Back from my Hiatus!

Back from a year of radio silence- but one full of adventures!

A half dozen camping trips to Firestone, Three Falls, Camp-o-ree on a shotgun range, Family Camp at Rancho Alegre in Santa Barbara, Summercamp in Mendocino at

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Webelos, Webelos, Webelos

It is an exciting time of year in our Scout Troop and I am still a bit shocked that we have just bridged 12 Webelos into the troop in the last month! I made them stand in front of me for a photo, since in three years most will be taller than my 5’10” (that is really tall for a girl born in 1966!).

Once again I am so lucky and grateful to live in this amazing community, and so appreciative of the cyclical nature of some things. Two of the new scouts (twins) are the sons of a Dad who was once a cub scout in my Dad’s pack back when he was Cub Master in the 1970’s right down the street.

Such sweetness.

They will hit the terrible disregulation of age 13 right as I turn 50- magic! or not.

Cub scouts 1950 den 1

My Uncle Brian in the front with his Cub Den, sometime in the early 1950’s.

A new Eagle

In September of 2004 when I became a Den leader of a Tiger Cub pack, I could not have dreamed what it would mean 10 years later.  Now the smallest of those 7 Year old Tiger Cubs has become an Eagle Scout.  It was an incredible journey that we celebrated last Friday night in an awesome outpouring of community support.  I love my Troop/Crew!

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Here he is at the completion of his Eagle Project at our local Veteran’s Admin. Peace Garden for returning soldiers.

 

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and here he is the day he started! 10 years before!

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The Eagle Board of Review- an anxiety producing interview to be sure!

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It has been so much fun working with this Eagle.  Just when he thought he was on “Easy Street”, I asked him to take on the stressful role of Senior Patrol Leader and head the Troop for 6 months.  It has stretched him (and Me!). This is from our Fall court of honor. My Newest Eagle is to my left, and the Eagle down front is another special eagle scout who was sharing his experience at the Jamboree, where he was featured as a Scout celebrity after his stint on the Nat. Geo Channel show “Are you tougher than a Boy Scout?”, his nickname on the show is “Toro”.

Anyway, back to our New Eagle, it was a great night!

 

 

After ILSC, The Lake Trip

What is more fun then spending 2 hours on a summer afternoon cruising around at mountain lake? Seriously, we had a great time and what a way to end our retreat!

Crew on the pontoon boat!

Crew on the pontoon boat!

The crew on the Rocks

The crew on the Rocks

Maddy jumps from 30 feet.

Maddy jumps from 20 feet.

Ceci Jumps too!
Ceci Jumps too!

Chillin on the pontoon

Chillin on the pontoon

Sam drives

Sam drives

Lorenzo drives

Lorenzo drives

Michael Drives, fast lake "donuts" while everyone gets sea sick over the side, including the dog!

Michael Drives, fast lake “donuts” while everyone gets sea sick over the side, including the dog!

The cruise back to the marina to beat the storm rolling in was a bit chilly!

The cruise back to the marina to beat the storm rolling in was a bit chilly!

On the Dock with Crew 67  & a Pirate!

On the Dock with Crew 67 & a Pirate!

 

Introduction to Leadership Skills For Crews, or something like that…

Now that so many of the members of my Venture Crew are in High School at the local giant, it is quite a scene to pick them up, since 3500 other students are pouring out the gate with them.  The line was incredibly long, it took over 30 minutes to get them all into our two cars and get on the actual freeway, which was cruising along at 10 miles an hour.

Heading toward San Bernardino East

Heading toward San Bernardino East

The Friday Afternoon Scouting getaway is a universal nightmare, yet many of us our compelled to go for it: one more night on the adventure.

Somewhere on the 10 freeway,

Somewhere on the 10 freeway,

 

One of our favorite stops on the way up the mountain

One of our favorite stops on the way up the mountain

That, I think, is a good thing.

Eventually we arrived and everyone else did too.  We had 12 Crew scouts and 5 adults for the training, plus two dogs.  The Girls are moving along toward their Venturing awards and as one of the requirements did an amazing job cooking on grills and in dutch ovens with some awesome recipes.  They more than earned that sign off! It was delicious.

The food was awesome!

The food was awesome!

 

Delicious menu of foods cooked in many different ways

Delicious menu of foods cooked in many different ways

 

Llewyn taking my lunch order for the cooking crew.

Llewyn taking my lunch order for the cooking crew.

By far the most challenging aspect of holding these training retreats for both the Crew and my Troop is trying to reinvent it and keep it fresh for each participant if they have done it once or 5 times.  When I was at Philmont a few weeks ago, one of the National training developers gave me some ideas and resources which I ordered from Amazon while sitting in the training!  I am so happy! I was able to find substitute initiative games and exercises to replace the ones we did before- it made it more fun and reinforced the leadership skills learning for the crew.

Some of them are tried and true and we used those just as we have done in the past, becasue they are impossible to master for some ; )

We broke them into a team of 6 and a team of 7 and they did pretty well.  6 is an easier number!

We broke them into a team of 6 and a team of 7 and they did pretty well. 6 is an easier number!

 

Team Work!

The 7 scout team struggles to untangle themselves in the Human Knot exercise.

