Troop 501 Eagle Scouts

Andrew Jackson - 2011

Project: Recycle Bins at the World Bird Sanctuary

William "Billy" John Fisher, III - 2012

Project: Fire Truck Reading Center at Arnold Branch Library

Christopher "Blake" Hufford - 2013

Project: Flag Pole Installation and Beautification Project at New Hope United Methodist Church

Paul Morton Claeys - 2013

Project: Playground Renovation and Update; Construction and Installation of Benches at New Hope United Methodist Church's Preschool

Drew Vitello - 2014

Project: Development and Installation of interactive, 3-D, educational playground mural at New Hope United Methodist Church's Preschool

Backpacking Adventure Through Time

This weekend’s backpacking trip at Washington State Park was absolutely incredible, and awesome on so many levels, at once! A small crew of two Scouts and two leaders set out for a weekend of hiking and camping in the wilderness of the Ozark foothills. At Washington State Park, our crew was treated to the natural wonders of Missouri Hardwood forest, as well as glades, and spectacular vistas above the Big River Valley…

In 1933, during the Great Depression, nearly 16 million people were unemployed in the United States. President Franklin D. Roosevelt formed the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to put people back to work. Unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 25 could join the CCC. They were paid $30 per month, but sent $25 home to their families. The workers ate and lived at the camps where they worked. These young men built roads, trails, bridges, entrance gates, shelters, bathhouses, cabins, and many other buildings and features in state parks. These structures used native stone and rough hewn timbers to create a distinctive, rustic style that is still recognized, today. Their buildings now serve as signature pieces in Missouri state parks. The Civilian Conservation Corps Company #1743 came to Washington State Park in May 1934. This was the only African American CCC company to work in Missouri state parks. From 7 am to 4:30 pm each day, the men worked on projects like road and building construction. Each CCC camp was named to reflect something significant about their park. Washington State Park was created to preserve the ancient Indian petroglyphs found there. One image that appears repeatedly in the rock carvings is the thunderbird. CCC Co 1734 named their camp “Camp Thunderbird” in recognition of the petroglyphs. In 1939, CCC Co 1734 transferred to Mark Twain State Park, near Florida, Missouri. During the five years the company was at Washington State Park, they produced 14 buildings, the 1,000 Steps Trail, 22 road culverts, and many walls, paths, and curbs along the park road. The high quality craftsmanship earned the park recognition in the National Register of Historic Places.

2013-11-10 11.26.06CCC Co. 1734’s Camp Thunderbird barracks, shown above in an historic photograph, now in ruins, became the off-trail campsite for our crew of backpackers, following a fairly grueling day on the trail – climbing steep hills, straight-up, over loose scree; over leaf-littered trails covering loose, ankle-turning rocks; sparsely blazed paths; a hill with “1,000” hand-carved and lain steps; and a water-boil order for any park-provided water sources (only in improved areas, not on the trails), with packs fully laden with provisions, tentage, supplies, equipment, clothing for a Missouri November weekend, and approximately 2 gallons of water, each.

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While it felt great to get those packs off, eat a hearty supper, and enjoy fellowship around the hearth that joined others before us, the views and vistas that we experienced, as well as the camaraderie that we shared made it worth the pains we all endured, diminishing and dismissing them as minor discomforts…

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Backpacking for over 10 miles on the two-day adventure (eight of which were covered in one day), this novice crew, never having backpacked overnight, with the exception of one, and he not as long, grew closer together. They formed stronger ties of brotherhood, and grew in companionship. They packed together. They struggled together. They rested together. They laughed together. They conquered. Together.

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