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Jeff to Retire as Committee Chair

Thank You to Jeff and Sherri Hunneshagen for your 12 + years of service to Troop 279 and your over 18 years of dedication to scouting.

Jeff has been the longest serving committee chairman in Troop 279 for over 10 years.
Please join us Monday at the meeting to say Thank You to the Hunneshagens!!
Tonight, we welcomed Brenda Kucker as the new Committee Chair. We look forward to working with you and you creating your own niche in this role.

Marmon Valley Farm January 2016

My first campout this scouting season was a good one.
Friday night I showed up just as night fell for our departure from the Eagles.  The rain was light and the temperature had warmed to about 40.  Not too bad for a midJanuary night.  We were off to Marmon Valley Farms before too long, and I was stoked.  Not least of which because this is a campsite that I knew how to get to without a map!
After a long week of school, the boys are often quiet and sleepy in the car, and this was no different.  I often ask the boys if they would rather hear music or an audio book during the ride just to get a rise out of them.  On some occasions (like this weekend) they saw, “doesn’t matter, I won’t listen anyway.”
We stepped out of the car after a rainy ride to the farm and the ground was swampy and icey.  We were headed for cabins, so that meant we would be dry, but we warned the boys to be sure and take their shoes off  before walking around too much in their cabin.  They got all their personal gear loaded into the cabin and we headed for the Welcome Center to checkin and begin our festivities.
The common room we were in was The Founders Room and is one we have used before.  We setup tables and chairs and had our Friday night cracker barrel.  Games were cracked out and people headed out to play (the rain had stopped).  In case you were wondering, the boys often go from playing outside, to playing inside and often without any prompting.  Some of them got a frisbee and went to an indoor arena and played.
We got checked in and found out the rules for camp – pretty simple stuff.  Quiet after 10:00 and be kind to the animals.  After a bit more playing the kids headed back to their log cabin (yup a real log cabin) to turn in for the night.
At 8:00 the next morning we had our first farm breakfast.  Eggs, biscuits, gravy and tator tots.  Life is good in the farm neighborhood.  After we cleaned up our tables we headed back for our largest block of downtime for the day.  Kids played more board games – Exploding Kittens, Magic, Sushi Go, Coup and Munchkin Quest.  They also went to the animal barn to see the goats, sheep, ducks, chickens, miniature horses, and llamas.  Some explored a little bit around the barns and welcome center.  When we got to our common room after breakfast we did have a challenge.  The wood stove had gone out.  Our Senior Patrol Leader took the opportunity not only to light it, but to ask the rest of the troop about different types of fire building.  It took a couple of trys, but the room warmed up quickly.
After a hearty lunch of chicken sandwiches, we got ready for wall climbing.  The climbing wall at Marmon Valley Farms is in the loft of a barn.  The weather was just cold enough so that after an attempt on the wall, your fingers were frozen.  After a couple minutes in your pockets they were warm enough to try again.  We had kids climbing the easy wall and the slanted wall.  We had kids climb in the upside down cave area also.  For some of them, this was certainly their first chance to try an experience like this.
We had about 30 minutes to get changed and warm up for our trail ride on horse back.  All our boys mounted like pros, and took a couple practice laps around the outdoor ring.  Unless there memories are incredibly short, they should all know how to mount, dismount, walk, turn and stop a horse.  I don’t know about them, but I definitely walked like John Wayne when we got back from our 1.5ish hour ride.
The view was beautiful, and the animals were majestic.  We saw several deer grazing off in the distance.  Still, sitting out in the cold… is cold.  The warm up time after over an hour on horseback, is the best warm up time ever. After an hour or so of warmup and games playing, we headed off for supper.
Once again the food for supper was awesome.  Meatloaf, mashed potatos, peas, and a giant salad.  The most awesome part was the gargantuan slice of chocolate cake that came at the end.   Thankfully there was copious amounts of milk to go with it.
After supper, I got to play a game that I have been looking forward to for a long time – Werewolf.  Most of the troop decided to join to play at one time or another.  I think the werewolves won only one game this weekend.  Your son may be able to explain the rules to you.
The hay ride came by to pick us up about 7:30.  We sang a few songs – Cheese and Boom-chika-boom.  The views at night from the hills and overlooks were amazing.
The night finished with some more snacking and games.  I know when I finally hit the bed that night, I was bushed.
The next morning I knew would go quick.  At breakfast we saw cowboy Matt flip pancakes – over a rafter!  Just to show that was not a fluke, we got a scout and placed him on the other side of the room and flipped a pancake over 3 rafters to land on the boys plate.  Boys, if you want to impress someone practice a skill that no one else has 🙂
After a hearty breakfast, we went to the top of the activity barn for a short sermon.  We heard a story about Matt’s trip and the importance of helping others with the skills we have learned.  He also shared a little about George Washington and how his bravery prepared him for a lifetime of service.
We got all of our rooms cleaned up and packed the trailer and got ready to go.  We still had a few minutes before we had planned to leave, so there was time revisit the animals and of course there were a few who played werewolf.
After a safe trip back to the Eagles I asked a few what they liked best about the trip and once again I got a variety of answers – horseback riding, food, new games, petting the animals were the ones I can remember now.
Looking forward to seeing you all again soon.

