MORRIS COUNTY — Chatham Troop 8 has a long storied history in the community, and it has been offering great youth programs for more than a century. It was founded in 1916, only six years after the founding of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The BSA’s stated mission is to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” The leadership at Troop 8 has instilled that same drive in our Scouts, with a focus on community service and charitable giving through service projects by our Scouts across the community. Troop 8 Scouts also participate in a number of high adventure trips, like our upcoming Sea Base Bahamas in April 2021.
The Scouting Method instills responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and programs in partnership with community organizations. Of the outdoor activities, the BSA has four high-adventure bases: Northern Tier (Minnesota, Manitoba, and Ontario), Philmont Scout Ranch (New Mexico), Sea Base (Florida, US Virgin Islands, and Bahamas), and Summit Bechtel Reserve (West Virginia), as well as nearly 100 separate camps and reservations specifically dedicated to Scouts. All Scouts participating in high adventure must achieve the rank of First Class, and be at least 13 years old.
Our April Sea Base Adventure is a 5-day live-aboard SCUBA diving trip sailing around the Bahamas Islands. Our Troop 8 crew includes 12 Scouts and 9 adult leaders, and the Scouts have been doing fundraisers and service projects as a team, since planning this adventure back in the Fall of 2019. Many of the Scouts and adult leaders also needed to earn their PADI Open Diver certification, and the training was completed by Capt. Mike’s Diving on City Island NY. During the weekend of our open water training dives, Troop 8 Scouts cleaned the City Island beach we were diving from on September 26 and 27. We also planned to participate in another community service project on City Island in October 2020, counting shellfish beds, but a COVID outbreak among the City Island divers prevented our inclusion.
COVID has caused the Scouts to pivot from more common service projects and fundraisers, due to social distancing requirements. Our Scouts sold luminaries during the holidays, and they had a Car Wash fundraiser in the Fall that worked well with social distancing. One of the dads suggested having a Shred-It event as a great social distancing option. Our first one on January 30 was such a success, that we decided to have another on March 13, less than three weeks before we depart for the Bahamas on April 2, 2021. With some of the funds raised during these programs, we plan to assist the 13th Bahamas Scout Group in Nassau with donations of money, equipment and also hope to complete a service project in Nassau during our visit.
As our high adventure trip draws closer, the Scouts are becoming more thrilled every day. They have been working very hard to meet rank requirements, achieve fundraising goals, and we are very proud of this group of Scouts. Chatham Troop 8 Scouts and Leaders exemplify community service, and we hope to bring that same level of commitment to the people of the Bahamas. With our final Shred-It Fundraiser Event on March 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Ogden Church, 286 Main Street, Chatham. We hope to have a great finish on this journey. Please help support our outstanding crew of Troop 8 Scouts on their high adventure trip, and help the Scouts bring that community service ethos to the people of the Bahamas. The leaders at Troop 8 strive to instill that mindset into our Scouts every day, and our goal is to always leave a positive mark on the people and places we visit.