Cameron Miley marveled at the antique mitts on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The game’s early days looked vastly different from today’s sport. No batting helmets; very few home runs; a handful of teams. And the gloves?
“They were like a piece of leather, and you put it on your hand,” the 16-year-old Life Scout says. “How basic everything was — I don’t understand how they played like that.”
The visit to Cooperstown, New York, capped off an exciting nine-day trip for Troop 701 of Strongsville, Ohio. For most of their journey, the Scouts explored the Berkshires, a scenic region of western Massachusetts. The trip featured culture, history and a whole lot of adventure.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
Each year, Troop 701 usually goes to summer camp and plans a week of high adventure. Sometimes, the Scouts head to one of the BSA’s high-adventure bases like Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico or Sea Base in Florida. Last summer, they decided to create their own adventure. But where would they go?
Past troop-led adventures had taken them to Maine, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This time, the Scouts had their sights set on the Berkshires.
“Compared with the other options, it had the biggest versatility of what we could do,” says Life Scout Jett Razek, 17.
This region, known for charming towns and cultural attractions set among rolling green mountains, also offers plenty of outdoor excitement, like zip lines.
The guys studied the attractions and penciled out what they wanted to do. Each day would feature something different. When you’re planning an itinerary, you have to think about everything: travel costs, menus, admission fees and activity prices.
The troop raised money by selling popcorn and rubber ducks for the local Rotary Club’s charity duck race. To stay thrifty, they booked stays at campgrounds instead of lodges or inns.
THE JOURNEY BEGINS
The first stop was New York’s Letchworth State Park, home to three major waterfalls — some as tall as 600 feet. They trekked about 6 miles, admiring the falls and the wildlife, which included hawks and deer.
The next day, it was on to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. “Contemporary art” refers to newer art produced in the later half of the 20th century or in the 21st century. These works might not fit within any artistic movement like impressionism or cubism. Artists are shaping their own styles, sometimes challenging their audiences to consider the art’s message. What do large, mangled balls of metal suspended in air say to you?
“There was odd stuff that you wouldn’t normally see,” says Life Scout Tommy Uhlir, 16.
On the third day, the Scouts went to Ramblewild, an adventure park with a high-ropes course and a zip line between trees.
“It was a nice physical challenge,” says Ty Worsencroft, 16, a Life Scout. “I had never done a high-ropes course.”
After Ramblewild, the Scouts returned to the trails. First, they went on a scenic 5-mile hike along the Hoosac Range Trail before tackling Mount Greylock the next day. At 3,491 feet, the mountain stands as the highest point in Massachusetts. It’s a 3-mile climb to the top, but the views are worth it: You can see for miles.
“You could see Vermont from one spot,” Jett says.
It was a literal high point in the trip, but the next stop proved to be the favorite for almost everybody.
At Berkshire East Mountain Resort, the guys spent a day riding zip lines — some more than 2,500 feet long and 200 feet in the air.
For some, these activities were new and a little intimidating. That’s when you remind yourself that a Scout is Brave.
“If you’re nervous about trying something, go and do it,” says Eagle Scout Caleb Sepesy, 15. “If you put your mind to it, you can do anything.”
That’s the attitude the Scouts took the next day on the Deerfield River as they went whitewater rafting.
“It was a big highlight for me,” says Eagle Scout Charles Miller, 17. “The river we were on had rapid after rapid after rapid. It was exhilarating.”
AN ADVENTURE TO REMEMBER
The Scouts had plenty of chances to skip activities if they were nervous about doing them. After all, the trip’s schedule was filled with so much to do.
But Eagle Scout Jacob Yee, 17, remembered the regret he felt after opting out of some activities during a trek a few years ago. This trip offered experiences he’d never tackled before, but he wanted to give them a try.
“You have to challenge yourself, push yourself,” Jacob says. “If I didn’t push myself, I’d be disappointed. I can accomplish these things; I pushed myself to do my best.”
Know Before You Go
When you’re planning a trip, keep the drive time in mind. Drivers need frequent breaks to stay alert. They cannot drive for hours upon hours. If possible, book public transportation like buses, trains or commercial airlines.
As your unit travels together, treat drivers respectfully and try not to distract them. Youth drivers are not allowed.
Direct your adult leaders to more transportation guidelines in the Guide to Safe Scouting.