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    Welcome to our website!    
    Tuesday, March 03 2009 @ 06:44 AM UTC

    Troop News

    Welcome to Unit 161 scouts' website. If you wish to become a member of our Boy Scout Troop 161 contact Nancy Blittshau via email: nblittz@gmain.com, or if you are between 14 and 21 years old and wish to become a member of our Venture Crew 2161, contact Amy Cain via email: amljcain@att.net.

    To view the BSA Health Form for S-F, right click on the following link to open in a new window. View S-F Health Form

    To view the BSA Health Form for Philmont, right click on the following link to open in a new window. View Philmont Health Form

    Check recent scout stories below and read "Chris's Corner" comments on this story.

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    Wonderful Weather at Discovery Camp!
    Authored by: Larry Cain on Monday, March 30 2009 @ 02:22 AM UTC
    Submitted by:
    Chris the scribe

    Discovery Campout
    Date: 3/26-29/09
    Location: Beaumont Reservation
    We had some wonderful weather for our campout this weekend (according to our committee chairman)! Friday was a pleasant night to set up our tents. Saturday morning brought with it a cold front and wet weather with temperatures in the mid 40s. It rained off and on for the whole day, but it could not douse all of our cheerful spirits, or our well built fire. We gathered and sawed plenty of fire wood to keep the fire going, and keep us warm throughout the whole day. The new scouts learned and applied the rules for using the hachet, ax, bowsaw, and pocket knife. They also learned sharping skills. Early sunday morning, about 2:00 A.M. heavy wet snow caused some tents to collapse under the weight. This caused some excitement to those unfortunate campers. After the snow was pushed away, the tents sprung back.(Tada!) We woke up sunday to a snow-covered campsite. After we had some breakfast, we broke camp. Favorite weekend drink: hot chocolate. The snow made taking the tents down a little messy. After we broke camp we were glad to get to our heated cars.
    Overall, we had the following attendance:
    Senior Patrol: 3
    Vikings Patrol: 4
    River Rats Patrol: 5
    The Mystrians? Patrol: 5
    Adult leaders: 7

    What a Time Backpacking!
    Authored by: Chris C. on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 12:43 AM UTC
    Backpacking Trip (for 2nd year and older scouts)
    Date:4/4/09 - 4/5/09
    Location: Beaumont Reservation
    On Saturday, about noon, we met at St. Simon's parking lot, for a quick pack-check to make sure everyone was prepared. This was the first time backpacking for most of our scouts. Our packs needed to contain: 2 pairs of socks, a change of clothes, a flashlight, sleeping bag and sleeping mat, 2 to 3 liters of water, food and snacks, tent, jacket, poncho, and toilet paper. For those who forgot toilet paper, Mr. Menter was selling some. Haha! The adults brought some extra things, including: lightweight stoves, a camera, shovels, saws, maps, compasses, etc.... Saturday's temperature was 66F and was mostly clear. The wind speed was in the 20's and gusting to 35mph. Once at Beaumont Reservation, we started our hike on the Red Trail. From the main camp road, the trail turns uphill and passes Mud Cave. We stopped here for a short break. From Mud Cave, the trail continues up to the top of the hill. (More short breaks). We followed the trail along the top of the ridge and camped approximetly 2 1/2 miles from the trailhead. The elevation changed over 275 feet from the trailhead in the valley to the top of this ridge, the highest along the trail. Once we set up camp and gathered some firewood, everyone cooked their dehydrated food, while Mr. Schnurbusch prepared his gourmet fried fish. Sunset was at 7:28 p.m. As the day ended, we started a small campfire. Everyone watched carefully, so it wouldn't get out of control. We put the fire out and everyone was in their tent before 9:30. The overnight temperatures dropped to a chilly 50F, but everyone kept warm in their sleeping bag. The next morning, we woke to thunder, and a light rain, becoming moderate at times. Sunrise was at 6:40 a.m. By about 8:00, everyone was out of their tents, the rain had stopped, and the sun started to appear. We ate breakfast and broke camp. The rain put us a little behind schedule, so the troop decided to take a shortcut along an old logging road, which cut 1 1/2 hours off the hike. This made it possible for all to attend 11:00 mass at St. Simon as we planned.

    The following were in attendance:
    Senior Patrol: Nano
    Vikings Patrol: Thomas M., Patrick S., Jacob S., Mike N.
    River Rats Patrol: Chris C., Rob S.
    The Mysterians? Patrol: Andrew H., Nick B., Alex D.
    Adult Leaders: 6
    St. Simon Fish Fry 4/10/09
    Authored by: Chris C. on Saturday, April 11 2009 @ 01:47 AM UTC
    Here are the scouts that helped at the fish fry, thanks for your help!
    Nick B.
    David B.
    Chris C.
    Chris D.
    Bobby G.
    Zach L.
    Anthony S.
    Rob S.
    Jacob S.
    Patrick S.
    Colin T.
    Great time at District Camporee!
    Authored by: Chris C. on Wednesday, April 29 2009 @ 01:38 AM UTC
    Spring Camporee for Gravois Trail
    Date: 4/24/09 – 4/26/09
    Location: Camp Lewallen
    We all had a wonderful time at this campout. We had summerlike weather, mostly sunny, but had about 5 minutes of rain. It was very windy at times. We had the luck of cloudless nights, so all the stars were visible. I want to thank the adults and adult leaders that drove down to Camp Lewallen one of the further camps which is about 2 hours away. By working around different schedules, some came down after dinner, some came down late in the evening, and some came the following morning. About 20 different troops attended this district event. On this campout, we got to watch the movie Kangaroo Jack. Also, we were able to start one of three eagle-required merit badges.

    We had the following in attendance:
    Senior Patrol: Nano M. Robert B. Ian B. and Tre A.
    Vikings Patrol: David B. Mike N. Jacob S. and Patrick S.
    Unknown Patrol: Ben O. and Nick B.
    River Rats Patrol: Nick M. Chris C. Chris D. Anthony S. and Rob S.
    Adult leaders: Mr. Menteer, Mr. Besterfeldt, Mr. Cain, Mr. Mariano, and Mr. Schnurbush

    In this Australian themed campout, the Scouts had many games and activities to play and compete. Each patrol competed as a team.

