Scouts BSA Troop 321 enjoys multiple summer adventures
Boy Scouts of America, Scouts BSA, Troop 321 from Long Beach have had a very active summer. In addition to travelling to the Appalachian Mountains to attend Scout Camp at Woodruff Scout Reservation, they also joined Troop 97 scouts Addison Carroll and Austin Reeves, and two leaders, Terry Togstad and Tommy Carroll, from Sumrall, Mississippi, to sail in the Florida Keys. The sailing was Troop 321’s first BSA High Adventure trek.
For Scout Camp, twelve scouts and four leaders traveled on their bus, “Scoutship Integrity,” from Long Beach to north Georgia to attend a week-long summer camp at Woodruff Scout Reservation. Arriving a day before camp started, the scouts were able to get a good feel for the camp and the area and were able to check out the opportunities that were there for them. During camp, scouts were able to work on merit badges such as Leatherworking, Archery, Shotgun Shooting and Citizenship in the World. They worked on rank requirements for Scout and Tenderfoot ranks. During their free time, they were able to swim, water ski, repel off a 100’ climbing tower and do some stand-up paddleboarding.
Scouts learned about outdoor conservation, such as the “Leave No Trace” principles while searching for Bigfoot, and they participated in an incredibly humbling flag retirement ceremony that honored veterans. While at camp, they learned how to and built a trail creating a shortcut to their campsite, completing a conservation requirement. Their final night at camp, they attended a well-scripted campfire and witnessed an awesome fireworks show.
Later in the summer, the scouts on the High Adventure Trek traveled from Mississippi to Islamorada, Florida, to participate in a sailing, snorkeling, and fishing adventure that they will remember for a lifetime. At Sea Base, scouts learned how to snorkel and were checked-out on their swimming capabilities. Scouts then boarded the “Conch West” and set sail into the sunset for a five-night and six-day adventure.
The Boy Scouts of America hosts seven high adventure camps around the country that each specialize in individual areas. Sea Base adventures fulfill BSA requirements for completing the Triple Crown and Grand Slam achievements, which are the pinnacle of Boy Scouts of America adventures.
While on their sailing cruise, scouts cooked their own meals, including steak and the fish they caught each day, and cleaned up the ship after their meals were complete. They were only afforded one good day of sailing weather with good winds, and they took advantage of those winds and learned how to sail their sloop-rigged ketch by hoisting and retrieving the jib, mainsail, and mizzen sail. They snorkeled in several different locations, including Coffins Patch Reef, Bahia Honda Key, and the Sombrero Reef. They fished for Mahi Mahi and Spanish Mackerel while underway and grouper while stationary over reefs.
Although they slept on the ship every night, they conducted shore calls at a Florida State Park Beach on Bahia Honda Key one evening and spent one night moored at Marathon Marina. Each night, the scouts took turns standing watch in two-hour shifts throughout the night, watching thunderstorms pass over Cuba, counting over-passing satellites, identifying constellations, and enjoying the haze of the Milky Way. The scouts and leaders slept on the deck at night to keep cool and were run into the cabin around 4 a.m. by light rain showers that rose like clockwork each morning.
In total, the scouts sailed and motored in the Florida Keys about 130 miles during their adventure.
On their last day at Sea Base, the scouts checked out stand-up paddleboards and paddled around Veterans Key, fulfilling requirements for the BSA Stand-Up Paddleboard patch. During their last night at Sea Base, they partied in a luau, where they competed in a limbo contest.
Scouts must be thirteen years old to participate in BSA’s High Adventure Camps. Now that the core group of scouts has reached that age, in addition to their other high-adventure outings, the troop will be participating in these camps, as well. Currently, they are planning to canoe and portage the Canadian-boundary waters in Minnesota in July of 2022 at BSA’s Northern Tier Camp.
Scouts from Troop 321 hail from Bay St. Louis, Diamondhead, Poplarville, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and Long Beach. For all scouts involved, the adventures taught self-reliance and built confidence in their growth and maturation.