Scout troop 317: trees, snow, hay, and smoke

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

By Scout Master J. Bruce Pyper

January has been a busy month for the Scouts of Troop 317.

Christmas Tree recycling project
The month started off with our 26th annual Christmas Tree Recycling Project. On January 7, the troop helped recycle 203 trees. We started at 8:30am and dropped off the last trees at 2pm. There were four teams of Scouts and adults that went through the various neighborhoods and gathered the trees into one location for that neighborhood. Then we had small dump truck that were donated for the day that picked up the piles of trees and; took them to Meridian Park Elementary where the City of Shoreline had recycling stations set up. 

One trip, we had 55 trees crammed into the dump truck. Thank you for those who were able to help out the Scouts. We saw several other troops dropping off trees so even if we did not pick up your tree, your donation went to a good cause!

This is where we camped. Some of the scouts put their tents under the dining shelter.
Photo by Bruce Pyper.

Overnight camp-out
The Scouts also managed to get in an overnight camp-out this month. For a while, the camp-out looked like it would be snowed out. Luckily the snow melted, the roads cleared, and the winds blew themselves out. 

We drove out on a Friday night to a campground near Lake Stevens. We managed to get the tents up and dinner eaten before everyone got too tired or cold to stay up. One scout had to re-think his dinner options when the foil dinner he had cooked on the fire opened and spilled his dinner on the ground. Luckily, there was enough extra food that he didn’t go hungry. 

In true Scout Master fashion, I was the last one to turn in. I was glad to head for bed as it was getting pretty cold ... cold enough that some of the tents were already developing frost. We all survived the night and emerged to…. a fairly warm morning. Yes, it was still cold, but all the frost was gone. 

Breakfast was cooked and eaten around the fire. Most everyone was eating oatmeal: it is fast, easy, and (very importantly) warm! If you ever want your son to eat oatmeal at home, just turn down the thermostat and tell him it will get him warm! 

Wet hay makes a LOT of smoke. Photo by Bruce Pyper.

Service Project (the BEST ever!)
The Scouts had the opportunity to do a Service Project while we were at the campground. The campground has a small archery range that uses bales of hay as backstops for the targets. Several of the bales were coming apart and getting moldy. Our job was to replace the old hay with new bales and dispose of the old bales. The Scouts were thinking this sounded a lot like “work” until they heard that they got to burn the old hay. Suddenly, “work” sounded more like “fun”!! 

We took the old hay and put it in a huge fire ring. The ring was about 6 feet in diameter with walls about 3 feet tall (it was a section of metal culvert liner). After we piled in the old hay, it was about 7 feet tall. As you can imagine, wet, moldy hay gives off lots of smoke. There was enough smoke that the Scouts were wondering if they could practice sending smoke signals. I heard several of the young men commenting, “This is the BEST service project EVER!!” 

Put the garbage away!
After making sure the hay fire was contained, we headed back to camp for lunch. That was when we discovered that, while we had cleaned up our gear, we had forgotten to put our bag of trash away. The Scouts were none to happy to clean up the trash a second time after the local crows had gone through it. I think they will remember to put the garbage away next time!

Stay tuned for the Klondike Derby
Stay tuned next month, as we will be heading to Cle Elum for a Klondike Derby. A Klondike Derby is where several troops of scouts get together for Gold Rush themed competitions like sled races, fire building, cross cut saw races, etc. It should be fun!


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