Members of Boy Scout Troop 417, chartered to the First United Methodist Church in Park Hills, recently returned from their annual Summer Camp trip, which this year took them to Camp Sunnen, west of Potosi.
Eleven Boy Scouts, along with four Boy Scout leaders, spent a week at the camp, which is operated by the Lewis and Clark Council of the Boy Scouts of America, based in Belleville, Illinois. The Summer Camp, during the third week in July, experienced unseasonably cooler temperatures after a rainy downpour Sunday night, the evening of their arrival. The temperatures made the week of camping an enjoyable experience for all, allowing for some nice camp fires in the morning and evening hours when the temperatures would sometimes drop into the 50s.
The Boy Scouts completed work on 39 merit badges between them that week in various fields including Camping, Swimming, Pioneering, Small-Boat Sailing, Environmental Science, Forestry, Mammal Study, Citizenship in the World, and Geocaching.
The hunt for merit badges was not the only thing on these campers’ minds, as they were able to create a portion of their own program by having daily time to go free range and set a unique experience for themselves.
Among the activities offered were Stand Up Paddleboarding, the Mud Cave, Rifle and Shotgun Shooting along with Archery, Chess, Basketry, Fingerprinting, and Metalworking. A highlight of the week was the Order of the Arrow Call-Out Ceremony, held on Thursday night, when families were allowed to visit their Scouts. One Boy Scout, Alek Barrington, was called to be inducted into the Order of the Arrow, along with his father, John Barrington. The Order of the Arrow is that National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America and is reserved for Boy Scouts that have fulfilled camping and rank requirements along with being elected by their peers.
Even though Boy Scout Troop 417 is a part of the Greater St. Louis Area Council occasionally they seek to expand their Scouts’ experiences by visiting Camps outside their own council.
Even though Camp Sunnen is only 30 miles away, the camping experience is quite different from what most of the campers are used to. Attending Summer Camp this year were Zackary Aubuchon, Logan Bader, Alek Barrington, Logan Comfort, Samuel Heimes, William Lucy, Austin Northcutt, and Caleb Williford with Jacob Bannister and Kwinton Burnett serving as Patrol Leaders and Caleb Barry serving as Senior Patrol Leader of the Troop. Adult Leadership in camp was provided by Assistant Scoutmasters John Barrington, Tony Barry, Scott Comfort and Scoutmaster Gene Bannister.
Camp Sunnen was established in 1951 and has been operating as a Boy Scout Camp since 1953. It was established by the Sunnen Family and in 1973 the land was donated by the family to the Boy Scouts of America. Boy Scout Troop 417 has been in existence for the past 88 years and has been chartered to the Methodist Church since 1944. They meet every Monday night at 7 p.m. in the basement of the First United Methodist Church on Taylor Avenue. Anyone interesting in joining or volunteering with the Boy Scouts can search for a unit on BeAScout.org or can call Ozark Trailblazers District Executive John Wright at 573-934-0387.