Over the last few weeks, Troop 669 has been getting creative with virtual meetings, and has done many fun and entertaining virtual activities. Last weekend, our troop went on a virtual campout- everyone set up their tents, ate dinner, showed their campsites to others, and went to bed, all on a zoom call. Last Monday was the iron chef challenge- where budding chefs competed against one another cooking dishes using three ingredients- canned protein, carrots, and butter. “It was so cool!” An attendee of both events said. “I’m excited for our next virtual meeting.”
In February, our scouts enjoyed a spirited day of snow, skis, snowboards, and sleds when we took a trip to Snow Valley. After getting fitted with special boots and picking up our rented ski poles and snowboards, it was all uphill- quickly followed by downhill, of course- from there. For many, it was the first time they had ever tried a snow sport. Everyone learned quickly, however, and soon, all of our scouts were racing down the slopes. Even some siblings of scouts and friends of siblings of scouts joined the fun! After learning how to ski and snowboard (the two options provided by Snow Valley) a few scouts ventured up another hill to go sledding, and some even tried to have a snowball fight on the way down. “We put snow in our sleds at the beginning, and tried to hurl it at each other on the way down,” said one scout. “It was great fun.”
A few Mondays ago (March 16, 2019), our troop hosted its first ever digital meeting, due to recent events involving COVID-19. Our troop was determined to find a way to still meet, despite current events, and hosted the meeting on the app zoom. After trying to figure out the program, every attending scout participated in a scavenger hunt, where they looked around their house for items and then showed them to the screen. Our troop will continue to hold meetings in this fashion until the virus has run its course and it is safe to meet in person.
Our troop has also played several other zoom games since then, including a talent show, skit competition, and scout Jeopardy.
To start 2020 off right, our troop took a spirited trip to Knott’s Berry Farm. For many people in attendance, it was their first time there, and everyone had a great time racing through Timber Mountain, plummeting down wooden hills on Ghostrider, and screaming for their life on Xelerator. Overall, two of the most favorited rides were quickly revealed to be Ghostrider and Calico River Rapids, as each was chosen to ride again on numerous occasions. However, our Troop didn’t stick to just riding thrill rides – we had just as much fun exploring the Calico Mines and getting a bird’s eye view of the park on Sky Cabin, where, as an added bonus, we got to see the breathtaking holiday lights of Calico from a completely new perspective. After touring the park, a delicious meal was enjoyed at Portillo’s, and everyone went home with complete satisfaction – and also completely full stomachs.
Last year, our troop got into into the holiday spirit with several festive events, including the annual Troop 669 Christmas Party, taking part in the annual Escondido Christmas Parade, and a very special Peace Light Ceremony (Not annual, but getting there!). At the party, everyone agreed the most festive event was the game of white elephant, where gifts were given, stolen, and generally under fifteen dollars. During the parade, our troop not only marched with the American flag but also used intense marketing strategies to sell streamers to the attendees – one of the troop’s biggest fundraisers of the year. Finally, our troop got to take home part of a flame brought to Escondido all the way from Bethlehem. Overall, 2019 was a great year for our troop, and 2020 is expected to be even better.
A few weeks ago, our troop ventured to Needles, Arizona to go canoeing on the Colorado River. Spread out across six canoes, the scouts went 12 total miles and saw several trains along the way. But, according to one scout, the best part of the trip wasn’t just canoeing, scouts also hiked in Joshua Tree National Park, and even saw the bridge of Nursery Rhyme fame itself, London Bridge. “The best part was when we took a break from canoeing and went swimming,” the scout recalled. “I can’t wait to go again.”
On a recent Saturday, scouts got together at Scoutmaster Hernandez’s house for a fun-filled event- Jamboree Over The Air/Internet. Through the radio as well as an internet chat room, scouts in our troop talked to scouts from Norway, Mexico, England, Poland, Indonesia, Egypt, China, and Canada. “Basically, we got onto the laptops and went on to a sponsored chat page and talked to someone,” One scout explained. “We got to know their names and just chat. It was really fun.”
Last Weekend, our troop helped out the Escondido Community by participating in two Veteran-related events- The Veterans Resource Riot and the first ever Escondido Annual Veterans Day Parade. At the riot, scouts helped veterans get the support they needed by setting up displays, making paper flowers, and taking down the event. It was no easy feat, either- the scouts were there for over five hours! At the parade, scouts carried a giant flag down and up Grand Avenue and even volunteered to walk two service dogs in training. “It felt great to help out the community,” One scout said excitedly.
Last Monday, our troop had a spooky time celebrating Halloween with our annual Halloween Party. Scouts and Weblos alike participating in fun activities such as a Pumpkin Carving Contest, Weird Food Contest, Costume Contest, and even got to venture inside a haunted house. “The haunted house was amazing,” One scout said. “I was very impressed.”
Fun. Amazing. Aggressive. These are all words scouts used to describe the Camporee our troop attended last weekend, where activities ranged from battle axe tossing to a sword fight. Campers also got to participate in archery, the sheath toss, and watch a movie. However, most scouts agreed that the sword fight was the best part of the fun-filled weekend. “We got to make our own swords, and then fight with them,” one scout excitedly explained. “It was really cool.”