Troop 407 and COVID-19

The state of California shut down schools and other activities on March 13, 2020, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, and ever since, Troop 407 hasn’t been able to meet or go on any troop outings. Scouts and parents are continuing school and work from home. It’s been hard to not be able to interact with friends and fellow Scouts, but it’s also been an opportunity to spend more time with our families and learn some new things.

Many patrols have continued to meet using Zoom, and we also have some merit badge classes going on, including Cooking, Gardening and Citizenship in the Community. A lot of Scouts are working on home gardens and other projects with their families. Some families have camped in their backyards. And even though the trails were closed for a long time, they reopened on May 8, so now Scouts can go with their own family to hike again, as long as they wear masks and stay at least 6 feet away from people who aren’t in their families.

Scouts are working on advancement, too, as a group and on their own. David Hastings became Troop 407’s 111th Eagle Scout during the shutdown. And other Scouts are coming close and have been working on completing their Eagle projects, including Phillip Quintanar and Jude Emmert. Phillip’s project brought a lot of Scouts out to help fix up an adobe in Pomona. The Scouts had to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart, but got a lot done. Jude’s Eagle project is a virtual tutoring program for refugee kids in the area. The kids and tutors meet on Zoom or Facetime to work on online schooling. Zach Martin was able to finish his Eagle project, too, right before the shutdown happened.

So far, summer camp has not been canceled, and neither has the Philmont high-adventure trek. Everyone is staying tuned for updates and trying to figure out what’s the best way to move ahead. We hope the shutdown will end soon and we’ll be able to meet again in person, but in the meantime, we’re making the best of this situation and doing what we can.

Death Valley camping trip

     

IMG_4906

     On Friday, Feb, 14, Troop 407 set off on a camping trip to Death Valley. The drive was about four hours, but it was worth it when we got there. Our campsite was rocky but perfect. There was a lot of room outside to play games with friends, and we were very close to the sand dunes, which were a highlight of the trip.

IMG_4821

     We went to the dunes twice. The first time we went was just to have fun in the sun and explore them. The second time was to play a game of hide-and-seek tag in the dark. 

IMG_4788 

     On the first night of the trip, any Scouts who wanted to were able to go to the campfire, which was really fun and a great way to get to know each other better. We also went on two amazing hikes through the canyon , which was beautiful. My favorite part of the hikes was being able to see the different colored layers of rock.

     This was a really fun trip with great food and friendships, along with some of the most spectacular sunsets and views I’ve ever seen. I hope to go back soon.

Court of Honor February 2020

On February 4, 2020, Troop 407’s Scouts gathered for our Court of Honor. We had 17 Scouts rank up and many earn merit badges. Each of our troop’s patrols participated in one part of the Court of Honor. We had the Viper patrol do colors, the Phoenix patrol do a skit, the Wolverine patrol do a song, the Rattler patrol do a skit, and the Panther patrol retire the colors. All the Scouts had a great time, and it was fun seeing what everyone had been able to do in the months in between Courts of Honor. I know I’m looking forward to setting new goals and hopefully ranking up.

Scout Sunday Feb. 2020

 

IMG_4630

On Sunday, Febuary 2, 2020, the Scouts of Troop 407 gathered at our sponsoring church, Claremont United Church of Christ, to celebrate Scout Sunday. The service started off with a song called “Praise to the Lord,” performed by our Scout musicians. There were trumpets, strings, drums, piano, and other instruments. After that we had Scouts from our troop do readings.

Then, our Senior Patrol Leader, Jude Emmert, led the troop in the Scout Oath. From where I was standing, I was able to see that as we recited the oath, some of the older people in the congregation were following along, too, from memory, which goes to show that once you’re a Scout, you will be a Scout forever. After the oath, more of our Scouts did readings.

Our Scoutmaster, Jim Martin, did the Call to Offering, and thanked the church for agreeing to host a Cub Scout pack, too, in addition to our Scouts BSA troop. He praised the fact that all discriminatory practices of the Scouts organization have ended, because girls were also admitted into Scouting last February. Troop 407 was one of the first in the country to admit girls, and this year and last year, several girls participated in Scout Sunday. And now, the church sponsors any kid interested in Scouting, of any age or gender.

IMG_6706

IMG_6661

Later on, we had some Scouts and Cub Scouts go up and say prayers for many different people, and after that, the Cub Scouts led the service in prayer and in song. Soon after, those Cub Scouts were awarded their religious badges.

