Stephen L. Jenkins, AICP Happy New Year, Everyone !!! It is with great Joy and Optimism that I greet the New Year, and I wish the same for you and your families. However, the key word for our planned Troop 54 Backpack outings in 2010 is "flexibility". Here is why (please share this update with your Scouts....there are 7 parts):
1) Our outings in 2009 were primarily shorter backpacks (Hoegees and Bridge to Nowhere) and 10-mile day hikes to get the Scouts used to altitude and hiking 8-10 miles per day. In 2010, our outings will all (with the exception of the first shakedown) be 15-mile backpacks over two days (see attached patch display).
2) Our previously planned first shakedown backpack scheduled for Little Jimmy on May 8th has to be canceled because the next Skyline Hike is now scheduled for that date, and there is great uncertainty about whether that part of the Angeles Forest will re-open by May due to the ongoing assessment of the Station Fire. However, I will be leading another 20-mile Skyline to Firestone hike on May 8th for those who did not make the last one in December. This will be the last 20-miler for me so plan on staying in shape and joining in the fun.
3) As a result of this schedule change, and the uncertainty of other alternative backpack locations in the San Bernardino mountains due to possible lingering snow, we will be conducting our first 2010 backpack shakedown as part of the Desert Camp on January 23-24 at Joshua Tree/29 Palms. I will send another mail later today with more details, but it is very important for any Scout and Adult Scouter who plans on going on the subsequent backpack outings shown on the attached display of patches and medals to sign up for this shakedown outing at the Troop meeting on Monday Jan 4th.
4) Another reason for "flexibility" is because I will be moving to Sacramento for employment reasons right after the meeting on Monday night. While I will not be able to attend future Troop meetings, I do plan on organizing and leading the weekend activities shown on the attached patch display but will need the continued support of other adult Scouters to do so.
5) Which brings me to the topic of Adult Backpack Leader Training. Per the attached notice, this High Adventure training is only offered once per year. The deadline for enrollment is Feb 12th, and the training will be at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro on Fri Feb 19 to Sun Feb 21. Unfortunately, this is the same weekend as our Troop 54 Winter Camp. However, without more trained backpack leaders, we may need to limit the number of Scouts who go on some of our planned outings.
As an example, the outings to San Bernardino Peak, San Jacinto and San Gorgonio will all have Wilderness Permit limits of 12 persons per Group (we will hike with 8 Scouts and 4 Adults per Group per Tahquitz Peak outing last Sept). It is likely that we may have at least 2 Groups and possible 3 for each outing and, therefore, will need more trained adults. I hope that we can find 4-6 of the Intermediate or older Scout parents to attend this training, and 2-3 of the Beginner or younger Scout parents as well. Whether you actually plan and lead an outing is less important than having the training to do so.
6) Similarly, our 2009 outings were orgainzed by Patrol and Scouts were given the opportunity to begin assuming responsilities for conducting the outings (Patrol Leader and other Positions, as well as training and expectations). For 2010, it is hoped that the Scouts who activity participated in 2009 will want to take on more proactive responsibility for planning as well as conducting our 2010 outings. Therefore, I encourage all those who are at least 13 and First Class to enroll and attend the attached High Adventure Jr. Leader Backpack training. Again, this is only offered once per year and has already been calendared on the Troop 54 Calendar.
7) Finally, and very importantly, the attached new 3-part BSA Medical Forms became mandatory on Jan 1st. Only this Form can be used when you update your Medical Info in 2010. With respect to our 2010 Backpack Outings, ALL will be located in excess of 30-minutes from emergency medical treatment and, as a result, completion and compliance with the Part B standards will be mandatory. Please take time to look the chart over. Both Rio Hondo District and LA Council High Adventure Trainers have stressed that BSA Insurance will not cover anyone who does not meet the requirements and Scoutmasters and Tour Permit outing leaders will assume personal liability for non-compliance. Therefore, we must require compliance.
Anyway, hope that this is helpful and useful information as we get ready for an exciting and fun 2010. Please look for the next email later today on the signups for the Jan 23-24 shakedown backpack outing.
Stephen L. Jenkins