    1. Search and Rescue: In this event, each patrol used a compass and orienteering skills to find a lost and injured hiker. After locating the lost hiker, the patrol built a litter with supplies they brought, and carried him out. (Without dropping him!). Patrols were judged on time and successful rescue. Our senior patrol participated on the camp staff and coordinated this activity. Thanks go to Ian, Tre, and Robert.

    2. Knotty Koala Lines: In this event each patrol was required to tie 5 knots: the taught line hitch, the clove hitch, the double half hitch, the square knot, and the sheet bend. The staff randomly chose who tied which knot, so everyone had to be prepared.

    3. G’Day Gone Bad: In this event a family was driving and crashed after swerving to miss a kangaroo. Each patrol was judged on timely care and correct triage of the seriously injured victims.

    4. Great Reef Barriers…or something like that: In this event, each patrol relied on great team work and communication. This event took place “underwater.” Each patrol had to verbally direct a blindfolded patrol member through an obstacle course. The goal was to grab the three jellyfish without touching the seahorses, sharks and stingrays. Patrols were judged on time and number of penalties.

    5. Futbol: This event was a soccer game with the same rules, but sometimes the two opposing patrol teams had to use a huge ball that drifted in the wind while others got to use a kickball.

    6. Aborigine Spear Hunt: In this event, rods of bamboo were thrown like spears into the hole of a dangerous animal cut-out. It was harder than in looked!

    7. Kangaroo Simulator: Each patrol participated in a hopping relay race while avoiding the warning tape marked course.

    8. Supply Search: In this event, each patrol used a GPS to find several geocaches hidden on the camp property. Since our troop didn’t have a GPS, Mr. Mariano offered the use of his cell phone. He also gave instruction how the cell phone’s ability to read coordinates could then be compared with the geocaches coordinates. Then a compass could be used to close the difference between the two. While other troops could use their GPS to literally point them to the geocach, our troop, using the “Mariano Method” experienced the good fortune and enjoyment of stumbling up and down several steep creek banks, negotiating several creek crossings, and crashing through wooded areas of waist-high, tick-infested, brush and thorn bushes. Nonetheless, we found the geocashes, built character, and I know that will probably be my most memorable moments of this scout trip

    9. Scoutmaster (Humiliation) Dress Up: Mr. Menteer dressed up in a jester’s hat, long underwear and shiny swim trunks worn over his underwear. In this event, 161 took 2nd… out of 2 participants, and 1st place went to an Elvis impersonator! We were robbed! Elvis want to be’s are a dime a dozen! How humiliating! Thanks Mr. Menteer.

    10. Pioneer for Points: This was a gateway building competition for an Australian campsite. In this event, 161 took first place! Our gateway was built of spars and lashing and included the “Welcome to the Smokehouse” sign and also displayed the highest flying flag in camp, an Australian flag at that!

    11. Shrimp on the Barbie (ADULT COOK-OFF): “Shrimp Hoffmann” was grilled in camp sampled by all and a generous serving was delivered to the camp committee to be judged. Although we didn’t win this competition, the most likely explanation was that the camp judges chose to spread the awards around rather than let any one troop sweep all the awards.

    Chris C.
    I am proud of our scouts for good sportsmanship, performance, and attitude while participating in these games.
    Summer Camp 2009 Best Ever
    Authored by: Chris C. on Sunday, July 12 2009 @ 05:40 PM UTC

    This year’s summer camp was as fun as ever. This year troop 161 camped at S-F Scout Ranch, Camp Gamble at campsite Kelso. The campsite was B-I-G BIG and we had it all to ourselves. The weather was dry and mild most of the week with some overnight temperatures in the low 50s. The last day of camp, it rained in the morning while we were packing up.

    The troop stayed busy throughout the week working on merit badges, attending the Voyager program, participating in additional camp programs, visiting the trading post, and preparing meals.

    Some of the merit badges the troop members worked on included Archery, Astronomy, Camping, Canoeing, Cooking, Environmental Science, Fish and Wildlife Management, Fishing, Lifesaving, Mammal Study, Pioneering, Rifle Shooting, Rowing, Swimming, Wilderness Survival, and Wood Carving.

    This year, the Voyager program offered more to the first year scouts. This year, they had afternoon events like, “Flour Flogging” and “Chubby Bunny”. Also, they had the option of riding a pontoon boat to Castle Rock for rock climbing.

    Additional highlights of the camping trip were the overnight canoe trip (more about that later), the pontoon ride to Huck’s Cove, the opportunity for OA members to take an overnight trip to Huck’s Cove and sleep in the tree houses, the troop shoot for archery and 22 rifles, the water carnival, eating popcorn at the troop campfire’s while listening to Mr. Sandroni’s stories, and of course family night.

    This topic deserves a whole paragraph: Steak. We prepared steak Friday night, and all know the best steaks were grilled to perfection over a charcoal fire, rather than rushed over a propane flame.

    Congratulation to all those who participated in the mile swim. It is not an easy feat. Also, a special congratulation to the first year scouts who finished. Congratulation to all those tapped out Thursday in the OA ceremony.

    We did two service projects this year. The OA members and some other troop members helped gather staves and make the torches for the OA Ceremony. And everyone who was available helped pull weeds out of the lake at the water’s edge.

    We had an addition to our weather station, installing the “Weather Rock”. If the rock is wet, its been raining, if the rock casts a shadow, its sunny, etc....

    This year Troop 161 won the camping award. Way to go 161!!!

    We had the following in attendance:
    The River Rats: Kyle G., Jack S., Nick M., Chris C., Chris D., Anthony S., and Rob S.
    The Vikings: Bobby G., David B., Mike N., Thomas M., Ryan S., Billy S., Jacob S., and Patrick S.,
    The Unknown Patrol: Chris C., Nick B., Alex D., Patrick B., Andrew H., Zach L., and Ben O.
    The Adults: Mr. Sandroni, Mr. Menteer, Mr. Cain, Mr. Hoffmann, Mr. Lauer, Mr. Schnurbusch, and Mr. DiMercurio.

