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Bradley Street, a Boy Scout with JBER’s Troop 504, ties a figure eight in his belay line before climbing Tazlina rock face at Camp Gorsuch, near Chugiak, Alaska. Boy Scouts go to camp each summer to learn scouting skills as well as critical thinking and teamwork, which can offer dividends throughout life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ross Whitley)
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Posted 7/26/2012   Updated 7/26/2012 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Ross A. Whitley
JBER Public Affairs

7/26/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMNEDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- "Scouting teaches boys responsibility and basic skills on adulthood, it gives them a head start to growing up to be independent young men who can be self reliant and self responsible" said Boy Scout Troop 190 Scoutmaster Wes Raley.

JBER Boy Scout Troop 190 and Troop 504 traveled to Gorsuch Boy Scout Summer Camp July 15 for a weeklong trip in the woods to help Scouts become, as Raley says, "independent young men." While the scouts won't be completely independent by the end of the week, they will be a little closer to reaching that goal.

The Scouts gathered outside the commissary parking lot on a dreary Sunday morning before loading up in vehicles and heading to Gorsuch summer camp, where they checked in for their week of fun and excitement. When they arrived at camp the Scouts set up their tents and found out where their merit badge classes would be. The Scouts had a variety of activities and events planned throughout the week.

"A lot of the activities go towards a particular skill set," Raley said. "First aid teaches the Scouts what to do in an emergency situation like for bee stings, burns, broken bones, stuff like that; how to do CPR. It teaches self reliance and general everyday skills."
Each department at camp has a different focus and the Scouts chose what they are most interested in. The waterfront of Mirror Lake is where the scouts learn about water-related merit badges like canoeing, kayaking, lifesaving, and swimming.

Scoutcraft is where Scouts learn about different scouting skills like map reading and lashings - for example, making tripods and towel racks.

The climbing and the Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience areas give Scouts the chance to climb a rock face or face their fears and learn to work together in a group on the COPE course.

"I think that they do it to learn the skill, but they learn it in a very hands-on and very direct environment," Raley said. "It appeals to a lot of young men who are very kinetic learners."
By Friday, the Scouts had learned new camp songs and earned merit badges they can sew on their sashes, and the summer camp was well worth it, Raley said.

"Boys can go to achieve personal goals and also to do new and exciting things," Raley said. "Going with Troop 190, it was an awesome experience to watch them develop, watch them make decisions, and watch them lead themselves where they wanted to go."

8/1/2012 11:44:14 AM ET
I was a Boy Scout for seven years. I learned more from those experiences that I still use in my daily life than most people learn as adults. From camping to knot tying to wilderness survival to canoeing to leadership to commitment being a Boy Scout changed my life. Please encourage your sons to find an active troop and join
MSgt Brian Jewell, JBER AK
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