 

Team work!

As they get closer, they appear more tangled!

 

The view from above of the tangled scout mass

The view from above of the tangled scout mass

 

Success?  Almost, this was difficult but fun.

Success? Almost, this was difficult but fun.

It takes some talented and committed adults to help with a retreat like this and our parents did an amazing job! From facilitating the exercises and leading the discussions and reflection sessions, everyone learned a lot.  Plus having different instructors makes it more interesting, especially when you are sitting on the edge of the woods with so many distractions!

Julie is teacher and it shows, she can present any material in an accessible way- especially this challenging module on communication.

Julie is teacher and it shows, she can present any material in an accessible way- especially this challenging module on communication.

Sam, Ceci and Michael
Sam, Ceci and Michael

Sam taught the EDGE method to the Crew in a fresh way that helped make it successful.  He is a dynamic presenter.

Sam taught the EDGE method to the Crew in a fresh way that helped make it successful. He is a dynamic presenter

 

Road Trip to Philmont

Waiting for Barbque

Waiting for Barbque

Neon Along Route 66

Neon Along Route 66

Knives in Williams, AZ

Knives in Williams, AZ

Sam & Elvis, Route 66

Sam & Elvis, Route 66

Thursday morning turned into afternoon as we finally launched this expedition. Driving through the Mojave along interstate 40 in it’s scorched, iron-varnished glory at a startling 113 degrees, requires a specific sound track and DJ Sam didn’t disappoint.  After 6 hours we began the cool climb up on to the Kaibab Plateau and its amazing forest of juniper and piñon pines.  We stayed in seriously  kitschy Williams, amid the neon and chrome of old Route 66. The Royal American motel is by far the worst motel I have ever stayed in minus the bed bugs we encountered in Rhonert Park on the way to summer camp last year. Lesson learned: book ahead. Distance driven, 450miles.

Sam

Sam

Capturing the Painted Desert and a Thunderhead

Capturing the Painted Desert and a Thunderhead

Sam looking out over the painted desert

Sam looking out over the painted desert

In the morning we passed through Flagstaff, Seligman and Holbrook, took the long desolate back way into the Petrified forest and up into the amazing blue mesas and canyons of the national park. The sky grew increasingly dark as we wound through the Anasazi ruins of Puerco Canyon and across the painted desert toward Gallup.  Right on the New Mexican boarder we drove through the heart of an intense summer thunderstorm. At one point cars were pulled off to the side of interstate 40, as lightening struck repeatedly across the crest of the hill half a mile ahead of us. Santa Fe Rail and Sam

Santa Fe digs-awesome

Santa Fe digs-awesome

Driving through a New Mexico monsoon.

Driving through a New Mexico monsoon.

Eventually the dark, torrential system dissipated as we reached Albuquerque for supplies. We drove north to Santa Fe for the night and found ourselves up near the Tesuque Pueblo, at an awesome Hilton on the grounds of an Indian Casino called Buffalo Thunder. Hmmm. Still the Tesuque Indian Reservation is gorgeous country. Another 430 miles driven.

We arrived early and rode out an amazing thunderstorm with our doors open.  The air was electric and smelled incredible.

We arrived early and rode out an amazing thunderstorm with our doors open. The air was electric and smelled incredible.

The final 186 miles from Santa Fe to Cimarron was easy along an empty winding two lane New Mexico highway, the 58.  Apparently the state government is not big on investing in their rest stops, every one that had ” facilities” was closed.  Eventually we turned off that road on to the even smaller, rougher hwy 64. The junction has an oversized and rather astonishing Truck Stop/souvenir emporium with four immaculately restored classic cars in a corner filled with life sized cutouts of about 20 Marilyn’s, a half dozen Elvis’, & one James Dean for good measure I guess.   The cars were stunning.

The road to Cimarron winds through farmland, thousands of acres of grassy paddocks dotted with strange cholla cacti and groups of horses or cattle.  Sam even saw a pair of antelope. Slowly climbing to above 6000 ft and we can feel the altitude.

We turn on to the 64 and we are in Cimarron, the home of the Iconic, storied scout Ranch of our dreams.  We check in to our sweet hotel and settle in as a summer thunderstorm pours rain down on the desert for hours.  We eventually drive over to the famous St. James Hotel and have a lovely dinner.  The hotel and restaurant is filled with scouts and scouters preparing to hit the trail or spend a week at the Training Center.fountain in the gardens at PhilmontSam signing in for NAYLE

On the grounds of Villa Philmonte

On the grounds of Villa Philmonte

Awesome digs at Tent City, Philmont Scout Ranch

Awesome digs at Tent City, Philmont Scout Ranch

A typical scene at Tooth of Time Traders

AT Kit Carson's Rayado

AT Kit Carson’s Rayado

My last morning at Philmont

My last morning at Philmont

We had to take a picture in front of the Tooth of Time!

We had to take a picture in front of the Tooth of Time!

Doing the Robinhood in front of an iconic Philmont Scout Ranch Icon- Mt. Baldy

Doing the Robinhood in front of an iconic Philmont Scout Ranch Icon- Mt. Baldy

SHiprock, Rainbow & SamSam at Four CornersIMG_1969