    Oh, speaking of adults, it is now known that if anyone loses their buddy tag, even an adult, (cough, cough) it can postpone the troop's departure for the overnight canoe trip up to an hour. Then if anyone is caught on the lake after dusk they may have to spend the night on "the flats" rather than across the lake on the dam.
    Operation Clean Stream Float Trip
    Authored by: Chris C. on Tuesday, September 15 2009 @ 12:22 AM UTC
    Float Trip
    Date: 8/23/09
    Location: Meramac River, Ozark Outdoors

    Well, we couldn’t have asked for better weather.
    It was a beautiful day for a float. We woke up earlier than the traditional folk this Sunday morning and met on the school parking lot at 6:00 A.M. to begin our drive to Ozark Outdoors near Onondaga Cave. At Ozark Outdoors, we were fed a complimentary country style breakfast of bacon and biscuits n’ sausage gravy. After breakfast, we took a 30 minute bus ride to the put-in spot at Garrison’s access on the upper Meramec River. After we got the canoes in the water, we took a group picture. Our troop flotilla was seventeen canoes strong.

    On our way down the river, we collected and removed trash as part of the Operation Clean Stream program. Some of that trash included two 12 foot sections of sheet steel, transmission cable, wire fencing, fence posts, several auto tires and a very big tractor tire. We had only 1 capsized canoe on the first 2 miles, that being Mr. DiMercurio and Alex.

    We stopped for lunch on a large gravelbar. During lunch, some scouts went across the river to a steep-edged dirt bank, threw water on it, and turned it into a mud slide.

    Continuing the float after lunch, Anthony, Jacob and Patrick S. rammed the beach and slowly capsized into the water. Mr. Schmitt and Billy were the lucky ones to capsize 3 times within a distance of about 100 yards. (Maybe the Leviathan got them?) Then about 1 mile from the takeout Ryan and Patrick B. tipped while carrying the big tractor tire! Luckily, they were in shallow water so the canoe just filled up with water, and the tire was tied down, so it wouldn’t fall off.

    We reached our take-out point 5 miles downstream from the put-in. We stacked the trash up on the beach where the trash haulers would remove it. Then we rode another shuttle bus returning back to Ozark Outdoors at about 3:45.

    We had the following in attendance:
    River Rats Patrol: Kyle G. Nick M. Chris C. Chris D. Anthony S. Rob S.
    Vikings Patrol: David B. Michael N. Thomas M. Ryan S. Billy S. Jacob S. Patrick S.
    The Unknown/Menacing Minnows Patrol: Nick B. Alex D. Patrick B. Andrew H. Ben O.
    The Senior Patrol: Tre A. Nano M.
    The adults: Mr. Sandroni, Mr. Menteer, Mr. Cain, Mrs. Cain, Mr. Paul Cain,
    Mr. Hoffmann, Mr. Schnurbusch, Mr. Ohlendorf, Mr. Schmitt, Mr. Berron, Mr. Neuhoff,
    Mr. DiMercurio, and Mr. Magana.

    Thanks to all the parents who drove and participated.
    Thanks to the Operation Clean Stream sponsors, Robert Bass and Ozark Outdoors, the Open Space Council and Missouri Stream Team for the opportunity to participate in this fun stream service project! And thanks to my dad for organizing this trip.
    OA Reunion
    Authored by: Chris C. on Tuesday, September 29 2009 @ 10:13 PM UTC
    OA Reunion
    Date: 9/11-9/13
    Location: S-F Camporee Field
    We used the new tents and they work great! The weather was pleasant throughout the weekend.

    All of our OA candidates arrived Friday night. Our candidates this year were Patrick B, David B, Zach L, Michael N, Jacob S, and Mr. Cain. Robert B helped the camp staff welcome reunion participants and direct traffic. Patrick B attended the pre-ordeal and sleep-out Friday evening. The candidates spent Saturday morning and afternoon cutting tree limbs and moving downed trees for their service project. The damaged trees were from that huge storm that ripped through in May (and also caused damage down at the Schnurbusch farm). It was a lot of work, but it was all worth it when they got the OA sash at the induction ceremony. Mr. Schnurbusch worked on Brotherhood requirements by leading a group of candidates through their ordeal.

    The Saturday night movie was “Back to the Future” and while we watched we were given all the ice cream and chips that we could eat.

    Those in attendance:
    The River Rats Patrol: Chris C. Rob S.
    The Vikings Patrol: David B. Mike N. Jacob S.
    The Menacing Minnows Patrol: Zach L. Patrick B.
    The Senior Patrol: Robert B.
    The Adults: Mr. Cain, Mr. Besterfeldt, Mr. Schnurbusch, Mr. Menteer

    Katy Trail Bike Ride / Klondike Park Campout
    Authored by: Chris C. on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 01:59 PM UTC
    Katy Trail Bike Ride / Klondike Park Campout
    Date: 9/25/09 -9/27/09
    Location: Klondike County Park, Augusta, MO

    Klondike Park is a St. Charles County Park located in a beautiful rural area that was once the site of a silica quarry. Some evidence of the quarry that remains is the fishing lake and the pure white sand from the quarried sandstone. The park rests on a bluff that overlooks the Missouri River. At the base of the bluff is the Katy Trail, a 225 mile crushed rock bike path. The trail is built on the old Katy railroad grade and is very well maintained by our Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

    Troop 161 left Friday afternoon and the 40 mile trip to Klondike Park was soon bogged down by a huge traffic jam in Chesterfield Valley. The troop arrived much later than expected but set up camp in what daylight remained in the primitive camping area. All enjoyed the rest of the first evening and campfire in relative piece and quiet. Our scouts were the only group in the primitive area and had the area and a huge pavilion to ourselves. (More on our second evening – Later in these notes.)

    Breakfast for Saturday morning was shipwreck. It was great!! After cleanup scouts rode bikes to the challenge course in the park. The challenge course was a wooden bike path about 3’ wide and elevated about 10 inches above the ground. David (Mr. Agony of Defeat) B. took a spill and received minor scrapes when he maneuvered off the path. Shortly after that Mr. (Evil Knievel) Schnurbusch took a header while attempting to jump off a very narrow section of the challenge course. Immediately after this Mr. Cain who was our acting (weekend) Scoutmaster announced that Troop 161 was leaving this area and suggested the use of more conventional trails in the park.

