Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Derby Scouts enjoy cross-country camping trek

They covered more than 4,300 miles
Troop 3 Scouts and Exchange Scouts pose at Horseshoe Bend near Page, Ariz.. / Contributed photo

DERBY -  “Amazing,” “fantastic," and “unbelievable” were some of the comments heard from the Scouts and leaders from Housatonic Council Boy Scout Troop 3 Derby, and exchange Scouts from Derby, England, Peterborough, England and Limerick, Ireland, who recently returned from a three-week cross-country camping adventure.

The crew of 19 flew to Los Angeles and then traveled with the TrekAmerica touring company by vans and trailers back to Derby, covering more than 4,300 miles while visiting many of the natural and national monuments of America.

Highlights included a day in the Pacific Ocean at Manhattan Beach, tour of the UCLA campus, river hiking the narrow canyons at Zion National Park, hiking into the Grand Canyon, staying at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, visiting the UFO Museum in Roswell, N.M., and witnessing the exodus of thousands of bats and then exploring Carlsbad Cavern.  
The group experienced a cowboy camp, enjoying horseback riding and steak dinner; they were treated to an open jeep tour of Monument Valley and spent a night in a traditional Hogan, courtesy of the Navajo Nation. While there, the scouts completed a service project of repairing the Hogan by applying mud to the structure.

While in Texas, the group visited the Alamo and the San Antonio Riverwalk, enjoyed Texas barbeque and spent an educational night aboard the Battleship Texas, which like Troop 3, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. 
The Scouts also swam in San Solomon Springs and participated in an alligator sighting swamp tour before heading to New Orleans, where they visited the historic French Quarter, Preservation Hall and enjoyed a haunted history walk.

Upon reaching Tennessee, the group was thrilled with a day of white water rafting in the Pigeon River. 
Two full days were spent in the nation’s capital, visiting the monuments, the Smithsonian museums and concluded with a Washington Nationals baseball game versus the Pittsburg Pirates, including game ending fireworks. They made a quick stop in Philadelphia for famous cheese steaks, and the Scouts arrived at the Derby Second Congregational Church, where family members were waiting with a warm welcome home.

Troop 3 Derby Scouts who participated include Joe Szewczyk, Justin Patten, Jason Edwards, Matthew Edwards, James Cobaugh, Julian Gilloren, James Chopak, and Adam Sroka. 
Derby, England Scouts included Alex Griffiths and leader Luke Brady. 
Peterborough, England Scouts participating were Sam Holmes and Chris Campbell. 
Limerick, Ireland Scouts included Eoin Stapleton, James Glasson, and Tadhg McInerney. 

Troop 3 leaders were Bill McDonnell, Brian Welch, John Spinetti, and Scoutmaster Randy Ritter, who coordinated the trip.

“Troop 3 organizes high adventure trips regularly as a way to expose the world to our older Scouts while building teamwork and leadership skills," Ritter said. 
"These Scouts had to work together to setup and strike camp, purchase ingredients and cook meals and support each other while being away from home for three weeks.”  
Ritter added, “Having Irish and English Scouts join us on our cross-country adventure enhanced the impact our annual Scout exchange program has in increasing the world brotherhood of Scouting, as many of the scouts become lifelong friends.”   

Troop members plan to visit their Scouting friends in Derby, England in July, 2015 where they will attend the Peak International Encampment, hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

Boy Scout Troop 3 resumes meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesdays starting Sept. 3 at Second Congregational Church, 136 Elizabeth St.  It is open to all boys at least 11 years of age. 
For more information call 203-732-0343

The public is invited to see Scouting in Action at noon Sept. 27 on the Derby Green, for the troop's annual Ed Strang Day for Kids.
Many hands on activities and displays will be available free of charge. Representatives from Cub Scout Pack 3 and Venture Crew 33 will also be on hand to provide information on the adventures of Scouting for ages 7 through 21.

This information was provided by Scoutmaster Randy Ritter of Derby.

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