Troop 279 March 2016 Campout

Friday night started off like many others. The group met at the Eagles. The Troop loaded equipment and cars and we were off.
This would be our first campout as the new larger Troop 279 after our new scouts have all joined.
Short trip to Blendon Woods and the group camp area named Camp Sugarbush.
Once at camp, the youth set up like many other nights, but with some learning for newer and older scouts alike as we transitioned to our brand new tents. (Thanks Troop Committee). After a short learning curve the patrols got them set up and were putting gear in tents.
After the setup, campfires were started, fun with some football, food and fellowship before laying down to get some rest before a fun filled day.
Up Saturday morning to start cooking Scoutmaster Slop (Scout Favorite) Eggs, Hashbrowns and Sausage. Some newer scouts joined in and manned cooking. The youth cooked a pretty good meal as no left overs to be found.
Shortly after breakfast, it started to snow and did so fairly heavily for the next two hours. Justin and Grant tried to put together one of the Rockets which was to be our afternoon fun, but with the cold and wet, the glue would not set. But never fear, scout wouldn’t let a small hiccup ruin their day.
The promptly went to work on getting out woods tools and teaching our younger scouts some points towards earning their Totin Chip.
Check out BSA Troop 279 on FaceBook for many pictures from the weekend, (Thanks Bill)
Lunch was Pie Iron Pizzas and home made Mac and Cheese. Again, nothing left over.
After lunch it had stopped snowing but wind picking up so was still stopping our plans of rocket launches. (But don’t fear, we will incorporate rockets into some future meetings and still do them)
So the boys embarked on a hike, followed by some array of activities from more sawing, hatcetting and Axe use, to some card games (Magic) to some football or just relaxing by the fire.
Dinner was prepared. Hamburgers, Hotdogs and Baked Beans. We were almost stopped by breaking the can opener, but Mr. Barry to the rescue. He had heard of a way to open the cans using the concrete and scrapping them back and forth. Well it worked like a charm.
After dinner, much time was spent by the fire.
Our senior youth leaders Grant, Ryan and Justin used some time to work with patrols in planning a campfire. This is very much a tradition on Saturday night campfires in Troop 279.
Not everyone was happy at the beginning, but we only asked for one skit per patrol. Well once they got into it, we had several additions and a few songs throw in. Even a scout who “never” sings, was singing right along.
After skits, more fire time and crackerbarrel then sever kids started drifting off to bed. Everyone was in bed by 10:30pm.
Up in the morning on Sunday to sunny skies, but a bit cooler temperature. But a fire was going. The boys ate a good breakfast then worked as a team to take down tents and cleanup.
All in all, I think fun was had by all and thats all we can hope for. Check out Boy Scout Troop 279 on Facebook for some great pictures.

Halloween Haunt at Kings Island – October 2015 Campout

Friday night started off like many others. The group met at the Eagles. The Troop and Crew loaded equipment and cars and we were off.

For the first time, we used Camp Friedlander for our Kings Island campout. It’s a lot closer (15-20 mins) so when I planned, I figured that was a better drive than an hour after 12-14 hours in Kings Island. lol.

Once at camp, the youth set up like many other nights, but with some learning for newer and older scouts alike as we transitioned back to 2 man tents for the first time in a long time due to some equipment failures over the last few months and the retirement of the larger Patrol tents.

After the setup, fun, food and fellowship before laying down to get some rest before a fun filled day.

Up Saturday morning to start cooking Scoutmaster Slop (Scout Favorite) Eggs, Hashbrowns and Sausage. Some newer scouts joined in and manned cooking. The youth cooked a pretty good meal as no left overs to be found.

Off to Kings Island for a fun filled, spooky day. We got to KI, tickets and drink bracelets in hand.. Rules laid out for youth with meeting times and buddy rules or would be stuck with me all day. They were off till required meet time at 6pm.

The younger scouts started the day off with Andrea, Bill and myself. We joined them for rides on Banshee and The Bat before the ditched us for Firehawk. (Not my cup of tea to be strapped in and flying around staring at the ground. lol).

Andrea, Bill and I went off to Kiddie Land and rode Boo Blasters on Boo Hill. Well lets just say, Bill showed us up as he got over 1200 points and was a Master blaster, while Andrea was an Apprentice with over 800 pts and me with less than 450 pts, just a beginner. I’m blind in one eye. Thats my excuse and I’m sticking too it. LOL.