    At lunchtime several scouts and I arrived from a Saturday morning soccer game and had brought a thunderstorm with us. After lunch the rain stopped and we prepared for the Katy Trail ride.

    Before we started our Katy Trial ride, we went over some safety and courtesy rules. Once we reviewed that, we started our ride to the access where we could get on the trail. To get on the trail, we had to go down a very steep and curvy grade that was paved with asphalt and wet leaves. We would have been better off using snow skies than bikes. If you even gave your bike a little brake, you were skidding down the hill and it seemed like you were going down a slalom course. It was exciting and there were a few minor mishaps. Not to give names but one of the minor injured’s name starts with “Z” and rhymes with Mac.

    Once we were on the trail we headed west towards Augusta. We were making good time, with Mr. (Lance Armstrong) Schnurbusch leading the group, who by the way was disappointed that no one else could keep up with him. Most of the 15 mile ride was through farmland with the trail elevated along side. We went to the Augusta rest stop, an old railroad station, and took a group picture. Then we continued our ride with Mr. Schnurbusch still leading the group with an aggressive pace. While we were riding, we saw some monstrous storm clouds that worried some but not others, for we stayed dry during the whole ride. Along the way we stopped several times to take breaks, enjoy the fall scenery and do some First Class map and compass requirements.

    We continued to a junction where the Katy Trail crossed Augusta Bottom Road. From here we could see the high rise buildings across the Missouri River in Washington MO and decided to begin the return ride to Klondike Park.

    Back at Klondike Park we rode around the lake on the park trail and used the opportunity to identify 10 signs of wildlife, another First Class requirement. We arrived back at our campsite and pavilion just as another storm began.

    As we began to prepare dinner, we realized that we were now sharing our campsite with a Cub Scout pack. We were being overrun by dozens of screaming tiger cubs, cub scouts and their parents, not nearly enough screaming being that of parents disciplining their kids. Kids were running around like banshees. Some were riding bikes through camp and were unsafely holding sticks across the handlebars like they were jousting. As our troop was trying to stop this dangerous clowning around, we regretfully thought, “Where’s our quartermaster when you need him?”

    As darkness came some of us thought the noise level would dissipate. It didn’t. The cub scouts all got out flashlights and went into the hill right next to our campsite to play some type of Indian game. Some also continued to ride bikes through our campsite without proper lights. Eventually they got tired and went to sleep. Our troop was then able to enjoy some quiet time by the campfire.

    We all attended 8:00 mass Sunday morning at Immaculate Conception in Augusta, Mo.
    After breakfast we broke camp and left for home.

    Thanks to Mr. Schnurbusch for planning this trip and Mr. DiMercurio for hauling the troop trailer. Thanks to our adult leaders and the parents who helped transport scouts, their gear and bikes for this trip.

    Those that were in attendance:
    River Rats: Chris C. Chris D. Kyle G. Nick M. Jack S.
    Menacing Minnows: Alex D. Zach L. Mike N.
    Vikings: David B.
    The Adults: Mr. Cain, Mr. Schnurbusch, Mr. DiMercurio, Mr. Neuhoff, Mr. Lauer
    Beaumont Backpacking & Campout
    Authored by: Chris C. on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 02:12 PM UTC
    Backpacking Trip
    Date: 10/3/09 - 10/4/09
    Location: Beaumont Scout Reservation

    We left for Beaumont on Saturday morning, and were greeted at the camp entrance by an amazing amount of traffic as hundreds of kids and their families attended the Taste of Scouting Program (kids that aren’t in scouts invited to do fun scout stuff to get a “taste of scouting”). Luckily we were camping at the Laemmli area, in the south section of the scout reservation and far from the traffic.

    Saturday’s weather was cool and breezy, one of the first fall-like days of the year. The high temperature of the day struggled to get to 61º with cloudy skies and wind gusts up to 29mph. Mr. Sandroni said he loved it!

    Once at our campsite, we set up tents, and then started to review what to take on a typical backpack hike. After the review, we set out on our hike. From the Laemmli area we hiked the yellow trail west across Little Antire Creek to a junction where the yellow trail met the blue trail. We then continued south on the blue/yellow trail, intending to follow the blue trail in the clockwise direction. We were going good for the first few minutes, but quickly discovered several areas where the trail is poorly marked in this extreme southern section of the reservation. Soon we became stumped. We thought we knew which direction to go, but when we went that way, we ran into a fence, marking off the horse camp. We re-checked the map and compass, pondered for awhile, retraced our path and then found our trail. We hiked through the power line cut where the underbrush had overgrown the trail and those of us wearing short pants were wishing we hadn’t. After continuing south, we again lost the trail where several down trees concealed the trail as it climbed up a steep hillside. With our 2 adult leaders scouting ahead 50 yards up the hill, and the scouts at the bottom of the hill, the adults finally found the trail, and after a minute of Marco Polo to find them, we were off and making good time once again. The rest of the hike went well as we hiked the blue/yellow trail and then bearing right on the yellow trail as we followed it north on a ridge top to a trail junction leading to Camp May. From the trail junction we returned to our campsite on the blue trail following it south on the hillside adjacent to Little Antire Creek.

    After the hike, we returned to our campsite and started dinner, hotdogs, chips and beans with Mr. Sandroni’s special ingredient, canned Spam.

    We had a great campfire in the evening including Mr. Sandroni’s fireside stories. As a side comment Mr. Sandoni stated that “Beaumont Betty shouldn’t be a concern tonight as she surely must have had her fill at “Taste of Scouting” earlier in the day!

    Throughout the weekend, we didn’t see a lot of people once we were at our campsite, except the occasional hay ride that went by, along with the comments “What a fire!” or “Why can’t we have a fire like that dad?”. Because we were close to the horse camp, we did see, however, a lot of horse manure throughout the weekend, having to dodge it in the field and when going to our cooking area. Luckily the adults were nice enough to shovel it away from our cooking area.

