Leaving the real world behind to explore vast stretches of untamed wilderness is often a once in a lifetime opportunity. For one group of our Scouts, this opportunity came with a trip to Northern Tier, the BSA’s High Adventure Canoe Base in the wetlands of Northern Minnesota.
Every year since 2017, the Heart of America Council has sent crews of Scouts through the Northern Tier ScoutReach Program to help deliver the promise of Scouting to those who might not have otherwise attended a high adventure. A total of two crews composed of 11 youth from seven different Scouts BSA and Venturing units across the Council participated in this year’s trek.
“Going into it, I didn’t know what to expect. From the small towns, the wilderness, the leadership responsibilities, and an environment I’ve never been to before,” Jade C., one of the youth crew leaders said.
Despite not knowing what to expect, these crews were well prepared. Preparations included a combination of in-person and virtual training sessions that ranged from cooking and canoe training to route planning and more.
The crews arrived at Northern Tier in late July to embarked on their canoeing journey. The Scouts put their training to the test having to hang bear bags, navigate from lake to lake through portages, and enjoying an occasional swim here and there. In total, the crews recorded 54 and 56 miles of canoeing and portaging.
The Scouts also left the trip with a minimum of two, but in some cases as many as five, special Scouting awards, including the BSA 50-Miler Award, BSA Historic Trails Award, Northern Tier Trail to Courage Award, Duty to God, Lake Monitoring Award, and the Canoeing Merit Badge.
But these Scouts took home more than awards.
“This trip has changed the way I think and potentially influenced my future.” Jade said, “I’ve decided to do what I want and go into environmental engineering thanks to this unique adventure and connection to nature.”
For Jade, and the rest of the Scouts, this life changing trip helped deliver the promise of Scouting, adventure and character growth in the great outdoors!
For more information, including eligibility and 2022 Program Requirements, please contact the Heart of America Council Northern Tier Ambassador Dan Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (816) 560-9582.