Troop 14 is a boy-led troop. The Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) is the boy-in-charge. The job of SPL at Camp Royaneh is very difficult and highly regarded by the older scouts.
As SPL at camp, you lead the troop of 50 boys, for 2 weeks, 24 hours a day. In the good moments and the bad. All the glory and demerits for the troop are funneled through the SPL.
Sam, seen below, was a stellar SPL for Troop 14. Sam exemplifies everything that is needed to be a leader at camp. His spirit speak volumes. His positive energy never ending.
Alumni of scouting are often asked two questions. 1) Did you make Eagle? 2) Did you go to Philmont.
This is the latter.
Philmont Scout Ranch is the most extreme adventure the Boy Scouts of America have to offer. Troop 14’s itinerary spanned 100 miles and 5 peaks totaling well over 10,000 feet of total climbing. For 12 days, the boys traversed sometimes treacherous terrain, compounded by sore and blister-riddled feet. Going into the trip, a few parents had their doubts concerning their son’s (or their own) abilities.
Everyone was tested. And everyone made it.
“Respect,” was Senior Patrol Leader Spencer’s theme for the week. It is very impressive for a 17 year old boy to choose “respect,” let alone have any theme at all.
When I list the victories by Troop 14 at Camp Royaneh, you would think it was our best year ever. “The Boys in Red” won the the Gladiators competition both weeks. They even beat the camp staff in tug-of-war. Myself and the other assistant scoutmaster, Cameron, took awards in every single scoutmaster competition. And every single scout in the troop earned some type of special camp award (in addition to his merit badges).
But what’s missing from that description is that in the land of redwoods and campfires, the scouts of Troop 14 had possibly the biggest test of its resolve.
This year’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. backpacking trip took Troop 14 to Muir Woods National Monument. The MLK backpacking trip is a strong Troop 14 tradition, involving the entire three-day weekend. This time we camped in the same spot twice but hiked a greater mileage than normal, 26 miles over three days.
I’ve got some blisters on my feet and my muscles are still sore, but it’s worth it to see these boys work as a team and make bonds like I did at their age.