It has long been tradition for Troop 334 to take a weeklong specialty summer camp trip about every three years. Usually we head out of state to non-scout commercial campgrounds in places like Canada, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia (AKA National Lampoon Boy Scout outing) that is a story for another day and the instate exception of Pittsburgh, which sadly some of our scouts thought was another state! During that week we try to learn while having fun and making unforgettable memories. We like to introduce the scouts to the wider world around them, while maintaining the average summer Boy Scout camp costs. Usually, a trip is built around one point of interest, like an aerospace center; historical site; or some cool sightseeing attraction. From there we consider planes, trains, automobiles and other forms of transportation, sports attractions, amusements, roadside oddities, and a visit to at least one campus of higher education.
We have slid down fireman poles, learned how to make French pot ice cream, saw behind the scenes of a secret invention company, learned about skunks, ridden the oldest wooden roller coaster on our coast and listened to stories about some of the worlds worst tragedies. We’ve also toured the campuses of prestigious universities like William and Mary, Harvard and University of Pittsburgh to name a few. We’ve sat in their classrooms, ate in their dining halls, picnicked on their lawns and interacted with many of their students. Some of our scouts have never been outside of Philadelphia, let alone to another state. Some have never been on a university campus or even know what different schools offer. We’ve experienced city colleges that look like office buildings and study halls that look like something from a Harry Potter movie. We’ve met students from big cities, small towns and other countries all living together in one space. More importantly, we have had scouts say: “Wow, this is a college I could go to?” “I didn’t know they offered that as a major, that’s cool” and “huh, maybe I want to go to college”.
This year we were heading to Boston after being invited to Emerson University for some hands-on time in their Communications and Media College and to tour places some of us have never been. With the worldwide pandemic hanging on strong Boy Scout Council determined the risk of touring, local or otherwise, to be too high, and we found ourselves in a recalculation of destination. We had hoped to divert our attention to our local council camp. Then, in the best interest of our scouts that went virtual. We were more than a little bummed at that as we recently learned one of our scouts who traveled to University of Pittsburgh with us had been accepted there for his coming freshman year. When speaking about it he said our tour had a small part in his decision to apply there! That, that right there is why we do what we do. UOP may never have been in consideration for this scout if he hadn’t experienced it firsthand. He may not have ever seen the amazing Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning, toured the campus with a Rhodes Scholar, or competed in a contest for school swag. So when we say we’re taking your scout on a college tour during our week, it will always be interesting somewhere along the way, it will always introduce them to something new and it may just be the start of some big dreams!
(to learn more about the newest Pittsburgh Panther check out the Scout in the Spotlight) https://scouting334.org/ranks/scout-in-the-spotlight-eagle-scout-kyle-ross/