When the service ended, we all got together to take pictures and then we were all awarded with the 2020 Scout Sunday patch. After photos, a dad came up to me with his daughter, and told me, with tears in his eyes, that I had inspired his 8-year-old daughter to want to become a Scout. I’m sure all of us who stood up in front of the congregation inspired people in ways spoken and unspoken. Going to Scout Sunday made me realize how much of a family our troop has become.

Mojave trip for Troop 407

In October of 2016, Troop 407 took a trip to Mojave, California. This trip was very fun because of all the amazing things we got to do. We did many other things on this trip, but I think that these were the highlights of our trip.

One of our first activities was going inside a lava tube. We had to climb down a ladder to get into the lava tube’s entrance. The cavern was really wide but then when we went into the tunnel, it was a really small space. We had to crawl to get through that tunnel. After that there was another cavern, but it was very dark and dusty. We found some bunny skeletons down there, and there were small holes in the ceiling that led to the outside that some kids were able to crawl through. The lava tube was formed by molten lava running beneath a lava flow. After the lava was gone, the tube cooled and formed a tunnel called a lava tube.

One other activity that we did is we scavenged for trilobite fossils. We had to use shovels and hammers to get the trilobites out of the shale. Some people had geology picks because those special types of picks are used to break open shale. Only some kids were able to find the trilobites, but it was still really fun. Trilobites are prehistoric arthropods (bugs) that were one of the first groups of arthropods.

Another thing we did is that we took two separate hikes to some sand dunes near our second camp. These were really long hikes and the sand dunes were huge. At the top, Zach T. did his Scouts Own. He talked about nature and he recited a quote that reminded him of nature. His dad also offered some words on nature. Then we had fun jumping off the sand dunes.

This was a really fun trip and I hope we go again.

Court of Honor September 2016

On Oct. 4, 2016, Troop 407 had a Court of Honor. David did the invocation. Everybody then ate enchiladas for dinner. The bulldogs did the flag ceremony.

Earning Scout rank were Aiden H. and Dago. Dylan, Coen, Alberto and Kai earned Tenderfoot. Kai, Zack, Elliott and Owen A. earned Second Class.

We talked about our plans to sell greenery to raise money for summer camp and other things, and the troop’s greenery coordinator showed us a ribbon tree with one ribbon for each patrol and a clip for each Scout so we can keep track of who’s selling the most each week and moving up the ribbon fastest.

Jen also talked about the special honors our troop earned at summer camp, and she brought out Wilson, a sculpture made out of sticks, toilet paper and a paper plate, that was our trophy for winning the overall best campsite.

Our adult leaders also presented the troop with many different merit badges, earned at summer camp and other times.

The Court of Honor ended with the presentation of Star and Life ranks and the presentation of an Eagle palm to Jack. Robert, Will and Phillip earned Star, and Kyle earned Life.

It was Janel’s birthday, so we sang to her and had birthday cake for dessert.

 

Holcomb Valley

Troop members camped in Holcomb Valley in September 2016. It was a mountain location with a lot of pine and cedar trees, and it was very cold, especially at night. It used to be a summer camp, and our leader, Jim, actually used to go to summer camp up there. There were still some old tents and cots there, and we had fun setting up a fort out of some of the old cots.

Another memorable experience was going on a hike that was five miles long. About seven kids and an adult got lost on the hike after taking the wrong path because it looked more clear than the other path, which had a lot of dense bushes and didn’t seem as passable. Fortunately, we had cell phone service, so we were able to find the others.

Also at Holcomb Valley, there were some horses in a big open field. Some boys decided to give them names. One of them was named Moonshine, because it was white and looked like the moon at night. There was a fence around the horses, but there were a lot of openings in the fence. Some boys and two adults started getting closer to the horses. One of these boys fell and then Moonshine charged him and kicked his backpack. While the boy was still down, Moonshine was getting ready to charge again. But another boy was able to distract the horse. If it wasn’t for this quick-thinking Scout, the other boy might have been trampled by the horse.

Another thing the Scouts did was an orienteering course. Scouts used a compass and the number of feet per pace to try to find out how to get to a certain destination. It took over an hour to do the course, but everyone eventually finished.

I think Holcomb Valley was a great trip and I hope we will come again.