• Long Beach Breeze

Local Scout Troop featured in national scout magazine

Special to Long Beach Breeze

Scout Life

Long Beach’s very own Boy Scouts of America Troop 321 is currently featured on the cover of the national magazine Scout Life. The article covers where scouts from Long Beach, Mississippi, along with friends and family from Troop 211 of Ocean Springs and Troop 97 of Sumrall, completed a high adventure backpacking trek across the Continental Divide on the Colorado Trail last summer.

The scouts were joined on the trail by a photographer of the national magazine for Boy Scouts of America. These young men were training together before quarantine and then on their own during quarantine in order to be prepared for the memorable hike. Scouts hailed from Long Beach, Diamondhead, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Poplarville and San Antonio, Texas, and ranged in age from eleven to seventeen.

To be well prepared and physically conditioned for the demanding task, scouts were backpacking in parking garages, in nearby parks, on the sea wall in Bay St. Louis and on trails such as the Tuxachanie Trail and Black Creek Trails. Techniques and gear needed for the trek were developed since the troop began in November 2018. Scouts applied skills such as backpack packing, meal preparation and water filtration for getting water while hiking on the trail.

While hiking across the Continental Divide, scouts melted snow to supplement their water supply, camped under the Milky Way, and chased away a bear that wandered into their camp during one of the nights on the trail. Each day on the trail brought new surprises, from grand vistas to tunnels through what looked like tropical foliage. The scouts hiked across snow drifts and explored creeks and ponds created by beavers.

For younger scouts and scouts not able to tackle the Divide, a separate adventure was created for the scouts to participate at the beginning and end of the trail but also to do some cave exploring and local hiking. For all scouts involved, the adventure taught self-reliance and built confidence in their growth and maturation.

Scout Life magazine has a circulation of 700,000 with 2,900,000 readers. They receive roughly 10,000 notifications each year for contacts, and, of those 10,000, they cull down to ten stories.

For spring break, the troop hiked into the Grand Canyon. In order to prepare, the troop started conditioning by backpacking and hiking on the steps of the sea wall in Bay St. Louis. The trip was originally scheduled for spring break of 2020 but got postponed due to COVID-19. The troop said they were excited to finally get to execute that trip this year.

The article featuring the scouts, titled “At 10,000 Feet, Scouts Adjust to Backpacking in the Mountains,” can be read online at ScoutLife.org.

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