Bradley Street, a Boy Scout with JBER’s Troop 504, ties a figure eight in his
belay line before climbing Tazlina rock face at Camp Gorsuch, near Chugiak, Alaska. Boy Scouts go to camp each summer to learn scouting skills as well as critical thinking and teamwork, which can offer dividends throughout life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ross Whitley)
MacKenzie Wooden, a Boy Scout with JBER’s Troop 190 practices fl ipping a kayak at the Mirror Lake waterfront at Camp Gorsuch during the second week of camp. Mackenzie took the kayaking merit badge at summer camp this year. Boy Scouts go to
camp every year to learn scouting skills that they will use later in life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ross Whitley)
Grady Desaussure, a scout of JBER’s Boy Scout Troop 190, aims a .22 rifl e at a target at the Camp Gorsuch Rifl e Range during the second week of camp. One of the requirements for rifl e merit badge is for Scouts to place fi ve shots that will fi t under a quarter from 50 feet. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ross Whitley)
Jordan Wooden, a Boy Scout with JBER’s Troop 190 aims his arrow at a target at the Camp Gorsuch Archery Range during the second week of camp. To earn the archery merit badge, Scouts must shoot targets at a distance of 15 yards and accrue a score of
at least 170. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ross Whitley)
JOINT BASE ELMNEDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
"Scouting teaches boys responsibility and basic skills on adulthood, it gives them a head start to growing up to be independent young men who can be self reliant and self responsible" said Boy Scout Troop 190 Scoutmaster Wes Raley.
JBER Boy Scout Troop 190 and Troop 504 traveled to Gorsuch Boy Scout Summer Camp July 15 for a weeklong trip in the woods to help Scouts become, as Raley says, "independent young men." While the scouts won't be completely independent by the end of the week, they will be a little closer to reaching that goal.
The Scouts gathered outside the commissary parking lot on a dreary Sunday morning before loading up in vehicles and heading to Gorsuch summer camp, where they checked in for their week of fun and excitement. When they arrived at camp the Scouts set up their tents and found out where their merit badge classes would be. The Scouts had a variety of activities and events planned throughout the week.
"A lot of the activities go towards a particular skill set," Raley said. "First aid teaches the Scouts what to do in an emergency situation like for bee stings, burns, broken bones, stuff like that; how to do CPR. It teaches self reliance and general everyday skills."
Each department at camp has a different focus and the Scouts chose what they are most interested in. The waterfront of Mirror Lake is where the scouts learn about water-related merit badges like canoeing, kayaking, lifesaving, and swimming.
Scoutcraft is where Scouts learn about different scouting skills like map reading and lashings - for example, making tripods and towel racks.
The climbing and the Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience areas give Scouts the chance to climb a rock face or face their fears and learn to work together in a group on the COPE course.
"I think that they do it to learn the skill, but they learn it in a very hands-on and very direct environment," Raley said. "It appeals to a lot of young men who are very kinetic learners."
By Friday, the Scouts had learned new camp songs and earned merit badges they can sew on their sashes, and the summer camp was well worth it, Raley said.
"Boys can go to achieve personal goals and also to do new and exciting things," Raley said. "Going with Troop 190, it was an awesome experience to watch them develop, watch them make decisions, and watch them lead themselves where they wanted to go."