Monday, December 11, 2017

Merit Badge Day continues troop’s advancement efforts

For the second weekend in a row, Troop 50 Scouts gathered to work on merit badges that would aid their rank-advancement efforts. At the troop’s annual Merit Badge Day, Scouts were able to pursue one of three merit badges: Eagle-required Citizenship in the World Merit Badge, and elective Aviation and Composite Materials merit badges.

Boone, Luke and Josh (left to right) mapped out similarities and differences
between rights and duties of U.S. citizenship compared to those in Djibouti and Italy.

Scoutmaster Andrew Baird counseled Scouts on Citizenship in the World Merit Badge, which addresses information relating to global relations and the individuals and entities that affect those relations. To earn the merit badge, Scouts must be familiar with the methods, rights and duties of U.S. citizenship and how they resemble or differ with those of citizens of other countries. They also discussed specific world events and how those situations affect matters of security, economy and health. Scouts learned about the types of government structures, international law and non-governmental organizations that exist and their global roles.

Assistant Scoutmaster Will Brett works with Scouts on creating models
they will use to test aviation principles.

New Assistant Scoutmaster Will Brett, who as an aviation management student at Auburn University, counseled Scouts on Aviation Merit Badge by sharing about the science, mechanics and training that comprise aviation science. They put some of this information into practice by building models that demonstrated those principles. The class included a brief field trip to the Auburn University Regional Airport, as well as a discussion of career opportunities available in the aviation industry.

Scouts pursuing Composite Materials Merit Badge met at Auburn University’s National Center for Asphalt Technology. There, they learned what composite materials are, how they are made, and the handling and safety precautions associated with them. They also discussed careers available in the composite materials industry and the types of projects these professionals would use composite materials for.

Following the merit badge classes, many of the Scouts participated in a troop outing to go bowling.

For more pictures from the troop’s Merit Badge Day, visit the troop’s online photo album.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Scouts explore vet med careers through merit badge class

It's no secret that the Boy Scouts' merit badge program introduces Scouts to a wide variety of career fields. Studies show that many Scouts — even those who don't obtain the Eagle Scout rank — find their future vocations of choice through exposure to one of Scouting's 130-plus merit badges. To that end, Troop 50 strives to connect Scouts with merit badge opportunities outside those like First Aid, Camping, Cooking and others that are required to earn the Eagle Scout rank.

On Saturday, Dec. 2, several of the troop's Scouts took advantage of such an opportunity by participating in a Veterinary Medicine Merit Badge class hosted at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. Virginia Stillwell, a third-year veterinary medicine student, led the course. In addition to her academic studies, she also oversees the college's summer program for high school and middle school students.

Veterinary Medicine Merit Badge requires that Scouts learn about and discuss the various fields of veterinary medicine — ranging from companion animals to large, marine and exotic species. They also must become familiar with the professional roles veterinarians play in public health, military, regulatory, academic and research environments. The Scouts learned from students and professors about the training required to become a vet. They also were able to tour the college's various research facilities.

For more photos from the merit badge class, visit the troop's online photo album.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Scouts, leaders report annual progress to Rotary Club

On Wednesday, Nov. 29, Eagle Scouts Louie Harris, Creighton Williams and Nicky Zuk (center, left to right) joined Chartered Organization Representative Michael Tullier (far left) and Scoutmaster Andrew Baird (far right) to make the troop's annual "state-of-the-troop" presentation to the Auburn Rotary Club. The club serves as the troop's charter organization, or sponsor, and makes an annual financial allocation to support the troop's activities.

Mr. Baird shared with Rotarians the troop's activities and progress as of the end of 2016 (as depicted in the infographic to the right), as well as throughout 2017. He summarized many of the troop's backpacking, team-building, high-adventure and educational trips and camping outings He also highlighted the troop's service efforts, which include partnering with the Rotary Club on its annual remulching effort at Hickory Dickory Park.

The trio of Eagle Scouts shared with Rotarians progress toward earning their Eagle Scout ranks, including efforts to complete their Eagle Scout leadership service projects, as well as the leadership experiences Scouting has afforded them during their time in the troop. Louie and Nicky recounted their summer experience at Philmont National Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Creighton discussed his experience as a National Jamboree participant in addition to being part of the Philmont expedition.

Mr. Tullier concluded the presentation by inviting Rotarians to consider serving as merit badge counselors for one of Scouting's 130-plus merit badges.

Pictured above with the Troop 50 contingent is Auburn Rotary Club President Chris Warren.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Walk in the Woods

On Saturday, Nov. 18, eleven Troop 50 Scouts and three leaders made the familiar drive north on U.S. Highway 431, past its frequent summer camp stop at Camp Sequoyah, for two days of backpacking in the Talladega National Forest near Cheaha State Park. On this trip, the troop made a first-time trek up the southern portion of Section 7 of the Pinhoti Trail — logging 7.4 miles by the time the group completed its trip Sunday morning. Subscribing to the "pack-in, pack-out" philosophy, each Scout and leader carried his own personal gear, as well as a portion of the weekend’s food, tenting, cooking, water filtration, and other gear divided among the fourteen backpackers.

After two miles of rugged, uphill, and rocky backpacking, the troop came to the Blue Mountain Shelter, which proved to be an excellent campsite for the group. After the troop staked its claim on the site and enjoyed a trail lunch, it continued to Bald Rock. The summit, at 2,326 feet, offers scenic views of the surrounding forest and terrain. It also offered the group an unanticipated sermon from an unknown mountaintop preacher who used the outcropping as a makeshift pulpit. The trip there and back to the Blue Mountain Shelter accounted for another three miles of backpacking.

Hunter and Camp prepare dinner while completing
backpacking cooking requirements for Cooking Merit Badge.

Everyone gladly took the chance to relax after
the day's backpacking was over.
After returning to the shelter, the troop began setting up camp — with some Scouts opting to make the shelter their backpacking home-away-from-home. The campsite also was in close proximity to a creek, which made accessing cooking and dish-washing water, as well as filtering drinking water for individuals, convenient. After beds were secure and muscles stretched, and with cooler temperatures and winds destined to roll in, Scouts set out to build a roaring campfire. Other Scouts started preparing dinner — tortellini with summer sausage. The troop ate and cleaned up by 8 p.m. — just in time for the start of the evening’s rain showers.

Everyone was more warmly dressed for the start of Sunday's backpacking
compared to their Saturday attire.

The rain, which lasted only for a couple of hours, immediately gave way to a drop in temperatures of more than 20 degrees. The troop was greeted by temperatures in the low 40s by the time everyone began waking up around 7 a.m. Prompted more by shivering bodies than by growling stomachs, Scouts hurriedly got a campfire going before perusing the breakfast offerings. Campsite pack-up went relatively quickly, and after completing that and a Sunday morning devotional service focused on Samson’s inherent weaknesses despite being one of the strongest men mentioned in the Bible, the troop set out on the trail by 9:15 a.m. for the last leg of its trek and the return home.

A sample of the scenic views of the surrounding forest and changing leaves,
which were more easily enjoyed Sunday, compared to Saturday's clouds and gray skies.

At the troop’s Patrol Leaders Council meeting the following Monday, Scouts and leaders debriefed about the weekend outing. Youth leaders commended the group’s overall evening planning with the knowledge of the pending rain. On the flip side, it was noted that operating backpacking stoves and using proper dishwashing techniques, especially in a backpacking environment, could bear continued training and reinforcement. Overall, it was noted that everyone worked together well and the trip was completed without any major issues.

For more photos from the backpacking trip, visit the troop’s online photo album.