A Grand View

Only in the scouting world do crazy youth and adults, pack up their backpacks and head to the local parks to lug around 35-50lbs on their backs.  To some, we’re crazy.  To us, it’s just a regular Saturday morning.

With only 10 days before we depart for Philmont Scout Ranch we made our way to the trails of Forest Park Nature Center for an early morning prep hike.  We decided to be adventurous and take the Pimiteoui Trail up to Grandview Drive in Peoria Heights.  It’s a nice hike to Grandview Drive with trails very reminiscent of Philmont.  And as the name implies, the view is quite spectacular.

Venture Crew 91 Grandview Drive

Grandview Drive

After a few hours of wandering around and running into a few turkeys we made our way back to Chillicothe sticky and sweaty.  To escape the heat for bit we had lunch indoors and reviewed a list of “Do Not Forget to Bring With You” items.  Number one item not to forget: Hiking Boots!  Sounds a little crazy but you’d be surprised how easy it is to leave for the train without your boots.

Venture Crew 91

A quick shakedown of everyone’s gear and a run through on using backpacking stoves and the water filter made for a very productive Saturday.  And that was all before 3pm! There’s sure to be a competition between the ladies and the fellas on tearing down tents while on the trail.  The adults can’t wait to see how long it takes for the teams to tear down their tent and be ready in the morning!  We’ll let you know the outcome.

Rerolling the tent...the fifth time

Rerolling the tent…the fifth time

Just 10 days.  Wow.  It’s going to be amazing.


A Typical Wednesday

We were pretty busy last night checking on our tent situation for Philmont Scout Ranch.  We leave for Philmont in 14 days!  If we want to be comfortable we better be sure to have all our tents and gear ready to go.

Venture Crew 91 Tenting

As people drove by the yard full of tents we’re sure they were thinking we were crazy.  Though there were only four tents set up in the yard it definitely is a different sight for Chillicothe in the middle of the week.  We’re really too excited to care what the general passerby is thinking. 🙂


Thankfully each tent will be keeping us dry and we even found a tent we forgot we had!  That’s the problem with camping gear…it gets out of control!  We decided to leave the tents assembled for our gear shakedown this Saturday and save us some steps.  So we won’t kill the grass we’ve stuffed them all into a garage.  Poor garage.

Venture Crew 91 Tenting

Who really puts cars in their garages anyway?  Isn’t it supposed to be filled to the brim with tents, sleeping pads, backpacks and backpacking stoves?

Venture Crew 91 Tenting


Sizzling Hot!

A small merry band of Philmont enthusiasts went for a hike last night.  We sure were hoping for fine weather and got quite the opposite.  The late afternoon rain was sure to bring a cooling of the 90+ temps Central Illinois was experiencing.  We were COMPLETELY wrong!

By the time we arrived at Robinson Park the heat was oppressive and the humidity was through the roof.  We only had to walk a short way before we found ourselves drenched in a salty, sticky sweat.  Carrying an additional 30-40lbs didn’t help us stay cool either.

The only perks of this lovely stroll were all the wildlife we were able to see.  No, we are not counting the gnats and mosquitoes that plagued us for the two hours!  We’re referring to all the deer who were out and about last night.  We practically ran into a handful as they stood in the trails.  In total we observed at least 11 deer at Robinson Park.  It was wonderful.

Scouting All Summer

When asked, ‘What are you plans for the summer?’ being a Venture Scout has its advantages.  Summers are awesome and hold the keys to the great unknown, if you know where to look.  One member of our crazy crew will have plenty of stories to tell from the summer of 2014.

Trevor is a Life Scout of Crew 91 and the Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 50.  He has packed his summer to the brim.  Starting off the summer with a bang by participating in National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), moving into three weeks working at Camp Ingersoll and then catching the train to Philmont Scout Ranch for two weeks makes for one massive summer of scouting!

Mr. Trevor

For the fourth summer in the W.D. Boyce Council, NYLT has been opened to Venture Scouts.  Trevor is the second member of Crew 91 to participate in NYLT and we’re so excited to see what leadership ideas he brings back to the crew.  National Youth Leadership Training is youth-led by previous graduates of NYLT and seeks to integrate modern leadership theory with the strengths scouting has to offer.  Every participant will discover what a leader must BE, what a leader must KNOW, and what a leader must DO.

National Youth Leadership Training

The next three weeks will be exhausting and amazing all at the same time.  Trevor will be working as a ‘floater’ at Ingersoll Scout Reservation in London Mills, Illinois.  Camp Ingersoll is our council summer camp offering Boy Scout troops an incredible summer full of activities, rank advancements and the opportunities to complete Merit Badges.  Mr. Trevor will be floating around camp serving wherever duty calls.  He’ll be busy at the waterfront, in Scoutcraft and a handful of other outposts leading by example and learning what it means to serve others before self.

Ingersoll Scout Reservation

After trekking all over Ingersoll Trevor will be throwing together everything he needs for a two week adventure at the epic Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.  While at Philmont Trevor will serve as the trek Crew Leader while the group backpacks for 12 days through the mountains of New Mexico.  While there he will be able to put to practice the skills he learned at NYLT and the servant leadership he observed while on staff at Camp Ingersoll.

Philmont Scout Ranch

These are the best summers.  The summers that start off by learning new skills that move into serving others and then progress to leading a group of venturers through the backcountry make the most memorable of summers.  If anything, Trevor will be ready to take a real shower, crash into his own bed and share with others why scouting is really the best option for a jam packed, unforgettable summer.


30 Days and Counting

Woot woot!  It is hard to believe in exactly 30 days we will be hitting the trails of Philmont Scout Ranch.  Who knew over a year of planning would go by so quickly.  It seems hard to believe we are finally in the last stages of preparing for Philmont.

Just keep hiking

Just keep hiking

Our prep hiking has been kicked up a notch and living rooms and garages are becoming sorting grounds full of equipment.  With Philmont just 30 days away we’ve picked up the hiking pace to 2-3 times a week.  Everyone’s doing great and the enthusiasm is building.

the fearless ladies

the fearless ladies

The merry band of nine is full of newbies and a smattering of veterans.  With five of the six youth experiencing the backcountry of New Mexico for the first time it is sure to be a delight. There is really nothing better than conquering the initial climb of the trek, setting up camp, purifying water and throwing your first bear bag line.  It will be a trip of firsts and we could not be more excited.

On our Way

On our Way

Keep an eye out for more details of our trek and we’ll be sure to keep you posted as we travel by train from Central Illinois to the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains.