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#1 318scouter

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 06:01 PM

I am looking to plan a high adventure trip for a Boy Scout troop, summer 2018 (15-20  First Class and above scouts).

Does anyone have a template that could help me in my planning?

What items can anyone suggest that I consider when planning?

     Travel costs,  Food costs,  Equipment costs...

 

 

I would like to provide our committee 3 options: 1) Alaska $$$$$,  2) Grand Canyon $$$ and 3) ??? $$.

 

Has anyone been to the Minnesota Boundary Waters?

   Can anyone suggest an outfitter for the Boundary Waters?

 

Thanks in advance for your help.

 

318Scouter


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#2 Stosh

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 07:56 PM

First of all, welcome to the forum!

 

I have been to the BWCA a number of times, but never used an outfitter.  Unless one has an experienced person to help on the float, I would start by making calls to the various outfitters for advice and prices.  They would have the latest and greatest.  Expect to pay a bit more for the service.  Figure in cost of food, maps, etc, all the things the outfitter recommends and just used an Excel type spreadsheet to figure out expenses.  Price of gas at the time, be generous, travel during tourist season is always an ify factor, but expect to pay more than what's on the pumps now.  Contact the local scout troops/council in the area to get the prices on that and use Google maps to figure out distances. 

 

Basically , start asking questions, lots of questions.  Keep it in mind that permits are limited for each entry point and you will need to have a permit for each group of nine people.  These groups cannot travel together, nor can they camp together in the same site.  9 people to each site is maximum.

 

Not only should the boys have First Class, I would recommend First Aid, Swimming, and Canoeing MB's under their belt.  You'll need a Wilderness First Aid person with each group of 9.

 

Hearsay of those doing Alaska (my wife used to live in Alaska) is not very good.  One of our troops in the area contacted an Alaskan Council to take the boys up there, but they were not very helpful and the troop didn't go.  If you know of someone who knows the area, that will be a big help.  Unless one is flying in or taking the inland ferry, you will also need to know Canadian/US border crossing issues and each boy will need a passport.  Gas is a lot more expensive in Canada and the exchange rate changes on a daily basis so planning that far out could pose a problem for judging fuel expense until the last minute.

 

If one has not had experience doing high adventure, it might bode well to try a lesser strenuous trek.  Isle Royale is nice as is the Appalachian Trail.   There are a number of less frequented trails as well such as the Centennial Trail and the Ice Age trail.  For the boys who want a high adventure/summer camp experience, there's Wyoming's BSA Camp Buffalo Bill located 6 miles outside of Yellowstone National Park's East Entrance.  Very nice, but get your reservations in early the camp fills up fast! 

 

Decide what kind of trek/float you wish to do then start making contact with the locals with all your questions.  They will be the best ones with the latest and greatest information.  One may wish to contact a local troop (Be a Scout website will ID them for you) and propose an exchange.  They host your troop in say Alaska and in return, your troop hosts them for a high adventure down here in the lower 48.


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#3 resqman

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:01 PM

Your request seems a bit overwhelming. 

 

If you look at the National High adventure bases, they limit the number of scouts on a single trek to usually not more than about 12.  That usually also includes 2 adults so only about 10 boys.   Moving 15-20 people is much more challenging and hard on the environment.  

 

National Bases have a minimum age limit of 14.  That has to do with a number of issues but simple things like the lads need to be physically large enough and durable enough to handle the pack or canoe weight and still be able to cover 5-10 miles a day for week to 10 days.  As a troop, you can impose other limits like minimum rank, earned specific merit badges, etc. 

 

Costs vary considerably depending on where you start and where you go.  Living in Minnesota and traveling to the Boundary Waters is much less travel complication and costs than say if you lived in Texas.   

 

Size of group also effects travel costs.  Moving a group of 12 by renting a large passenger van is easier than moving 20.  You split up the group so ideally it would be nice to have 4 adults, 2 to each vehicle.  But 20 might be able to rent a small bus.  Trade offs in cost and convenience.  

 

Food costs during travel are different than food costs while treking.  Food costs while traveling is going to typically be restaurants while treking is likely to be more store bought food and cooking fuels.  

