On June 15, 2021, Troop 407 had its first in-person Court of Honor since February of 2020. It was at La Casa Primera de Rancho San Jose, which is a historic property in Pomona, where a lot of the troop’s Eagle Scouts have done their service projects. The master of ceremonies was Jacob. The same day as the Court of Honor, the governor of California announced that masks would no longer be required outside and that limits would be lifted on the size of gatherings. Everyone wore their masks to the Court of Honor, though, to protect anyone not yet vaccinated. But it was amazing to see so many people gathered together to celebrate the Scouts’ accomplishments. For our troop, the night marked a change back to normal after a year and a half of having to adapt and do things really differently than we usually would.
The Falcon patrol did the colors, Nate gave an invocation, and every other patrol did a skit. It was a little hard to hear some of the skits but they were all pretty funny.
Several Scouts ranked up this Court of Honor. Eighteen of our new Scouts received their Scout rank! Four became Tenderfoots. Two ranked up to Second Class. And Camden, Adam, Ian and Isaac all got their Star rank. Scouts also received numerous merit badges and other awards.
Jen Johnson also received an award thanking her for her many years of service as advancement chair. She will now hand this big job over to Stephanie Stanger.
On Memorial Day, the Panther Patrol had a gathering at a local park to bond and work on rank advancement. We planned stations, some of them just-for-fun and some of them to learn Scouting skills and work on rank advancement. For instance, we did a water balloon toss and obstacle course challenge with cones and balls, but we also learned how to put together a makeshift cot, do lashings, and carry an injured person to safety, and we practiced pitching tents. Older Scouts used the EDGE method to teach these skills to younger Scouts, and it worked really well. It was nice to be gathering outside after a long year and a half of Zoom meetings. It was also a great chance for the younger Scouts who just bridged into Troop 407 to get to know the older Scouts, and vice versa.
It’s been a long 14 months, having all of our meetings via Zoom and not being allowed to camp or hike or do really much of anything at all. We’ve played a lot of online trivia games, done a lot of rank advancement on our own or over Zoom, and attended merit badge classes virtually using apps like Google Docs. One of the hardest things about this past year was having summer camp canceled last year.
So, it’s very exciting that, as far as we know, we are going to be able to go to summer camp this year! Kids have already selected their merit badge classes, and everyone should be making preparations, filling out paperwork and making sure that they’ve had their physicals. One really exciting development is that kids ages 12-15 are now eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. A lot of the troop members who are 16 and older have already been vaccinated, and now the younger kids can get vaccinated, too, and be fully protected in plenty of time for summer camp.
Philmont is also going to happen this summer. I should probably knock on wood when I type that, because Philmost has already been canceled two different summers. The first time was because of wildfires, and then last summer it was canceled because of COVID-19. Our Scouts who’ve been waiting for years to go on this trip are busy training for the long hikes. The Philmont cohorts have been going on hikes every Sunday to get ready.
This summer is sure to be a lot of fun and a nice reward for more than a year of difficulty. I’m sure I’m not the only Scout looking forward to things feeling a little more normal again.
Will McDermott and Aidan Ramirez became Troop 407’s newest Eagle Scouts during February and March. Their Board of Reviews were held over Zoom, like the other COVID-19 Eagle Scouts, and their friends came by their houses to celebrate with them afterward. These will probably be the last Eagle Scouts of the pandemic, because things are starting to open up again and we will soon be able to have in-person meetings and activities. All in all, Troop 407 had nine Scouts become Eagle Scouts during the pandemic, which is pretty amazing! Pictured below are Will, left, and Aidan, right.
On February 9, Troop 407 had its election for Scout leadership. Marcus Ho from the Wolverine patrol was elected to the position of senior patrol leader and Erin Hager from the Panther patrol was chosen to be assistant senior patrol leader, making her the first girl in Troop 407 history to be elected to a senior leadership position. They will serve for four months before we have another election. It’s kind of cool that just about a month after the United States inaugurated its first female vice president, Troop 407 elected basically the equivalent of its first female vice president. Marcus is Life rank and Erin is Star rank. As of February, the Panther patrol, which is the girls patrol, has now been part of the troop for two years.
Although, we’re still stuck in quarantine because of COVID-19 and we haven’t been able to start meeting in person again, Scouts are still advancing. We will have another Court of Honor on March 2. In the meantime, Troop 407 has another new Eagle Scout. In November of 2020, Ezra Rowe passed his Board of Review and earned his Eagle! Congratulations, Ezra!
We were very sad to hear about the passing of Troop 407 member Michael Ball on January 25, 2021. Michael was in the Wolverine patrol and he was a Life Scout working on his Eagle rank when he died. Some of his Troop 407 friends have plans to try to finish out his project for him. Michael had been the senior patrol leader for Troop 407 during the prior year and was a beloved friend to many. A lot of us were really inspired by his leadership, his kindness and his helpfulness, and we have great memories of our time with him. I remember sharing a car ride with Michael on the way to summer camp two summers ago. Michael played music for the rest of us. One of his favorite songs was “Sweet Caroline,” and I remember him singing it loudly and having a lot of fun. I love that song, and I’ll think of Michael now every time I hear it. I’d like to collect other people’s memories and photos of Michael, and I will add them here as I receive them.
Coen Martinez, Phillip Quintanar, Zach Martin, Jude Emmert, and Ian Birt became Troop 407’s next Eagle Scouts during July and August. Board of Reviews were held over Zoom because of COVID-19, and each Scout found a safe way to celebrate after they got their ranks, with drive-by parades and that sort of thing. I’m sure we all can’t wait to be able to have real parties to honor our Eagle Scouts, though. Pictured above are some of the Scouts who’ve become Eagle Scouts during COVID-19
Also, at our first September meeting, Aiden Ramirez was elected to the position of Senior Patrol Leader, and Adam Gaynor was elected Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. We are continuing with virtual meetings because large gatherings are still prohibited.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.