Halloween Cook/off and Campout
Top ten for the October campout
10. Mrs. de Grandis' Blueberry Coffee for the non-purest coffee drinkers.
9. Mr. Hsu takes the cooking competition - pineapple cake.
8. Mrs. King camping out.
7. Rigby's abbreviated "5 mile" hike.
6. Quinn Toner's diabetes cinnamon rolls.
5. Mr. Starrett geared up - hammock, bivy sac, 0 degree bag, & blankets.
4. Chris Anderson's scarecrow first aid.
3. Noah Leclair's awesome hand picked apple crisp.
2. Jan Kudel's creative spider webs and pumpkin carving.
1. Cooking Merit Badge scouts cooking for everyone, it was all great!
For nearly eight years members of Troop 76 have not experienced the adventure of the Niagara Falls Region until this past weekend. Arriving at Niagara Falls State Park, Our initial stop was the 230-foot Observation Tower, the only U.S. location to get a clear overlook of both the American and Horseshoe Falls. Before heading to the USS Little Rock at the Buffalo Naval Park, the group hiked across to Goat Island to stand within the water vapors and experience the billowing torrent of Horseshoe Falls.
Arriving at The Buffalo Naval Park, the Troop 76 scouts unloaded their gear and proceeded up the gangway of the USS The Sullivan, then to the USS Little Rock where we were assigned berthing areas. While aboard, the Duty Officer requested that Troop 76 trip Senior Patrol leader Pat Sullivan muster patrols to work as galley attendants for the dinners and breakfasts during our stay to serve all the groups staying aboard. After evening chow, the scouts were free to explore the WWII submarine, USS Croaker, USS The Sullivan and the USS Little Rock, ride the Motion Simulator, while some scouts worked on their American Heritage Merit Badge with myself. I know Jan Kudel was proud to earn his first BSA Merit Badge as a foreign exchange scout from Germany.
Reveille aboard on USS Little Rock Sunday was at 0630 with the scouts squaring away their berthing area before morning chow. Then the troop started a full day of adventure within the Niagara Falls Region. First stop was back to Goat Island and to experience the Cave of the Winds. Standing at the base of the falls, the rushing waters loom above you, dousing you with a generous spray while you face the thunderous falls head-on. Rainbows and double rainbows were always visible within the mist. From there the boys hiked back over the bridge to the main park area to enjoy the boat ride of the Maid of the Mist to the base of Horseshoe Falls.
Leaving the Niagara Falls area heading north to Old Fort Niagara and being a little ahead of schedule for lunch, we made a stop at Whirlpool State Park. The boys hiked down a path to the bend in the Niagara River to see the whirlpool that forms with the combination of the rushing water and the 45 degree angle at the bend of the Niagara River. Back aboard the bus, we headed to Old Fort Niagara for lunch and a guided tour of the fort. While waiting for lunch to be delivered to the fort, some of the scouts had the opportunity to climb the winding iron stairs to the top of the oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes. The stairway only allowed four scouts at a time to climb to the top. While on tour of the fort, the scouts were divided into two groups and experience the life of those who occupied the fort through the stories of the tour guide. To understand why three different countries flags have flown over Old Fort Niagara.
Back aboard the USS Little Rock after our adventure at Old Fort Niagara, we prepared for dinner and the evening activities. While on the USS Little Rock the young men realized our unit was the only group left aboard for Sunday evening. Most of the groups were within a three hour drive to the ship, so it was one night and done for them. But for members of Troop 76 having to travel 61/2 - 7 hours each way, the opportunity to stay a second night proved to enhance the historical and educational value of this adventure. Also I learned the connection why scout groups stay aboard Military Ships. During WWII, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts played an important role in spearheading the efforts on the home front. Organized paper, metal, and rubber drives or whatever material was needed for the war effort. In appreciation of the effort of all scouts, a military proclamation was issued after the war to allow scout groups the opportunity to enjoy an encampment aboard many of the decommissioned war ships. Today, many years later other youth groups may also at times have the same opportunity. But the idea for the encampment program aboard the decommissioned ships began by honoring the Boys and Girls Scouts for their huge effort to support our troops during WWII. At the Simsbury Free Library, you can research through microfilm of the old Farmington Valley Herald to read many stories of Troop 76 collection drives and honors received for their effort during WWII.
On the final evening within the Niagara Falls Region, scouts and adults returned to Niagara Falls State Park to view the Falls at night. Each evening colored lights were beamed from the Canadian side to illuminate the Falls in a rainbow of colors. At 2200hrs (10:00 pm) everyone enjoyed Fireworks over the Falls to celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada and Columbus Day in the US.
Waking up at the sound of reveille Monday morning, everyone packed up and picked up around the berthing area. The motto "Leave no Trace" was important to follow as we readied to leave the USS Little Rock. After morning chow, our driver Graci was waiting to have us board his bus to travel to our final destination, Lockport, NY. This year, Columbus Day was the final official day for Eire Canal tours. After that date work will begin to lower the water level of the canal for the cold winter. The cruise boat we boarded along with another boat would travel to Mystic, Ct to be checked out, repaired and stored for the winter. The two cruise boat were also built in Mystic. While aboard for our ride, we experienced first hand being inside a couple of locks the operation that is needed to raise and lower the water level. Did you know that all the work within the locks is done by water pressure, no motors?
The captains told a few Eire Canal stories about the 19th century engineering marvel which opened the American Frontier while also playing some period music of that era.
To all the scouts and parents. thank you for the book "The Eire Canal" with everyone's signature and several comments inscribed inside. I know I will enjoy reading the book.
I know everyone should have had a great time.
Thank You, The young men were great! Pat Sullivan did a great job as senior patrol leader and to Cam Ballard, thanks for your suggestion to plan the Niagara Falls Region trip. To all the parents, thank you for your help and suggestions while on tour. Your help make this trip a huge success.