    When we woke up on Sunday, we decided that we should take the tents home to dry because they were soaking wet, and the sun would not be hitting them until much later (because of the tree line we camped next to). We left and went to 11:00 mass at St. Simons.

    Those that were in attendance:
    River Rats: Chris C. Kyle G. Nick M. Rob S.
    Vikings: Mike N.
    Menacing Minnows: Nick B. Alex D.
    The Adult Leaders: Mr. Sandroni, Mr. Cain
    Troop Performs Well at District Fall Pacao
    Authored by: Chris C. on Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 02:43 PM UTC
    Fall Pacao for Gravois Trail District
    Date: 10/16/09 - 10/18/09
    Location: S-F Scout Ranch

    We left at 4:00 Friday afternoon for S-F camp and arrived at about 5:30. On the drive down, my dad, Ben O. and I reviewed the event program requirements.

    Mr. Besterfeldt, Robert and Ian came down earlier and got us a great site and had most of the camp already set up. Mr. Besterfeldt hadn’t seen the trailer since the spring camporee and I think he was trying to hint to us that everything wasn’t in the correct place or something, and that he was the quartermaster, but I’m not exactly sure I heard it right.

    Shortly after arriving, Mr. Cain was informed that the troop would not be allowed to register without providing health forms. This new requirement was communicated verbally at round table meetings, but was never provided with the registration materials or on the website. After a few phone calls to the scoutmaster, Mr. DiMercurio drove back to the Menteer residence and secured the necessary health forms.

    We had a small group of leaders this weekend with 12 scouts so we decided to cook as one group and participate in the Pacao program as 2 patrols. It was cool and cloudy most of the weekend and idle time was spent gathering firewood and keeping the campfire stoked. Sunday morning the temperature fell into the upper 20s. There was no shortage of food this weekend as we prepared and ate hearty meals (shipwreck for breakfast and spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner) and high energy snacks (chocolate bars, honey buns, nutty bars, etc.)

    On Saturday afternoon, some of the scouts went out to play football with other scouts from other troops.

    The theme for the pacao for this year was Battlefield Bonanza. All the events this year were focused on military. The program competition included the following events:

    #1) Uniform Inspection:
    In this event, troops were asked to wear their military gear and be judged on their appearance. 161 had some people wear camouflage.

    #2) Semaphore Flag Signaling:
    In this event, patrols had to identify two messages that were given to them in semaphore (2 flags held in certain positions representing letters). We could use a guide, but then had 20 points taken off our score.

    #3) M*A*S*H* Unit:
    In this event, we had to work like a M*A*S*H* Unit and show we knew how to make an arm sling and an ankle brace out of a triangular cloth. We had to bring a first aid
    kit with all the stuff needed for the Second Class requirement #6b. We were required to demonstrate the 4-handed seat carry and know the 4 hurry cases as well as the 5 typical signs of a heart attack.

    #4) Wilderness Survival:
    In this event, we had to build a fire and have it burn for 2 minutes. For every match used we got 10 points deducted, but both of our 161 patrols made fires using only flint and a striker. The fires then needed to be extinguished with water and all evidence removed.

    #5) Find Your Way:
    In this event, we were given a starting point and then a series of three compass bearings and distances. Using a compass and counting paces we had to find the correct marker closest to our ending point.

    #6) P.T.:
    In this event, we had to run an agility course by stepping through 4 adjacent tires, then crawling under netting (orange construction fence) then ducking under and stepping over wood planks, and then jumping over two planks at once that were spread apart about 4 feet.

    #7) Artillery Shot:
    In this event, we played a type of dodgeball game, probably our favorite event.

    #8) Grenade Toss:
    In this event, we had to toss bean bags a certain distance with certain accuracy to get points, but with one catch. We had to throw the bean bags like grenades, arced over our heads.

    #9) Rank It:
    In this event, we had to identify insignia of ten military ranks and what branch of military they came from.

    #10) Veteran Find:
    In this event, we had to go around the whole camp to find 10 veterans and ask questions and talk with them. Then we thanked them for their service. This was harder than it sounds as most folks were dressed in military costume if not a genuine military uniform.

    Troop 161 was represented by 2 patrols: the River Rats and the Menacing Minnows. David B from the Vikings joined the Menacing Minnows for the Pacao program events. For their efforts both patrols received merit and honor awards. Robert and Ian also helped staff events for the Webelos programs.

    Thanks to Mr. Besterfeldt, Robert and Ian for coming down early, staking a great campsite, setting up tents, the dining fly and the camp in general. Thanks to Mr. DiMercurio for driving back to St. Louis for the medical forms. Thanks also to the parents who helped drive. Thanks to SPL Nano for attending after his track meet.

    Those that were in attendance:
    River Rats: Chris C. Kyle G. Nick M. Jack S.
    Menacing Minnows: Nick B. Andrew H. Mike N. Ben O.
    Vikings: David B.
    Senior Patrol: Ian B. Robert B. Nano M.
    The Adults: Mr. Besterfeldt, Mr. Cain, Mr. DiMercurio
    Guest Webelos II: Ryan D.

    Illinois Caverns
    Authored by: Chris C. on Wednesday, December 23 2009 @ 10:32 PM UTC
    Illinois Caverns Trip
    Date: 12/12/09
    Location: Illinois Caverns, Waterloo IL
    We met at St. Simon’s parking lot at about 7:00 A.M. and we left at 7:15 sharp. We were trying to get in the cave right when it opened so we could get as much spelunking time in as we could. We had scouts with basketball games so we had to leave around 12:00. We arrived at Illinois Caverns a little after 8:00. We were each required to bring in 3 sources of light in case of an emergency, and we needed hard hats also. We all were required to bring a release form. We descended into the cave using very steeply declining steps with ice on them and on the hand rails. It was tricky. Well, at least the cave was warm (about 58ºF), instead of the outside bone-chilling temperature of 35ºF.

    As we were walking through the cave, we had to go through low areas and squeeze through tight areas. Some of the passageways we went through were dry, but many were wet. The water level in the wet areas varied from ankle deep, to knee deep, and then chest deep. The water in the cave was very cold, especially when it is up to your abdomen. We explored areas of the cave named Canyon Passage, Mushroom Passage, Capitol Dome, Chimney Dome Passage, Breakdown Room, Waterfalls, The Dragon, Hidden Passage, and Water Passage.

