PONSFORD -- Scouts from Scouts BSA Troop 43 girls and Troop 43 boys, both chartered by Trinity Lutheran Church of Brainerd, were recently Many Point Scout Camp taking part in the many adventures that Scouting has to offer them.
“We have five girls at camp from Troop 43 girls and 23 boys from Troop 43 boys,” said DJ Collins, scoutmaster for Troop 43 boys, in a news release.
Over the week at Many Point the scouts participated in a variety of activities from aquatics to climbing the 100-foot-tall fire tower to get a panoramic view of west-central Minnesota. For some of the scouts camp was a chance to work on their first class advancement requirements and learn new outdoor skills and for other scouts it was a chance to work on merit badges. For all the scouts it is a chance to grow and develop as a scout and a chance to bond with their fellow scouts.
Phil Johnson is an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 43 boys and is experiencing Many Point for the first time with his son, Thor, 10.
“For myself this a refresher on all of the fun I had when I was a Scout and it is a great opportunity to build those life-long memories with my son,” said Johnson. “For my son, I am hoping he will build more self-confidence and more self-reliance but also create bonds with his fellow Scouts and learn how to work with them as a team.”
In February the Boy Scouts of America opened up its older Scout program to girls and changed the name of the program to Scout BSA. This has given girls the opportunity to now come to camp as Scouts.
“As a Scoutmaster for the girls I am hoping the girls take the opportunity to grow as individuals and challenge themselves to overcome their fears of failing and come away from camp with a feeling of accomplishment,” said Violeta Rios. “As a mom of one of the girls in the troop I hope she comes away from camp with stronger friendships and memories that we can share for the rest of our lives.”
The five girls in the troop are the founders of the girl troop in Brainerd and have been working on advancing in the ranks of Scouting since February. Together at camp they are working on merit badges and a few of the girls took part in project Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience (COPE), which teaches Scouts team building and self-confidence through a variety of challenges for teamwork and individual growth.
Collins has been the scoutmaster of Troop 43 boys for three years and has brought the troop to Many Point each year since taking on the role.
“It’s a great privilege to serve as a leader in Scouting and be able to watch the scouts grow and become leaders,” said Collins. “For some of these young men I have been their leader since they were Tigers and now they are almost ready to become Eagle Scouts, that’s almost nine years now.
“Being at camp gives the scouts the opportunity to develop life skills such as cooking, problem solving, conflict and time management. Teamwork is also a vital part of scout camp as they work together in the patrol and troop methods. Scout camp also give the scouts the chance to take on challenges they can’t do at home and complete merit badges they can’t generally take at home. I always look forward to camp because of the growth that our scouts have in just one quick week and I look forward to this week each year.”
Shawn Middagh is an assistant scoutmaster with Scouts in both the boy and girl troop.
“The staff at Many Point are exceptionally talented counselors and teachers, who have the patience of someone much older and consistently instruct our scouts with high quality programs and deliver with enthusiasm and a passion for scouting,” said Middagh. “The professionalism and friendliness of the staff here at Many Point is unsurpassed and makes the program rewarding and enjoyable for all Scouts. I am very happy to bring both of my children to camp and I can see each day that they are enjoying and learning from the programs.”
The scouts of troops 43 range in age from 10 to 16 and have a wide variety of camping and leadership experience.
Kylissa O’Connor, 12, is the patrol leader for the girl troop and is experiencing Many Point for the first time.
“I really hope to build my self confidence through scouts and this week at camp,” said O’Connor. “I also want our troop to get some better cooking skills and want us to connect more and become closer as a troop. I have really enjoyed the troop activities and just having fun doing things as a group.”
Johnathan Saba, 16, has been to Many Point five years since joining troop 43.
“My favorite part of coming to Many Point is meeting new people and bonding through the variety of activities that are offered here,” said Saba. “Camp is fun because it’s a youth-based program where we get to take control and learn for ourselves and see what we are capable of. I keep coming back because the camp counselors make it fun and they want us to be here. The people here and in my troop are really supportive and they want to see me, and my fellow scouts, succeed. I’ve known the older scouts in my troop since we were in Cub Scouts together and it’s kind of strange to me to think that I am actually one of those older boys in the troop who is being looked up to by the younger scouts.”
Coming to camp teaches scouts more than just how to survive in a primitive environment without technology and the comforts of home. It helps young people gain confidence and self-reliance. Through everyday activities at camp the scouts learn how to take care of themselves from the challenges of dealing with wet gear after a thunderstorm to dealing with personal conflicts between fellow scouts they become better people. The scouts learn how to manage their own schedules from giving themselves enough time to clean up after preparing a meal and then making it to classes on time.
The Scouts BSA program is a youth run program with as minimal involvement from the adult leaders as possible. The adults are there to ensure the scouts are safe and provide feedback and guidance but are not there to make plans or decisions for the scouts.
Troops 43 meets at Trinity Lutheran Church in Brainerd on Monday nights and welcomes new members at anytime. To become a member of a Scouts BSA troop a youth needs to be between the age of 11 and 17 years of age.