Canoe camping on the Wisconsin River

One of the most popular outings in the Troop’s repertoire is canoeing on the Wisconsin River west of Madison, and camping overnight on a sandbar in the middle of the river.

Because the river captures water from more than 10,000 square miles and because there are reservoirs upstream, the amount and depth of water can vary. The river conditions and weather forecasts are watched closely by the professional outfitter we use and by the Troop leaders.

The river conditions are posted by the U.S. Geological Survey at its web site. Last year the river was deeper and faster than typical, so while we were able to paddle safely, we were unable to camp on a sandbar … there weren’t any that were suitable. We used the outfitter’s alternate campsite, a town park right alongside the river in Muscoda.

Right now, conditions are just about perfect, so things are looking good for our trip later this month.

Event for new Scouts and families

Troop 18 is part of the Potawatomi District of the Northeast Illinois Council. The District is hosting a welcoming event for the new Scouts next Saturday morning at Lovelace Park  in Evanston, on Gross Point road between Wilmette Ave. and Central St.

The event runs from 9 am to noon, and includes fishing instruction and a Fishing Derby, with contests for the biggest and the smallest fish. Detailed information and online registration is available on the Council website. While you’re visiting the site, be sure to check out the Council’s calendar for upcoming events and opportunities.

Time to RSVP for Wisconsin River canoe trip

This could be your sandbar! Click for map of our route.

This could be your sandbar! Click for map of our route.

Please remember to RSVP if you’re going on the Wisconsin River canoe camping trip on September 14 and 15 [info]. The RSVP form is here.

Payment and all paperwork are due at our meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Winnetka Congregational Church:

  • Payment of $35 per Scout; checks should be made out to Troop 18.
  • Scouting permission slip, either from the flyer or downloadable here.
  • Waiver required by the canoe outfitter, downloadable here.
  • Scouting health information form, which is required for any Scout or adult who participates in an outing. This does not require a doctor’s signature or exam, but includes important health and allergy information that the trip organizers should know when planning and conducting the trip. It can be downloaded here.

Scouts: Expanded options for High Adventure

Troop 18 has been a regular participant in the High Adventure program at Philmont Scout Ranch in the mountains of New Mexico — you can see a picture from the Troop’s most recent trip there on our home page.

Philmont’s first camping season was in 1939, but it isn’t the oldest High Adventure program. The Northern Tier base, in Minnesota on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, started its summer canoe adventures in 1923, and started its OKPIK winter program in the 1970s.

The Florida Sea Base began offering Scouts adventures at sea in the early 1970s, and includes tall ship sailing, island camping, ecology study, fishing and SCUBA diving.

This summer, scouting’s newest high adventure location opened in West Virginia. The Summit was the site of he 2013 National Scout Jamboree,and its summer programs will offer BMX, skateboarding, mountain biking, zip lines, challenge courses, climbing, shooting sports, whitewater and more.

The benefits of Scouting include the opportunities that are available to the Scouts, and the fact that the Scouts work together to set the goals and make the plans and preparations needed to take advantage of the opportunities.

Troop 18 Scouts: Please take some time to explore the Web sites, and start thinking about the adventures you’re like to take. Over the next few months, the patrols and the Troop will be laying out near-term plans and longer-term goals. Think about the adventures offered by Scouting’s national bases, but don’t hesitate to be an advocate for an adventure that isn’t offered at those bases.

The Personal Fitness merit badge

The Personal Fitness merit badge is required for advancement to Eagle Scout, and can be used as one of the badges for advancement to Star and Life rank.

Requirement 1 for the badge includes this:

Before completing requirements 2 through 9, have your health-care practitioner give you a physical examination, using the Scout medical examination form. Describe the examination. Tell what questions you were asked about your health. Tell what health or medical recommendations were made and report what you have done in response to the recommendations.

The next time you have a physical exam scheduled, print out a copy of the form and bring it to the appointment. With that in hand, you’ll be able to complete the other requirements.

First Fall meeting next week! Canoeing in September! Devil’s Lake in October!

Scouts and Parents,

We’ll have our first post-summer meeting on Tuesday, September 3, at 7:30 pm. Because of the rummage sale preparations underway at Christ Church, our September meetings will be held in the gym of the Winnetka Congregational Church at 725 Pine St. We’ll be preparing for our first outing of the year …

Canoeing the Wisconsin River on Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15. This trip was a blast for everyone last year, with overnight camping on a river sandbar. You should have received an email from that contained the information and liability waiver for the trip.

Coming into the home stretch for rank advancement

As we approach our May Board of Review and Court of Honor, scouts should work with their patrol leaders and the scoutmasters to ensure that the requirements for rank advancement are met, and that plans are in place to complete any open items.

The rank requirements can be found in the Boy Scout Handbook:

  • Tenderfoot requirements are on pages 432-433
  • Second Class requirements are on pages 434-435
  • First Class requirements are on pages 436-437
  • Star Scout requirements are on page 438
  • Life Scout requirements are on page 439
  • Eagle Scout requirements are on pages 440-441

The requirements can also be found on the website.

For scouts who are working on advancement to First Class, we are trying out a Google Form that can be used to identify the requirements that you’ve completed and the requirements you need to complete.

Your responses from the form will be shared with the patrol leaders and scoutmasters to help plan activities at this weekend’s Starved Rock campout, and to plan additional activities in the coming weeks.

Any feedback on the form would be appreciated, and can be sent to

Starved Rock campout permission slips due Tuesday

Our campout at Starved Rock State Park is this coming weekend. Signed permission slips are due at Tuesday’s Troop meeting.

A copy of the fly for the campout can be downloaded here.

Astronomy observation session Friday, April 5

We will have an observation session to help meet requirements for the Astronomy merit badge at 8pm at Crow Island Woods. The session will be led by Andy Bulluck of Skokie Valley Astronomers. The session should include constellation-spotting, stargazing, planet-watching and tracking satellites including the International Space Station.

Details on the observation session can be downloaded here.

Are you weather smart?

The website includes training resources that can be valuable to everyone involved in scouting. As the days grow longer, spring warms, and we spend more time outside, it’s good to refresh our knowledge of how to to plan for and respond to severe weather including thunderstorms, hail, and tornados.

The Planning and Preparing for Hazardous Weather online course takes 30-40 minutes to complete, and is available in the E-Learning section of the MyScouting website.

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