    After about an hour and a half we were about 2+ miles into the cave. At this point, Mike our guide, instructed us to leave our packs and extra gear on dry ground as we continued on farther. Up to now we had been in mud and water only knee deep, but that was about to change. The main passage narrowed to what is best described as a rocky water slide. Everyone slid down this smooth rock and waterfall while keeping their head down to avoid striking a very low ceiling above. After about a 6 foot drop we plunged into a long pool of water about 4 feet deep. Then the echoes of howling could be heard throughout the cave. Jack S. was our water gauge as the water level lapped at his armpits. At this point our one scout’s constant chant, “I’m a hiking in a cave”, was no longer heard, as it was replaced with other “sound effects”.

    Shortly after wading through a long, deep pool, we rested and then started back towards the entrance. This means we had to go through the pool again, and up the rocky water slide. Going up is much harder than going down. I should know as I had an extra 10 pounds on each foot, from my water filled wading boots. My dad helped some of the boys up the slide. Try to envision a mud covered Grinch stuffing Christmas trees up a very narrow and wet chimney with water pouring down. That’s about it.

    On the way back out, we met some other groups and troops still on their way into the cave. Most were much cleaner and dryer than we were.

    Illinois Caverns is a wild cave, not commercialized. There are no lights in the cave. There is one place where a construction ladder is used to ascend to a higher level, and some places have makeshift bridges and ladders made of rebar. Without any light, you can’t see anything. In the pitch darkness we even tried experimenting with wintergreen lifesavers which create sparks when bitten. It worked, I saw some green sparks from others.

    After exiting the cave we all changed into dry clothes and shoes as quickly as possible.
    A special thanks to Mr. Schnurbusch for planning this memorable trip and to his friend Mike Starkey for guiding this trip.

    Those that were in attendance:
    River Rats: Chris C. Chris D. Kyle G. Rob S. Jack S.
    Menacing Minnows: Alex D. Andrew H.
    Vikings: David B. Bobby G. Thomas M. Jacob S.
    The Adults: Mr. Cain, Mr. Sandroni, Mr. Schnurbusch, Mr. DiMercurio
    Special Guest: Mr. Starkey (Mr. Schnurbusch’s friend and guide.)
    Great Way to Start 2010
    Authored by: Chris C. on Wednesday, February 03 2010 @ 03:55 PM UTC
    New Year’s Family Hike
    Date: 1/1/2010
    Location: LaBarque Creek Conservation Area

    The Annual New Year’s Day Hike attracted 15 people which is more than that attended last year. We hiked at LaBarque Creek Conservation Area in Jefferson County. It is a new conservation area that has just recently opened. The weather was rather cold and breezy, but we were all bundled up so we were OK. It was sunny, with a few clouds. Later though near the end of the hike, it started to snow. We were lucky it was snow and not rain so we weren’t wet. We didn’t see any wildlife, but we did have a great time. The usual past-time was throwing rocks and sticks at the frozen creek to break it. We found some frost flowers (very small plants that are so cold that the water inside them freezes and then explodes leaving a white, frozen shell resembling a flower. Along the way, we spotted a deer stand, which worried us. Mr. Sandroni recalled that he saw a sign that said that only bow hunting was allowed. We were all wearing bright colors. While everyone was resting our runner, Mrs. Sandroni kept on going and was never resting except for the pictures she was in. She would run up the trail, come back, run up again, come back, etc. Everything was frozen, it was beautiful. I wish that everyone can go next time, as it is a great training hike for people going to Philmont Scout Ranch. Just make sure that you bring a backpack with rocks in it so you get the full experience, and for those go-getters, you can try to breathe less to simulate the high altitudes.

    Most interesting item found on trail: a 6” stainless steel throwing knife, or cooking utensil as we call them, found by Mrs. Sandroni.

    Those that attended:

    River Rats: Chris C. Chris D. Rob S.
    Vikings: Jacob S. Mike N.
    The Menacing Minnows: None
    The adults: Mr. Menteer, Mr. Sandroni Mrs. Sandroni, Mr. Neuhoff, Mr. Schnurbusch, Mrs. Schnurbusch, Mr. Cain, Mrs. Cain, Mr. Dlugos.
    Special Guest: Christine S.
    Ash Wednesday Fish Fry
    Authored by: Chris C. on Monday, February 22 2010 @ 03:41 PM UTC

    Thank you to all the scouts and scouters that helped the Madonna Guild with the Fish Fry. We got a lot of positive feedback about our helpfulness and appearance.

    Those that helped were as followed:
    Nick B.
    Alex D.
    Kyle G.
    Andrew H.
    Michael N.
    Rob S.
    Patrick S.
    Jacob S.
    Chris C.
    Mr. Schnurbusch
    Mr. Sandroni
    Mr. Cain

    Hopefully more scouts can attend the Good Friday Fish Fry which will be 4/2/10.
    Discovery Campout 2010
    Authored by: Chris C. on Saturday, March 27 2010 @ 04:54 PM UTC
    Discovery Campout 2010
    Date: 3/19-21/10
    Location: Beaumont Scout Reservation
    The weather was perfect for set up on Friday. We had a great campfire Friday night that our new scouts help build. The sky was mostly clear and we were able to identify the North Star, Orion and the Big Dipper. All enjoyed an entertaining campfire program planned by Kyle G consisting of several skits and a few songs. Skits were performed by Kyle, Andrew and me. My dad also helped in the following skit:
    Scout leader and 3 scouts are hiking in woods and find bear dropping along trail.
    Leader: “That looks like bear droppings!”
    Scout 1: “It smells like bear droppings!”
    Scout 2: “It feels like bear droppings!”
    Scout 3: “It tastes like bear droppings!”
    Leader: “Well, it’s a good thing we didn’t step in it!!”
    Mr. Sandroni also retold “The Legend of Beaumont Betty” for the benefit of those who had not heard this arguably possibly non-fictional account of Beaumont history. Here is a short snippet of it, the real story takes up to twenty minutes to tell:

    Story takes place in area of Antire Creek Valley , in west St. Louis County, sometime before Beaumont Reservation was developed for scouting.
    Bettty, a pioneer woman living in Antire Creek Valley becomes distraught and eats her children. For her crimes she was hung by the neck until dead. The gallows were she died were located at what is now the west side of the Camp May swimming pool, above the pool filtering equipment. I think this last detail was added for “local interest” and if combined with an overactive imagination, could provide the only remaining physical evidence of this story.