Bill and I then joined Tyler B and Tyler R for a trip on Diamondback. This is a favorite of Bill and I and I think it may have made a good impression on Tyler and Tyler as well

Luckily, weather held off for a long period throughout the day. It was cooler and gloomy, but no rain till late afternoon.

We ran into a few groups from time to time till our check in at 6pm. By then rain had started, so Andrea, Bill and I made claims to a table in the Festhaus.

Let me just say, we were in there on and off till we did our final meet at 11pm. The Monster Rock show was good the first time, ok the 2nd, but by the 3rd, 4th and 5th times we heard it, UGH!!!

We left shortly after 11 and headed back to camp.

All in all, I think fun was had by all and thats all we can hope for. Check out Boy Scout Troop 279 on Facebook for some great pictures thanks to Andrea and Bill.

Written by Justin Sayre

Mohican Campout

I was disappointed to hear that Justin would not be attending this campout and I was super psyched that we had 6 adult leaders. As we waited in the parking lot we enjoyed the warm sun and I hoped all the kids were prepared for 30 degree weather. I warned the group that I was as talented a navigator as I am a pop singer. I was second to last in the caravan.

Once we made it to our campsite, our senior patrol leader organized all the gear getting unloaded. Tents went up and I think at least a little bit of learning happened with some of the kids who have only put them up once or twice in the past. Our camp site had 3 picnic tables and we put up 3 popups over them. We gathered around a fire and the boys stared at the flames. Fires are cool.

In the morning the boys were up early. Well, some of them were up at 7:00am… and some much later. We went to start breakfast and saw that our propane burners were not in the trailer. We got our breakfast made with a coleman can of propane and all was good. Cleanup went fairly quick and we were off for horseback riding.

Our group was broken up into two groups to go out riding. It was a long trail (over an hour) and we trotted several times, we went up and down hills, and we saw several deer. It was a great trail ride, and I would love to go here again. We got just a little bit of rain, but mostly it was clear and 40 degrees. All of the boys had a good time while we were there. The trail ride was fantastic for new and veteran riders. Ralph the owner is quite a character. If ever there were a TV show waiting to be made, I think it is ‘Saturdays with Ralph’. I heard stories of him hunting and wrestling deer for hours. He gets wild Mustangs and breaks them and trains them to be ridden by kids as young as 5. He teaches his grandson to barrel ride. He has his 7 year old grand daughter out on the farm playing in gravel, moving fences, literally frolicking in fields. I spoke with him for only a short period, and I believe that everything he does, he does with conviction and respect. In his barn, the boys played games, climbed on 6 foot gravel piles, played on timbers, and pet several cats and a deaf dog. While horseback riding, the boys did much more than just ride horses.

I was designated lead driver on the way there and the way back. Mr. Potter took over after the 3rd bad turn I took. I think he has good instincts. My car navigation is limited to listening to the nice woman in my car – either my wife or the GPS. Since my wife wasn’t there, it was just the GPS.

By the time we got back we really only had time for one meal. The boys decided to make the fettucini (your choice of white or red sauce), chicken and salad. It was 5:00 when they started eating, and there were no leftovers. It started to rain shortly after we ate, so the boys decided to use the chips and cookies we had for their evening snack rather than cook the homemade doughnuts.

We kept the fire going the whole time (did I mention that fire is cool?) and kept an eye on the tents. Some of the tents have leaks in the seams and some sleeping bags got wet. We sent them off to get dried and while they were out, we did a clean up job on the tents to dry them out. By the time the dry sleeping bags came back, the rain had stopped and we were ready for our last evening entertainment.

Each of the tents of boys came up with a skit and some groups had more than one. I am not sure, but I think the driving force behind this campfire event was Warren. I could tell when his group was on stage that he enjoyed being up there, and he did a good job setting the stage for his skits. Some of the boys were more into putting on the skits than others and I want to extend my great thanks to ALL of them for my evening entertainment. The 38 skit I think was a group favorite. If you ever get near a cliff and hear one of the scouts saying “38. 38. Be careful of the 38.” just stay back. 🙂

All the boys were in bed by 10:30. Most said “Is it OK if I go to bed now?” No one was told that it was time to go to bed. Horses, rain, and cold can wipe a guy out. We were all up by 7:00 the next morning.

The fire was started early and even though I had been burning as much as I could on Saturday, I could not come close to burning all of their wood. Did I mention they had chopped wood? On Saturday they had once again made an axe yard and once again gave a short lesson on handling of axes and hatchets and care and sharpening of them. There we were many downed branches and logs that they chopped, and chopped and chopped. Clearly the intent was not for firewood since it was all wet and mostly green. I think the main reason is that they could chop wood to their hearts content (within the BSA rules – ask a leader if you are interested in what that is). We had wood up to our ears on Sunday, and the boys cleaned up their axe yard and stacked all the leftovers they had chopped.

