Troop 64 had the honor of welcoming five Scouts to the rarified ranks of Eagle on July 31st at Valley Presbyterian Church in Portola Valley: Conrad Morhenn, Jimmy Inenaga, James Gilbrand, Nicholas Zamboldi and Alex Koop. It was the first full, in-person Eagle Court of Honor since before the pandemic so an even more joyful and solemn occasion. The five Scouts persevered through lockdowns and limited resources to complete their projects, which included rebuilding the benches at the Corte Madera School amphitheater, constructing four free little Libraries for local non-profits, building a playground for the church, creating a native plant research area at Stulsaft Park, and building a stage for the Windmill preschool in town.
We had so much fun on the South Fork of the American River this spring that we decided we HAD to do it again – but this time in the BIG water of the Middle Fork. Seven Scouts from Troops 64 and 4064 braved the Class IV rapids and nobody (unintentionally) fell out. While the hardcore seven rocked and rolled in the rapids, five of us paddled serenely down the South Fork, admiring the scenery and the birds. A campout the night before got nine Scouts another camping night and two the opportunity to work toward their cooking merit badges. We’ll definitely go back for more next spring/summer.
Congratulations to all who were recognized at this year’s Spring Court of Honor. All told, we had 12 rank advancements and 30 merit badges this time around. That included one person who completed the Scoutrank, two for Tenderfoot, two Second Class, two First Class and four Life scouts. We also recognized the first Eagle Scout of the spring, with three more to come soon. Our merit badges ranged from Woodworking to Climbing, Sustainability, Personal Management and more. In addition, we hosted a Webelos II bridging ceremony to welcome 10 new Scouts to the troop. The recipient of the evening’s MVP (Most Valuable Parent) award this year was Andrew Inenaga, who for years has done yoeman’s work as our Quartermaster’s father, driving both his son and our flags to almost every meeting. We can’t thank him enough for his selfless dedication.
Our spring whitewater rafting trip was awesome! We had hoped to do the Class IV rapids on the Middle Fork of the American River, but that section wasn’t open yet. So we did the South Fork instead, which was wild enough considering the water was recent snow melt so really, really cold. We stayed at Lotus Camp Saturday night, then braved the Class I, II and III rapids on Sunday. Everyone ejected from the boat at least once – both voluntarily and otherwise. Those who wanted to had the opportunity to “ride the bull” on the front of the boat and take the waves full in the face. And four Scouts jumped off some pretty high cliffs into the river below. We saw lots of wildlife and ended the day with a jet ski tow to Folsom Lake so we didn’t have to paddle the last few miles. WET Rafting out of Lotus, CA, did a great job of accommodating our gang. We can’t wait to go back for the Middle Fork.
Our March outing was an overnight backpacking trip to Black Mountain atop Skyline Blvd. It was a great hike in, ASM Bedner gave us a safety briefing, Zane and Cole cooked dinner, then we all saw a gorgeous sunset over a sea of fog to the west. The wind started picking up and the temperature plummeted right before bed. Then in the middle of the night, it started pouring rain. Most of us stayed dry but a few had puddles in their tents. By morning, everyone was freezing cold so we ate breakfast, packed up quickly and headed home. It was fun and an adventure to remember.
Our April outing will be another campout – probably at Sunset Beach with some litter pickup for those who need service hours. May hopefully will be a rafting trip on the American River.
Another March activity was Shooting Sports Day at Boulder Creek Scout Reservation. Five of us loaded and shot clay targets with muzzle loading rifles, broke lollipops and fake pumpkins with air rifles, did target practice with .22 rifles, learned how to shoot flying clay “pigeons” with shotguns, tried to hit pie pans and baking sheets with slingshots, and hurled tomahawks at redwood rounds. We also learned archery. The safety talks were thorough, the instructor-to-Scout ratio was 1 to 1 at all times, and we felt we learned a ton. It was a rare and really good opportunity to experience a lot of different kinds of shooting sports in one day at one easy-to-reach destination. We highly recommend it to anyone who wants to give it a try.
The troop’s February outing was a 10-mile hike organized by Indra. Fourteen of us, plus Moxie the dog,started at Corte Madera School at 9 am then walked up Spring Ridge Trail to the top of Windy Hill. When we got to the top, we had lunch and enjoyed the view from the picnic area. After that, we walked back down the Hamms Gulch Trail to return to CMS, where those who didn’t need the full 10 miles left off. Those who needed a few more miles for merit badges then did a loop around the Portola Valley Ranch deer path to complete the full 10. The weather was sunny but cold. Everyone brought layers for the cold morning temperatures that they could take off when it warmed up. We used the AllTrails app and a paper map for navigation.
