— In early July members of Boy Scout Troop 224 traveled to Lake
Nippising in the Canadian province of Ontario. Native Americans call the
special visitors to their area “voyagers.” It is the eighth trip the
scouts have made to this area.
The scouts made the trip to the
area to travel down the upper French River to take part in a 65 or 80
mile down the river. Twenty-three scouts and 20 adult volunteers took
The scouts were divided in to three crews. One crew took
the 65-mile journey and the two other crews took the 75-80 mile trip
down on the French River. Crew leaders were Zack Buckland, Cody Sheets,
Daniel Ketner and Nick Fenbert, all Eagle Scouts. All of the crew
leaders had taken the trip before.
“Many times the adult
volunteers looked up to the crew leaders because of the experience they
had,” said Scout Master Scott Ketner. “Especially the adults who had
never taken the trip before.
Ketner said they have been planning for the trip for nearly a year with each leader ‘taking a piece of the pie’ in the planning.
of the parents and scout leaders did something to make this trip
happen,” Ketner said. He gave special thanks to Karl and Lynne Hirzel
who went along as adult volunteers. He said Karl has been on many of
these trips before. “We always appreciate his organizational skills and
the use of his trailer to haul many of the canoes.”
“It is a very
challenging week for the boys,” Ketner said. In addition to learning to
depend on each other the scouts also learn how to work as a team, On the
trip the scouts and adults use MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) and bring along
a water filtration system. They also do fishing and clean and cook
their own fish.
The trip also includes going through rapids, learning to body surf, and cliff jumping.
“They don’t have to do these things, but it is offered as a challenge for the scouts,” Ketner said.
learn to work together on the trip. Everyone pitches in together to
survive.” Ketner said the crew often burn their duty rosters a few days
into the trip when they understand how the team effort is required.
Modern conveniences including flush toilets, electronics, and cell phones are not part of the canoe trip.
of the crews had one day during their trip down the French River when
they returned to the Marina for a full meal. The meal included turkey,
potatoes, dressing and vegetables.
On the last day the scouts held a “Pirate War” using their canoes.
“I love to see how the boys mature and learn during the trip,” Ketner said. “In many ways they grow from boys into men.