After the demonstrations we left to view the parade put on by the school which showed off the cadets marching in formation.

Immediately after the parade was finished we were able to witness the parachute team come down from the
sky and land right on the field in front of us.

After a short walk around the campus we made our way to a bus to get to the main
event, the football game.

“Immediately after the parade was finished we were able to witness the parachute team come down from the sky and land right on the field in front of us.”

We ended up getting in there around an hour before the game started so we made our way to the top of the stadium to get to our seats and get food to eat. Before the game started the West Point team made their entrance, with the parachute team coming out of the sky again and landing in the middle of the field.

The game began with relatively even scores for both the teams. The West Point team would have cannons go off whenever they scored points. By halftime it was clear that West Point was going to win the game. During halftime the
parachute team came down again and tried to see who could land the most centered on the

By the end of the game the score was 48-to-24 in favor of West Point.

Afterwards we all went back to the campsite and cooked our dinner — quesadillas.

The rest of the night was relaxed as we made a campfire.

We all went to sleep shortly after the campfire.

The second night was warmer than the first.

In the morning we cooked our breakfast — eggs bacon and hashbrowns. We then took down our campsite, packed our bags and had Vespers.

After we all packed up we did a final sweep to check for garbage before leaving at 11:00 a.m.
and drove back home.

The Beach

Camping in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens and Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean

By Henry V.

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.

“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.”

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.  

Troop 5 Scouts paddle boarding at Summer Camp 2022

Troop 5 Bivouack at Tupper Lake

(Two-Weeks at Massawepie Scout Camp)

By Matthew V.

     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.

“This is the easiest place to get merit badges done because you have everything there.”

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.


Philmont 2022

Scenes from High Adventure trip to Philmont Scout Ranch, 2022

‘One of the Most Magical Places in the World’

By Teddy O.

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.

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

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.


Camp Tabora

By Tucker S., Troop 5 Scribe

On the weekend of April 23-25, Troop 5 went on a campout at Camp Tabora.

‘Camp Tabora’ – named after Assistant Scout Master Edwin Tabora, whose son, Eagle Scout Nathaniel Tabora, recently ‘aged-out’ of Troop 5 – is really the Taboras’ lawn.

Members of all 5 patrols went.

On a neighbor’s lawn, we had the Troop 5 Olympics.

The Troop Olympics are an annual event that patrols compete in for Patrol Points Contest (PPC) points.

We played many games of ‘Newty Ball,’ (a form of dodgeball), Rope of Death, and Capture the Flag.

Those who are going to Philmont in the summer partook in a ‘shakedown,’ where we saw what we had, and what we needed, to go backpacking on the Philmont trek.

Scouts arrived and departed with their parents, or through carpooling with patrol mates.

Our New Scout Master

An Interview with Chris Donat

By Keegan B., Troop 5 Historian

Chris Donat became Troop 5’s Scout Master Jan. 1, 2022.

After watching Roger Brauchli, the Troop’s longest-serving Scout Master, he wanted to make sure he could make a big impact on the Troop like Roger did.

Mr. Donat became involved in Boy Scouts because his son Cole, who is an Eagle Scout, was involved in Troop 5. 

Cole eventually became a Senior Patrol Leader. 

Cole’s brother, Henry, is the current Senior Patrol Leader.

Mr. Donat has been to Philmont Scout Ranch and the U.S. Virgin Islands (‘High Adventure’ trips) once.

In 2016 he became an Assistant Scout Master.

He was a Cub Master before that, with Maplewood’s Pack 19.

Mr. Donat’s favorite part has been attending summer camp, doing all the activities and spending time with all the people.

His favorite high adventure trip has been Philmont, though he did like USVI as well.

His favorite camping trip is the Long Beach Island trip, although he does love the Mohawk Mountain ski trip as well.

I just know that he will look forward to the memories he will make as a Scout Master.