    Betty’s unrest soul still haunts the Beaumont Hills as she takes on the forms of wild animals such as coyotes, wolves and most recently a mountain lion that attacked a farm horse across the road from Beaumont Reservation. Betty is believed to be responsible for missing scouts at Beaumont and scouts are reminded to use the buddy system at camp, especially at night.

    We also had a huge snack Friday night provided by Mr. Schnurbusch, Mr. Hoffmann, and Mr. DiMercurio. The snack included peal and eat shrimp, deep fried fish fillets, potato fries, okra and deep fried Twinkies. If a scout didn’t find something to eat it was his own fault! Late Friday night and early Saturday morning, some people heard an owl hooting and a coyote howling in camp.

    There were threats of rain forecasted starting Saturday morning, but we got into the “bonus round” as Mr. Sandroni would call it and most of Saturday stayed dry. The day was mostly cloudy and the temperature dropped throughout the day from the 50s to 40s. A North wind also gusted at 25mph. We burned a lot of firewood over the weekend and stayed warm despite the cold weather. On Saturday the scouts cooked their meals and did clean-up in patrols. The new scouts helped with these tasks and also learned flag etiquette, pocketknife, saw and hatchet safety, ax yard safety, sharpening skills, first aid, buddy system, rope making, and hiking safety. The new scouts also went on a guided tour of Antire Creek and valley. Many had fun playing on a wooded hill at camp (or as Mr. Sandroni would call it, “Betty’s Backyard”).

    We had Smores Saturday evening provided by Kyle G and sat around the fire. Then we had Rob S. give us a great display of marshmallow toasting “artwork” which consisted of burning marshmallows until they fell of the stick. It started to rain at about 10:00pm and we turned in and went to sleep. Occasional rain continued through Sunday morning and temperatures dipped into the upper 30s. After breakfast we packed up, policed the area and headed home. The troop attended mass at St. Simon as a unit and some also ate pancakes and sausages at the Cub Scout Breakfast. It was a great campout!

    Those that attended (and didn’t get eaten by Betty)
    The River Rats: Josh S. Robert S. Kyle G. Nick M. Anthony S. Rob S. Chris C.
    The Vikings: Connor G. David B. Thomas M. Jacob S.
    The Menacing Minnows: Joshua A. Ryan D. Nick B. Alex D. Andrew H.
    The Adults: Mr. Sandroni, Mr. Cain, Mr. Schnurbusch, Mr. Menteer, Mr. Hoffmann, Mr. DiMercurio and brief visit by Mr. Marin
    Discovery Campout 2010
    Authored by: Chris C. on Saturday, March 27 2010 @ 06:02 PM UTC
    Also, Rafael Q. attended and he is in the Menacing Minnows. (I forgot to put him there, sorry!)
    Good Friday Fish Fry
    Authored by: Chris C. on Sunday, May 02 2010 @ 02:45 AM UTC
    Thanks to all the scouts and scouters that help at the Good Friday Fish Fry (4/2/10).
    Nick B.
    David B.
    Chris C.
    Connor G.
    Andrew H.
    Nick M.
    Michael N.
    Rob S.
    Jacob S.
    Josh S.
    Robert S.
    Mr. Sandroni
    Mr. Cain
    Mr. Schnurbusch

    From the Madonna Guild, we received the following thank you note for our help with the fish frys:

    Dear Boy Scouts,
    Thank you for helping us at our fish fry, The Boy Scouts and their leaders were a critical part of making the fish frys the success that they were. The boys dedication to keeping the tables clean and assisting those in need was admirable. You have a great group of young men.
    With many thanks,
    Madonna Guild Fish Fry Committee
    Great Weekend at Hawn State Park!
    Authored by: Chris C. on Saturday, May 22 2010 @ 02:47 AM UTC
    Troop Overnight Backpack Hike/Day Hike
    Date: 4/10-11/10
    Location: Hawn State Park
    We started out with great weather and ended with great weather. We met on St. Simon’s parking lot at 8:30 A.M. and left at 9:00 A.M. Everyone had to bring their food and their packed backpacks. We went over a checklist so we could make sure that everyone had the supplies they needed. Once we arrived at Hawn State Park, we went over a last second pack check, thanks to Mr. Van Booven. There were a lot of other groups of backpacking hikers, so we had to be careful so we wouldn’t lose anyone. Once we were on the trail, there were questions like ‘when are we stopping?’ that kept popping up, but the group in the front, which I was a member, was determined to keep going (and also to keep singing songs for motivation). Before we stopped for lunch, we had to cross a stream. This was very interesting to watch others try to get across. There was a lot of advice from others, but there was so much talking that you couldn’t hear very well. Everybody got across the stream safely. After lunch, we continued hiking on the trail. Since we ate, our packs should have felt lighter, but I think many others thought there’s somehow got heavier. The first year scout day hikers hiked with us until the trail they chose parted with ours. We said our goodbyes and continued hiking. The day hikers hiked about four miles. Every one was getting tired and was hoping we would arrive at our campsite soon. The last hill before we got to our campsite seemed exceptionally high, even though it was only about 50 feet. We could see our campsite from the bottom and were motivated to tackle the hill. Once at the top, we put up the tents and made dinner. We weren’t allowed to make a fire, so we found other things to entertain ourselves. We climbed up a hill that was on the edge of our campsite and walked back down the trail to explore the wilderness. Once it was dark, we went back to our campsite. Because of the lack of fire, everyone either went in there tents to sleep or they sat outside and just talked. After we woke up Sunday morning, we started breakfast and had a small prayer service including a couple songs. Sunday’s hike went much easier, especially since we only had to hike four miles today. We arrived at the trailhead and had lunch under the park shelter. We talked about what we should do next time.