Planning is underway for the second half of the Scouting year. From January through June, we have lots of ideas for our troop. The Patrol Leaders Council is working on merit badge offerings, first aid instruction, backpacking trips to Black Mountain and Henry Coe State Park, hikes (including a 10-miler!), a ski day, snow camping, fly fishing, rafting, and more fire safety clearing for the community. Keep your calendars clear so you can fit in as much as possible.
Troops 64/4064 held their annual Winter Court of Honor in November, awarding 61 merit badges, 33 other achievements and 24 rank advancements, including nine new Star Scouts and two Life Scouts. In addition, the Troop honored its latest Eagle Scout with a solemn ceremony and cake.
In December, Troops 64/4064 offered the climbing merit badge to interested Scouts over the age of 13. We started off with a belay class at Planet Granite to learn the knots, safety and techniques for climbing indoors. Then we did an afternoon of outdoor climbing at Castle Rock State Park off South Skyline Boulevard.
This dutch oven was used to cook amazing peach cobbler
Troops 64/4064 had a successful last campout of the year under the cool and damp redwoods of the Boulder Creek Scout Reservation near Santa Cruz. We went over the Firem’n Chit, checked off skills requirements for 10 participants ranging in rank from Scout through Life, and marked several complete for Scout, Tenderfoot, and First Class.
The temperatures were in the 40s and 50s but Chili Mac, expertly charred Burgers, awesome Peach Cobbler, and hot chocolate kept us warm. Plus the jokes at the campfire were flying so fast and so horribly bad that nobody was thinking about the cold. There were more than a few belly groaners.
We highly recommend the Zulu campsite. It’s a long walk from the parking lot but quiet and secluded. Although there were 120 other Scouts there for a Trail to First Class campout, we hardly noticed them.
Scouts made flower arrangements and cards for seniors ling in The Sequoias.
Troops 64/4064 did an annual service project at their November 3, 2021 meeting, creating dozens of flower bouquets for residents of The Sequoias retirement community and collecting donations of canned and non-perishable foods for the Catholic Worker House in Redwood City, which supplies food to 70 needy families per week. The Scouts also wrote notes and letters to people at The Sequoias. The flowers were placed in the dining room, in hallways, in meeting rooms and in some individual bedrooms. Residents were so touched by the troop’s efforts that they sent a thank you note in response.
Max Moore (MBC) and Scoutmaster Ellis are joining together to offer the Climbing merit badge to all Scouts of age 13 and older who are interested. This badge will require a belay training class at Planet Granite, preferably a second day there to solidify your skills and pass the test to get a belay card, then a half-day of outdoor climbing on real rock faces in Castle Rock State Park with a certified climbing guide/instructor.
Dates/times are still TBD, and all scheduling will take place by Doodle poll. If you can’t make a specific day/time chosen, you can
schedule training or days at Planet Granite on your own.
This is a super fun badge that will enable you to climb indoors and outdoors, a skill that will be super fun to have throughout your life.
Interested? Shoot an email to Scoutmaster Ellis.
With San Mateo County now in the Orange Tier and likely to improve to the Yellow soon, we’re eager to resume in-person Scout meetings! We have approval from our Charter Organization, Kiwanis Club of Menlo Park, to meet.
The overall plan:
- Rotating in-person with online meetings so that we meet the needs of those who have to socially distance with those who are eager to return to face-to-face engagement
- Rotating in-person meetings between Wednesdays and Thursdays so all have an equal chance at attending
- Careful adherence to County standards for safety, including masks, distancing, temperature checks, pre-clearance health questionnaires, and hand sanitizer
- Stable cohorts of 14 or fewer.
- Safety Logistics:
- Parents will receive a pre-meeting health check questionnaire the day before each meeting
- Scouts will be divided into cohorts based on patrol. Scouts should maintain six feet distance within their cohorts and cohorts will be separated by 10-20 feet
- After a brief welcome, explanation of safety measures, announcements, and flag ceremony, scouts break into smaller groups within their cohorts to learn skills
- There will not be restrooms available
- If anyone becomes sick during a meeting, they will be separated from their group and parents notified immediately
On May 8th, we will be having our first camp-out of the year! We will be hiking about three miles to the campsite. This should be a fun way to get warmed up for future camp-outs and test our gear.
This trip will be a great opportunity to get out of the house and get ready for longer backpacking trips later this year, and to get some camping nights!
We will depart early on May 8th and return Sunday afternoon (Mother’s Day). Sign up on the Calendar page HERE.