Wisconsin Trails Feb 2010 : Page 42

B y long tradition, a Boy Scout is expected to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous and kind. If that’s not a tall enough order, a Scout is also expected to be obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. In little Rosholt, Wisconsin, you might add one more obligation to the list: always be packed. It might not be what Scouting’s foundersmeant by the motto “Be prepared,” but for members of Rosholt’s Troop 200, it is sound advice. Since it was founded in 1996, Troop 200 has camped in state parks and Scout camps like Boy Scout troops everywhere. But the troop has logged 56,000 miles from Maine to Montana, from Washington, D.C. to Washington state (plus Canada and Mexico), missing only those states where the troop’s 47-passenger motor coach – an upgrade from the 1975 International Bluebird school bus with which they began their journeys – is challenged by geography. Even so, says Scoutmaster ChrisMartin, Alaska and Hawaii remain on the troop’s radar. Obviously, these are not your father’s Boy Scouts. Nor are other modern Scouts who attainmerit badges in com- puters or who head into the woods armed not with compa but withGPS units. Still, as the Boy Scouts of America m 100th anniversary in 2010 – the official birthday is Februa 8 – much remains as traditional as day hikes and night fires, as ghost stories in the dark and the call of “Taps” at twilight. And much has changed in the world since Robe Baden-Powell published his Scouting for Boys in England in 1908, but much also remains the same. “Obviously, technology has changed dramatically,” says Steve Heck, Scout executive of the Glacier’s Edge Counci Madison, “but our core values are still the same.” If Scouting had English roots, it didn’t take long to be internationalmovement. In 1909, anAmerican businessman named William Boyce was lost in London fog when a small boy offered to take him to his hotel, declining a tip because it was his good turn as a Boy Scout. Impressed, Boyce sought out Baden-Powell to learn more and, back in the States, worked to set up the Boy Scouts of America. Scouting grew like, well, an unwatched campfire, not that any true Scout would permit that. A headquarters was established at a YMCAin New York, Baden-Powell arrived inAmerica to endorse the movement, PresidentWilliam Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt 42 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010 WISCONSIN TRAILS accepted the titles of honorary president and vice president, respectively, and troops were established across the land. In Wisconsin, somany troops were formed that councils soon followed to direct their activities. Today, Scouting is still organized at the council level, including at least a dozen that serve Scouts inWisconsin (some overlap state lines and the number changes with council mergers). Paid staff direct each council, while volunteers – often parents or former Scouts who see merit in sharing their experiences with younger members – serve as troop and pack leaders for their local Scouting groups. The largest council inWiscon- sin, Bay-Lakes Council, which is based inApple- ton and stretches from Marquette inMichigan’s Upper Peninsula to Mequon, has 40 paid staffers and 9,000 volunteers. “It’s really still a volunteer-run organization,” says EdMcCollin, Bay-Lakes director of support services. Most councils operate Scout camps or reserva- tions, where traditional camping – both day and overnight – takes place and outdoor skills are taught. ne of the oldest in the United States is Indian nd Scout Reservation, a 300-acre site on Silver Lake onomowoc that was established in 1917. Camp rang- er Mike Taft notes that development pressures have rced many camps to close or consolidate through the ars. “It’s amazing that we’re still here.” But, he says, it’s important that they are. Indian und serves the Milwaukee County Council, which udes many urban Scouts whose life experience does nclude much time in the great outdoors. “Kids are kids,” says Taft, who has been at Indian d for 28 years. “But the first thing you notice is they t outside thatmuch. A lot of these kids who come out from the city, they’re looking for bears, they’re looking for wolves,” says Taft, who has to informthemsuch exotic wildlife is seldom found in suburban woods. Still, there are deer and wild turkeys, “and at night the lights go out. Stargazing, you take themout … and they’re just amazed that they can see all those stars.” Other camps have long histories as well. Bear Paw Scout Camp nearMountain in northeasternWisconsin, the “flagship camp” of the Bay-Lakes Council, hosts from 1,400 to 1,600 summer campers each year, offering Scout staples such as aquatics, archery, shooting, canoeing and

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