Leaf Raking Season is Upon Us!

Leaf Raking is one of the biggest fundraisers Simsbury Boy Scout Troop 174 holds every year. The money the scouts earn from cleaning yards helps the boys pay for annual dues, camping equipment, various trips, summer camps, and other activities.

This year, the event will happen on the weekend of November 18. If you’re interested in having your yard cleaned, please contact Mike Cole to find out more. Please note that spaces are limited, and this event is “first come, first served”, so contact Mike soon!

Simsbury Boy Scout Troop 174 Trek Through New Mexico Wilderness

New Mexico, 2016
From left to right: Jim Wielebnicki (Advisor), Tom Mylander (Advisor), Bob Beckius (Advisor), Kyle Beckius, Marshall Sornborger, Andrew Mylander, Myles Sornborger, Matt Locandro, Alex Wielebnicki, Nate Sornborger (Advisor), Dade Crofton and Nick Beckius

A crew of 12 teenage Boy Scouts from Simsbury and their leaders went on a life changing summer trek in early August through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. Philmont covers 214 square miles of vast wilderness with trails that climb from 6,500 feet to as high as 12,441. During their trek Boy Scout Troop #174, who meet at Simsbury Methodist Church hiked 88 miles over 12 days.

The Scouts and their advisors carried everything they needed to survive during the trek on their backs while hiking from camp to camp. They participated in backcountry programs along the way including horseback riding, panning for gold, log splitting, and firing muzzle loading rifles. The troop even had the assistance of a burro on the last day which they named “John”. The trek included a conservation project where the Scouts helped build a future hiking trail. Over the course of two weeks Scouts endured tough challenges including backpacking in bear and mountain lion territory, steeps climbs and inclement weather every day with lightening and even hail.

The crew made what amounts to a Scouting pilgrimage with their trip to Philmont. Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America’s premier high adventure camp and the largest youth camp in the world serving nearly one million participants since 1938.

Original article from the Hartford Courant, by Jim Roberts.

Eagle Scout Honored by FOCUS Center for Autism

Alexander Boon van Ostade
Alexander Boon van Ostade and his parents, Dorien (right) and Adrien (left).

Alexander Boon van Ostade knows the meaning of hard work. Boon van Ostade, a member of Simsbury Boy Scout Troop 174, stepped out of his comfort zone for his Eagle Scout project and built a set of custom cabinetry for FOCUS Center for Autism’s “Lego room”; a highly utilized activity room that was in need of renovation.

With the help of his mentor John Veldman and support from the Simsbury-Granby Rotary Club, Boon van Ostade built the cabinets, painted the walls of the “Lego Room”, and brought in the cabinets. He also raised $750 for FOCUS to use to purchase supplies. To thank him for his efforts, FOCUS honored Boon van Ostade and his family and friends at a “Thank You” dinner on March 4th. At the event, the Boon van Ostade’s surprised FOCUS with a very unexpected gift.

“As you know, we are Dutch, and when we saw this room it reminded us of something,” Dorien Boon van Ostade, mother of Alexander, began. She presented Executive Director Donna Swanson with a picture of van Gogh’s “The Room”, a gift that was much appreciated by all.

Alexander Boon van Ostade is a senior at Simsbury High School, and is the youngest of three siblings. His older brothers, Maurits and Jan Willem, also became Eagle Scouts through Troop 174. He hopes to major in business in college.

FOCUS Center for Autism is a grassroots, community based nonprofit whose mission is to help children, adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders reach their full potential by providing clinical programming, community education and family support. For more information, visit www.focuscenterforautism.org

Original Article from FOCUS center for Autism, by Colleen Burns.

Boy Scout Troop 174 Continues Tree Tradition

Trees being sold in front of First Church.

Since the early 1980s Christmas tree sales have helped local scouts enjoy the outdoors.

Once again this year members of Boy Scout Troop 174 are selling Balsam Firs in front of the old scout hall and meeting house at First Church of Christ on Hopmeadow Street every evening and weekend days from now until Christmas. (or until they’re sold out).

“It’s a great fundraiser,” said Assistant Scoutmaster Don Eaton. “It covers the expenses for the troop.”

Specifically scouts and family members get the chance to work at the sale and earn an hourly wage that’s placed into an escrow account. Scouts are then able to use those funds to pay for things like scout camps, trips or even equipment, as long as it’s for outdoor activities.

“It’s a nice incentive,” Eaton said.

Eaton said Troop 176 began selling trees in front of the old scout hall and meetinghouse at First Church of Christ in 1983. When it merged with Troop 174 in the early 2000s, the tradition continued.

This year the troop purchased some 429 Balsam Firs from Novia Scotia. About half have been sold. Prices start at $30 and range up to $70.

Sale hours are 6 to 8 p.m. during the week, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The location is across from the Fitzgerald’s Plaza near the intersection of Route 10 and West Street.

Original article by John Fitts, Simsbury Patch staff writer.