By Faith Heaton Jolley KSL.com. (The Boy Scouts of America Communications Department was not involved in the creation of this content.)
SODA SPRINGS, Idaho — Eight years ago, a Boy Scouts of America troop set a goal to go on a campout each month to help improve the boys’ outdoor skills. In October, the troop will reach its 100th consecutive campout.
Lonnie Brown and Bob Ward were the scoutmasters of Troop 502 of Soda Springs, Idaho, from 2006 to 2009. Brown said when he became the scoutmaster, the young group of boys didn’t have many survival or camping skills.
“They couldn’t build fires. They couldn’t cook. They couldn’t put up tents,” he said.
Brown and Ward talked to the boys and created a goal to go on a campout each month as a troop so the boys could work on a new skill during each campout. The goal evolved and continued, with the troop now on its fourth group of Scouts since the tradition began.
In 2010, Ward died of a heart attack. Brown said the monthly campouts morphed into a tradition to honor Ward’s memory. Eight years later, the troop has continued the tradition of camping each month.
“The current troop is coming up on 100 months in a row of camping out, no matter what the weather has been,” Brown said. “It was interesting how it started though — they were terrible at camping.”
The troop has camped in many different areas, including the Caribou Mountains, 8-Mile Canyon, the Teton Mountains and Palisades Reservoir. Brown said the boys have gained a variety of outdoor skills from camping in every season, including negative 15 degree weather.
“It teaches a lot of teamwork and communication,” Brown said. “It’s made them survivors. It’s made them have a lot of self-confidence, and it’s made them good friends.”
Although Brown is no longer the scoutmaster, he said he still goes on several of the campouts each year and he has helped organize a centennial campout to celebrate the 100th month of consecutive camping. Brown said many of the former Boy Scouts are planning to come back to attend the campout on Oct. 3-4.
“I think it’s really great that these boys have all built such a great relationship and such a camaraderie and have learned so many skills about the outdoors,” Brown said. “I’ve been very proud of them.”