 

Equipment costs can be broken down in to group gear and personal gear.  Some group gear can be rented near the HA location while some should probably be aquired prior to leaving.  A group first aid kit makes sense to buy/build prior to leaving.  Renting canoes at the trek location makes more sense.  Stoves might make sense to buy ahead but purchase fuel locally to make travel easier.  

 

Alaska and Grand Canyon are very diverse locations.  Winter camping is very different from dessert travel.  I would think that a location relatively close to your local would be an easier trip to plan as your first.   Here on the East coast, a week on the Appalachian trail would be a good trial trip.  2 day drive to trail head, week on the trail, bus/rental van back to cars and drive home.  Backpacking is a common enough activity that food costs can be closely figured.  

 

Your post does not state where you are located.  


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#4 NJCubScouter

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:56 PM

His profile says he is in Ohio.
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#5 qwazse

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 10:10 PM

....

I would like to provide our committee 3 options: 1) Alaska $$$$$,  2) Grand Canyon $$$ and 3) ??? $$.

...

Welcome to the forum!

I would like you to consider that your are having the tail wag the dog here.

The best people to choose their adventure are the scouts.

The best people to determine the budget cap are scouts and parents.

 

Now, the committee, if they are doing a good job of hearing from your parents, might have that budget in mind. So, if I were you, I would ask them how many dollars max they would want to see their older boys spend on an adventure next year.  Then ask them for the go-ahead to have your lead boys brainstorm about the adventures they could do given that budget.

 

Then with that financial constraint, the responsibility for developing and presenting the plan for adventure is on the SPL, or maybe your JASM, or your scout who is rallying for some big-ticket scouting. You can certainly tell the boys what you've learned from strangers on the internet. :rolleyes: But also tell them to crack open back-issues of Boy's Life (including looking at ads in the back of the magazine) and the Boy Scout Field book to see if anything there interests them.

 

Frankly, if you don't have a boy or two who are willing to do this "vision casting" work, your time would be better spent having them  plan local patrol-based outings on extended weekends (or a few days mid-week) throughout the summer. Don't go any place further than a four hour drive away. I've found more plans for adventure that boys really want to do come about from spending enough time camping together that they grow a mutual vision for their next "big ticket" scouting.

 

The real cost of these things, is the weekends needed in advance for preparation. So the committee has to be prepared to support the troop as the boys spend the necessary time training. They are either training for a specific adventure, or they are training for when they decide what their big trip will be.


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#6 rfd536

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 06:12 AM

Our troop does a high adventure trip every other year.  They start planning the next one about 6 months after they return from one.  They invite all boys who will be eligible for the adventure to a meeting to decide what they want to do, as far as backpacking, cycling or canoeing.  Our only restriction is that they must be 1st class, but reserve the right to exclude anyone who does not attend the shake down trips or fails to complete them. We do a min. of 3 shake-down trips to make sure check the boys readiness, make sure their gear works for them. Once they decide that they are asked to go home a research where they might want to go.  The next meeting is then used to determine a location and elect a SPL for the adventure.    My boys have gone on 2 high adventures with the troop.  The first was to South Dakota, they hiked the Centennial Trial, went to Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, stayed in the Badlands and did a couple of other things on the way out and back from MI.  The cost per person for the 10 day  trip was $200, to cover travel, camping, food and entrance fees.  They boys were responsible for their own personal gear.  We are lucky in that most of our adults are into backpacking and could supply the stoves and water filters needed from of their own personal gear.   This past summer they took a group of 20 two Isle Royale for 8 days. Restrictions on the island, made it so that they had to split into 2 groups because you can only travel in groups of no more than 10 on the island.  This trip cost each person $250, approximately $100 of which was for the ferry to the island.   Our troop tries to keep the cost down; due to the fact, we are in an area with high poverty rates and most of our families can’t afford to spend large amounts of money on the trip. 

Tips for keeping the cost down, reach out to others in your scouting community and family and friends of members of your troop and your charter organization.  On both trips our troop was provided a free place to stay on the way out and or back from the trip due to connections that someone had.  They have stayed at a pastor’s farm, a family vacation cabin, and a campground owned by an eagle scout.  If backpacking, learn to dehydrate your own food, buying the prepackaged meals is expensive for a large group.  Check with the places you plan to attend and see if they offer discounts for scouts.  I believe they could get into Mt. Rushmore for free if they were in uniform.

