Every year Scouts from Troop 224 plan and lead what we call a “Big Trip.” Scouts are accompanied by Adult Leaders - or Uniform Leaders - ULs for short. This means going to one of BSA’s “High Adventure” camps as described below, but other years the Scouts select other adventures. In recent years, Big Trips have included glacier hiking and deep sea fishing in Alaska [insert picture of the boys on the glacier and of Colin with 130-pound halibut], scuba diving in the Sea of Cortez, rafting on Class 3, 4 and 5 rapids on the Klamath River in Oregon, and camping and diving on the island of Oahu.
BSA High Adventure Camps
In recent years, our Scouts have been hiking at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, (which includes backpacking 50-75 miles over 7-10 days), canoeing at Northern Tier in Bissett, Manitoba, Canada (rowing 60+ miles over 5 days and camping and portaging), and Florida Sea Base (snorkeling or scuba diving, including doing multiple night dives during a week-long stay-onboard boat trip). Scouts from Troop 224 have also attended the Bechtel Scout Preserve in West Virginia. These High Adventure camps are for the older scouts and require completing many practice hikes before attending.
Troop 224 is committed to providing an exciting and varied outdoor experience. So, in addition to backpacking, snow camping, and car camping, we like to get on the water at least once a year. We’ve gone kayaking, white water rafting, and canoeing. Last year we went canoeing on the Russian River. This year, the scouts opted for sea kayaking in Tomales Bay this Fall, plus a white water rafting trip in June!
In addition to the Philmont hikes, Troop 224 Scouts have planned and led 50-mile, 5-day backpacking trips to Mt. Whitney (summiting the highest peak in the Continental US — 14,505 feet), Lassen Volcanic National Park (where four different climate regions come together to form spectacular and colorful vistas).
Each year, Troop 224 Scouts and parents and ULs head up to Granlibakken Resort in Lake Tahoe for two days of skiing and boarding. On Saturday, we hit the slopes at Alpine Meadows. On Saturday night, the Troop enjoys a pot-luck meal at the Resort (and each year the ULs cook a steak dinner for the Troop 224 Patrol that had the best sales record at the most recent Troop 224 Christmas Tree Lot). On Sunday, we head over to Sugar Bowl for a second day on the slopes before heading home. Scouts have the opportunity to earn their Snow Sports Merit Badge on this trip.
Every few years, Troop 224 takes a road trip through the American Southwest, stopping to hike and camp at a variety of National Parks and at the Navajo Nation Reservation, 224’s affiliated tribe. National Parks visited include Great Basin and Red Rocks in Nevada, Bryce Canyon and Zion in Utah, Grand Canyon in Arizona, and Joshua Tree in Southern California. At the Navajo Nation Reservation, the Scouts experience firsthand the spirit of the Navajo people, and learn about their lives today. It is an amazing and eye-opening experience for the Scouts and a great way for both sets of kids to come together and learn about each others’ cultures.
Yosemite Family Camp
Each November, Troop 224 Scouts, Uniformed Leaders and their families go to Yosemite National Park. This trip typically involves an all-hands service project such as cleaning up campgrounds for the end of season, as well as a vigorous hike such as to the top of Vernal and Nevada Falls or to the top of Yosemite Falls. This family-oriented outing also involves large (and delicious) communal meals and fun campfire skits. The combination of the hike and the service project teach the Scouts (and their family members) the importance of stewardship and provide an opportunity to experience first-hand one of nature’s greatest treasures.
Troop 224 Christmas Tree Lot
A Lafayette tradition for over 65 years, Troop 224’s only fundraiser is the annual Troop 224 Christmas Tree Lot on Mt Diablo Blvd in Lafayette. Scouts from Troop 224 sell over 1,200 trees and dozens of wreaths and rolls of garland, plus lots of other necessities like tree stands, preservatives and tree bags. Older Scouts set up and carry trees and tie them to customer’s cars, while younger Scouts work the lot and interact with customers [insert pics] Parents set up trees and provide fresh cuts, as well as handle the sales process and maintain the lot and office. The Tree Lot teaches the Scouts valuable life skills including courtesy, salesmanship, entrepreneurship and how to interact with adults, as well as a variety of knot-tying skills they will need in their Scouting careers. The Tree Lot is a “volunteer” effort, with Scouts and their parents required to “volunteer” for a set number of shifts each season. The Tree Lot is a successful