What a Weekend: Troop 229’s Texas adventure (Part 3 of 3)


Over the past two Wednesdays, we’ve taken you along as Troop
229 made an 11-day road trip from Winamac, Ind., to Texas. (If you missed it,
read Part 1 and Part 2 before continuing.)

Well, the troop’s leaders have spent some time reflecting on
this exciting excursion, and Cracker Barrel wanted to find out what they
learned. That’s why we chatted with one of the journey’s organizers, Richard
Conn—to see what lessons he and the other adult leaders took away from the
trip. Follow the jump to find out how their successful experience can inspire
your troop’s future plans.

Here are 9 facts
about Troop 229’s trip:

1.     To
ward off boredom and calm the boys down, leaders stopped the vans on lengthy
travel days for some roadside exercise. The boys did push-ups, sit-ups, and
other activities to burn energy and stretch their legs.

2.     Scouts
and Scouters signed homemade thank-you cards before they left and handed them
to key staff members at stops along the way, such as the NASA Space Center,
U.S.S. Lexington, Lockheed Martin plant, etc. This served as a simple but
important way of showing courtesy to their hosts.

3.     A
Scout is Clean, and so the boys left each overnight stop spotless—ensuring that
they’d be invited to stay again on future trips.

4.     The
trip cost $750 per participant, but there were several expenses that boys and
leaders didn’t have to pay. At the four-hour Lockheed Martin tour, for example,
everyone had to go through security to get in. Once inside, about 18 employees,
including a high-dollar test pilot, supported the visit. How much did this
extensive visit cost Troop 229? Nothing.

5.     Scouts
completed all or parts of several merit badges on the trip, including Space
Exploration, Aviation, Geology, Composite Materials, and Electronics.

6.     Troop
229 Scoutmaster Steve McKinney took his laptop and sent e-mail updates to
parents each night. Remember Jeremy, who was stung by a stingray on Day 5?
McKinney sent a picture of a smiling Jeremy to the boy’s parents so they could
see he was OK.

7.     The
Scouts picked up Scout-related patches at several stops along the way,
including at the Alamo and the U.S.S. Lexington. But that wasn’t all. They also
got a large color photo of the U.S.S. Lexington, a color print of the entire
troop at Lockheed Martin, and an autographed picture of the astronaut they met
at the NASA Space Center. Those are some sweet souvenirs!

8.     The
troop held a special Court of Honor after the trip. This gave parents a chance
to see a video narrated by two of the younger Scouts. View that here (scroll down to the links section).

9.     The
Scouts met some great role models at several stops. Introducing boys to
extraordinary people outside of the troop can inspire them to succeed in life.
The guys met Lt. Col. Jon Yuill, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam; Ron
Bezon, who operates the longest-running soup kitchen in Memphis; and Air Force
Lt. Stephen Shurn, an Eagle Scout.

Troop 229 staged a great trip—exciting, educational,
inspirational. The boys had fun, earned merit badges, and met a bunch of great
people. And despite 11 days of nonstop action, the experience was affordable.
Now it’s your turn to apply those lessons to your troop’s next great adventure!

Chime In: What
have you learned from Troop 229? What advice can you give to other adult
leaders as they help Scouts plan big trips?  

1 Comment

  1. As Scoutmaster of Troop 229, let’s not forget the churches along the way who let us sleep in their facilities free of charge? This alone saved the troop thousands of dollars in hotel bills making the trip more affordable for the participants. How did we find the churches? A Google search with the words “Boy Scouts”, “church”, and the name of the city was usually enough to find a church that supported the Scouting program.

Join the conversation