The committee will help with fundraising ideas and arrangements, but it is up to the boys attending on the trip to do the work of the fundraiser.  The committee doesn’t put a restriction on where the boys can go or how much is spent.  That is up to the adults in charge of the trip, the boys and their families. 

If this is something you troop plans to make an ongoing event, keep records of cost, where they went and what was done on each trip.  We just had a long time assistant scoutmaster turn in his records of previous high adventure trips the troop had done.  While some of them are 20 plus years old, it gives the boys some fresh ideas of what can be done.


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#7 jjlash

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:11 AM

Welcome to the campfire 318scouter.  It sounds like you are excited and wanting to get a jump on things but I agree with qwazse - the ideas and motivation need to come from the Scouts.  

 

I have found the best trips, the ones that have the highest attendance and best commitment, are the ones where a Scout has an idea (maybe some place he saw on TV or something that was mentioned in school), he does some research and a little presentation and he convinces the other guys that it would be a fun trip.  Sometimes he doesnt convince them the first year so he brings it back the next year and works a little harder.  We had that happen for an Isle Royale trip in 2015 - it took one Scout two years of selling to get the other guys on board.  

 

Once they have some ideas, I find it helps to ask them lots of questions - especially "Why?".  Why do they want to go to Alaska or the Grand Canyon?  This helps to define "what" they want to do.  Do they want to go to Alaska and catch salmon or pan gold or climb Denali?  Do they want to stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon or hike to the bottom or raft the entire length?  Or do they want to go do the tourist thing - museums and guided tours and motels and restaurants?  Then the real guiding questions - are they willing to do the training and to raise the money and to make the plans for whatever type trip they want?


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#8 qwazse

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:49 AM

FWIW, as a crew advisor, I keep with me for youth to read in their down time:

  • The Venturing Handbook
  • One or two back issues of Scouter magazine.
  • A collection of maps and brochures of state/national parks.
  • One or two other books or hiking guides, as space in the car allows.
  • The occasional flyer and business cards from trainers and outfitters I've met along the eastern seaboard.

It's pretty random. And I also model the behavior of looking at brochures and maps at rest stops.

And ... talking to strangers. A good story from a local or from a former scout sometimes does more to solidify a vision than a dozen pamphlets.


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#9 NJCubScouter

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:47 AM

...dessert travel.  

 

That's a trip I have been on too many times.  (As opposed to desert travel.)    :)


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#10 Col. Flagg

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:36 AM

I am looking to plan a high adventure trip for a Boy Scout troop, summer 2018 (15-20  First Class and above scouts).

Does anyone have a template that could help me in my planning?

What items can anyone suggest that I consider when planning?

     Travel costs,  Food costs,  Equipment costs...

 

Start with:

  • Read the BSA Sweet Sixteen and Age Appropriate Guidelines.
  • Make sure your adults and Scouts are trained. Adults will need first aid, WFRA and CPR. If you break up in to crews you will need two per crew. Make sure adults have all the optional online BSA training so they know weather, safe swim and safety afloat.
  • You need to staff with proper adult:Scout ratios.
  • Everyone needs proper gear.
  • Everyone needs to be in shape.

To be honest, you need a lot more help than you can get here and, frankly, not something you can do by googling or getting online help. If you've never done such a trek you need someone to sit down and walk you through all of the planning. You need someone who has done this before to spend HOURS with you so you can learn how to do this properly.

 

Try your district or council, local outfitter or REI.


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#11 JosephMD

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:10 AM

In the NCAC, we have an awesome training course called Back Country Outdoor Leader Skills.  BCOLS.  I really wish that was available to all. 


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#12 Col. Flagg

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:27 AM

National Camping School training is good for some stuff like shooting sports, treks and COPE.

 

https://www.ncsbsa.o...17 Brochure.pdf

 

NOLS is great for everything else.

 

https://www.nols.edu.../course_search/


Edited by Col. Flagg, 20 March 2017 - 11:29 AM.