    Those that were in attendance:
    Day Hikers: Connor G. Josh S. Mr. Burke, Mr. Grzovic.
    Overnight Backpack Hikers: Nick B. David B. Chris C. Alex D. Chris D. Andrew H. Nick M. Mariano M. Michael N. Ben O. Rob S. Mr. Sandroni, Mr. Cain, Mr. Besterfeldt, Mr. DiMercurio, Mr. Marin.
    OA Spring Conclave 2010
    Authored by: Chris C. on Saturday, May 22 2010 @ 03:29 AM UTC
    OA Spring Conclave
    Date: 4/16-18/10
    Location: Beaumont Scout Reservation

    Congratulations to our Arrowmen honored with Brotherhood:
    Chris C, Rob S, Jacob S, Mr. Sandroni, Mr. Schnurbusch

    Those who were in attendance:
    Scouts: Chris C. Rob S. Jacob S.
    Adult Leaders: Mr. Cain, Mr. Menteer, Mr. Sandroni, Mr. Schnurbusch

    Chris C’s Top Ten Reasons to Attend the OA Spring Conclave
    10. Positioning your tent to receive the first ray of sunlight
    9. Plenty of rest and relaxation
    8. Conveniently located in West St. Louis County
    7. Great Spring weather
    6. Chance meeting Celebrity Guest stars like the Mystery Man and Beaumont Betty
    5. Seeing an Ordeal Member receive Brotherhood after the longest interval
    4. Bailing out early Sunday morning and leaving tents for others to pack
    3. Steak and Fish and Fries (OH MY!) for dinner
    2. Setting boots on fire and realizing they belong to someone else
    1. Watching our Committee Chairman land on backside in creek
    Earth Day Tree Bagging Service Project
    Authored by: Chris C. on Saturday, May 22 2010 @ 03:41 AM UTC
    Tree Bagging
    Date: 4/24/10
    Location: Columbia Bottom Conservation Area
    Thanks to our scouts that helped in the preparation of tree seedlings for the Earth Day celebration in Forest Park. We helped the Conservation Department bag in total 1,200 tree seedlings. Scouts that helped received a T-shirt and a multi-tool pocket knife.

    Those who attended are as follows:
    Nick B.
    David B.
    Chris C.
    Chris D.
    Nick M.
    Rafael Q.
    Rob S.
    Billy S.
    Jacob S.
    Patrick S.
    Mr. Burke
    Mr. Cain
    Mrs. Cain
    Mr. Dlugos
    Mr. Sandroni
    Mr. Schnurbusch
    Mrs. Schnurbusch
    Mr. Schmitt
    Fun Times Camping at the VFW Post!
    Authored by: Chris C. on Saturday, May 22 2010 @ 01:24 PM UTC
    Camping / Fishing Trip and Helping the Veterans Fish
    Date: 5/14-16/10
    Location: VFW Post in Festus, MO
    This year we camped at the VFW post in Festus, MO, and helped assist their disabled veterans in a fishing tournament. Despite rainy weather, we still had fun helping and fishing in their man-made, catfish-stocked lake. We arrived Friday evening, set up the tents, and got in some late night fishing. The first two fish were caught by “Catfish” Kyle G. There was a big pavilion for us to use and stay dry where we cooked, ate, and played card games during extended periods of rain. We helped the veterans fish on Saturday morning and then we fished ourselves for the rest of the camping trip. The Sandroni Rig (consisting of a bobber, sinker, and plastic lure) didn’t work so well here, but the fish were biting on worms. Most everyone caught fish including catfish, bass, sunfish, and carp. We also helped clean dozens of fish for the veterans to eat. Most of the fish kept to eat were catfish in the 1 – 3 pound range.

    Carp have fallen out of favor by most sport fishermen, because carp are considered too bony and not good to eat. However, it depends a lot on how the fish is prepared. The following is an old recipe for preparing carp that is generally known to most fishermen. For the sake of our scouts that don’t know it, I’ll include it here. The recipe requires a wood board about the same length as the fish. I prefer a softwood variety such as white pine, red cedar or cypress. First you scale the fish, leaving the head on as you do so. Some also suggest scoring the fish along its entire length to help soften the bones as the fish cooks. Once this is done, put the fish on the board and season to taste with salt and pepper. Put the board in a preheated oven and cook at 350° F for about 45 minutes. Remove promptly from oven, throw away the carp and eat the board. Not too bad with ketchup and a side of coleslaw.

    The veterans were thankful for our help and our scouts enjoyed helping the vets. We all took home tents to dry on Sunday and attended 11:00 mass at St. Simons.

    Those that attended are as follows:
    River Rats: Chris C. Chris D. Kyle G. Rob S. Robert S.
    Vikings: David B. Connor G.
    Menacing Minnows: Joshua A. Nick B. Alex D. Ryan D. Rafael Q.
    The Adult Leaders: Mr. Menteer, Mr. Sandroni, Mr. Grzovic, Mr. Cain, Mr. Schnurbusch, Mr. DiMercurio,
    Guests: The Gibbs Family, The Dlugos Family
    Memorial Day Good Turn
    Authored by: Chris C. on Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 03:06 AM UTC
    Thank you to all of our scouts that helped put up flags at Jefferson Barracks on 5/30/10 for Memorial Day.

    Joshua A.
    Nick B.
    Chris C.
    Connor G.
    Nick M.
    Mariano M.
    Thomas M.
    Michael N.
    Anthony S.
    Rob S.
    Jacob S.
    Robert S.
    Picnic Clean Up 6/5-6/10
    Authored by: Chris C. on Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 03:16 AM UTC
    Thank you to all the scout parents who helped take down the School Picnic Saturday night.

    Mr. Berron
    Mr. Burke
    Mr. Cain
    Mr. DiMercurio
    Mr. Grzovic
    Mr. Magana
    Mr. Menteer
    Mr. Spencer

    Thank you to all the scouts who helped clean up the back lot Sunday morning.

    Nick B.
    Chris C.
    Chris D.
    Kyle G.
    Thomas M.
    Michael N.
    Ben O.
    Rafael Q.
    Rob S.
    Jacob S.
    Robert S.

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