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#13 SSScout

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:02 AM

Great Allegheny Passage :   (it's all down hill !)  hike or bike.   280 plus miles....  https://gaptrail.org/   lots of history. hostels and campgrounds along the way.  Go off trail to replenish. 

 

Appalachian Trail:   Maine to Georgia, take your pick.   http://www.appalachiantrail.org/  use their maps, the best.  90% in the woods.  And you might want to see "A Walk In The Woods"   and the AT in 5 minutes:  The Green Tunnel = https://vimeo.com/20218520

 

Real Adventure?   Habla espaniol?    Look to the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain.  

 

Canoe/kayak/  the Allagash in Maine    http://www.maine.gov...onditions.shtml

 

Or closer to home:  Little Miami comes to mind:   http://www.ohio.org/...kayak-and-canoe

 

Like the man said,   don't TAKE the scouts, let them LEAD YOU to the adventure !


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#14 fred johnson

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:49 AM

Does anyone have a template that could help me in my planning?

What items can anyone suggest that I consider when planning?

     Travel costs,  Food costs,  Equipment costs...

 

Personally, I think it would be more efficient for you to create planning format.  It's hard to have a template as the different type of adventures mean very different plans.  I always start with a concept with activities, a travel plan, schedule plan and a budget listing the major hitters and their risk.  
 
Include cost risk: planned cost, lowest possible cost and highest probable.  For example, airfare can be planned at $400, but you might get lucky and hit $300 or get unlucky and only find $800 tickets.  I do the same for food, events.
 
Include pricing $$ for unplanned costs.  Shirts.  Patches.  etc.
 
Include a payment schedule that targets somewhere between your planned ahd highest probable.
 
Include a plan for what would be done with extra money?  Refunded direct?  Troop.  
 
Include how you would select which scouts go:  Age then rank?  Active in the troop?  Other? 
Include how you would select which adults go:  Position?  Camping?  Other?
 
Include how do you minimize adults and maximize scouts attending?

Edited by fred johnson, 21 March 2017 - 09:50 AM.

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#15 KenD500

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 12:06 PM

The BSA has a guidebook for planning/executing High Adventure treks.  link

 

In the past, I've taken 50 Scouts & adults into the BWCWA.  We split into 7 seperate crews of no more than 9 each.  We used North Country Canoe Outfitters and I highly recommend them.  Link


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#16 CricketEagle

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 08:44 PM

I have used both the Northern Tier base and a private outfitter for boundary waters and Quetico. Prices are similar when you dig into it, however the private outfitter may have more options on payments, reducing your troop's financial risk. 

 

BSA has set fee schedules largely based on a "crew", so if you have a small crew you in effect pay more. In addition you must up front a lot of money. Having been around to see scouts back out and stick the troop for money this "risk" should be part of the consideration. 

 

With the private outfitter we had more options on payments, and most of it was delayed until close to the trip date. A northern tier type trip is also attractive as you do not need much gear. Outfitters can supply most of this. Big backpack trips typically mean expensive gear. I love them, but they are not for everyone.

 

Northern tier will provide you with a guide. If your group leaders are not comfortable in the wilderness this is a strong plus. However, in my experience the northern tier guides tend to get into a competition with the other guides. Bragging rights as to who can paddle hundreds of miles. This is often not in the scouts best interest. 

 

If you have adults and youth that are comfortable and can navigate private outfitters our an option. You can rent sat phones for cheap as a backup. 

 

Bottom line from Ohio transportation costs will be roughly half your trip costs. Last time I used "North Country outfitters". Owner is a former scout leader. I would use them again. They will send you a packet with all the planning info if contact them. Very helpful. Hard to compare costs, there are so many options on the length of trip and gear upgrades. Also the Canadian's charge a lot now to enter Quetico.

 

Out west trips....again most your cost is in transportation..however packs, boots and a good bag set you back a lot.

 

FYI, I just received a memo from the forest service out west as I was applying for a back country permit in Wyoming. Looks like another group of scouts/adult leaders broke some serious wilderness rules again in 2016, letter cited possible criminal violations. More people that should be purged from the organization.


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