After a fine continental breakfast and a thorough police line (again, another good question for your scout is “what is a police line” if you have never heard that term), The senior patrol leader and junior assistant scoutmaster gave a quick lesson on the maps for Mohican.

They were fairly detailed maps and useful for driving, hiking and finding facilities all over the property. After the boys learned where they were on the map, they took a quick walk down one of the marked trails to a beautiful overlook of the gorge. The sun was rising and the hawks were hunting below us. It was a magnificent scene. Someone even made a “38” joke.

Our ride back was safe and uneventful except for the fact that the sunny 43 degree weather we had on the ride home made the rainy 40 degree weather of Saturday a distant memory. I asked the kids about their favorite part of the weekend and the overwhelming response was horseback riding. There were a few other answers, some expected some less so. Here are a few of the others – the food, the skits, going to sleep, watching the deer, chopping wood and cookingFullSizeRender

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Catapult Campout


It was stated at committee on the 4th that the boys wanted to build a catapult. Mr. Cox told the committee he could draw up designs. With the committee’s consent, Mr. Cox began drawing designs.

Over the next few days, Mr. Cox researched and developed an idea. By testing the elasticity of various cables, he found out how far a tennis ball would travel. By Monday there was a completed catapult design in Google sketchup. It was sent to the boy scouts for approval.

Towards the end of the next Boy Scout meeting four designs were set out for voting. First of all was a small wooden model. Next, was a similar model made of office supplies. Thirdly, there was a 2 foot backyard catapult. Finally there was our design. By the end of the meeting, our design was chosen

Once Mr. Cox’s design was picked, he was given a budget. First order of business was to find lumber. Our job was to find the best pieces for the project at hand. While most of Lowe’s selection was good there was little of the quality we needed. We managed to find what we needed, but it took quite a while. Afterwards, we collected the rest of the hardware.

The next day, we lined the pieces up and drilled holes through the wood in preparation for the troop assembling it.

On Monday, we worked with the troop to assemble the catapult to get them used to building it. All boy scouts took turns assembling the various parts. We did this by cycling boys in rounds.

On the eighteenth, we applied various finishing details. It was hard work, late into the night. Later on, when we needed to attach the bungee cords, Dad seemed to need a metal anchor. We looked through the garage until we found a piece off the back of a microwave. It worked quite well. We also conducted a test fire and all went well.

We left for slate run the next day. Towards noon, after a good nights sleep, we took the parts, one by one, up a hill in the campsite. Then we assembled the catapult as planned, and spent the afternoon enjoying firing our new catapult. Every scout who attended fired the catapult, and there is a full list of attendees below. However Tyler R., Andrew P., and I were instructed as to range safety, loading and firing the catapult.

Arlo, Grant, Joey J, Gabriel, Andy C, Frank, Tyler, Andrew P., Justin B




January Campout – SnowTrails

Sometimes the best part of a campout is staying in the cabin. Lately there have been many more games

to play at these outings like coup,” Are you a traitor?”, and lost island. This most recent campout, we

were playing hide and seek in the dark. As I was seeking, I saw two beady eyes staring from the

fireplace, jumped back and realized I had found Cole. The lights went on and we agreed that Cole had

the best hiding spot. – Gabriel, Troop Historian

Crooked Lane Girl Scout Camp

Crooked Lane Girl Scout Camp

2015 Marmon Valley Farm Campout

We left and it was light out. Woo Hoo! I had one of our new scouts – Frederick – in my car, so I got to know him a little bit. It is always nice to hear new stories and hear from new families. I played the Guardian of the Galaxy soundtrack again, and once again it was a hit. I will probably be sick of it in another decade or two.

We got to Marmon Valley Farms and unloaded into our cabins. These are cabins that I have never stayed in before. There are plenty of beds, but not much room to spread out and play games or hang out. Right after we unloaded, we went to the welcome center and our host told us a little about Simon Kenton (he lived from 1755-1836), and gave us some info on our weekends activities. We found out that we had access to half of the heated welcome center where there are tables, chairs, flush toilets (woo hoo), and plenty of space to play games and hang out.

After a quick trip to the ultra super hyper freezing animal barn, we made all the kids come to the heated room to hang out and play games. The Polar Vortex is alive and well! We were looking forward to a warmer tomorrow.

We went to sleep and it was cold and when we woke up it was still cold … and now snowy too – yeah for cabins!

We trudged the 5 minute walk through the new fallen snow to breakfast and had a hearty breakfast of biscuits and gravy, jam, eggs, hash browns, juice and milk. Breakfast plenty for any cowboy.

A little bit of playing on the farm – hay bales, goats, tiny tiny horses, llamas, bunnies, sledding and then it was time to do some wall climbing.

On the wall it was 19 degrees. I cheered on many boys. Some made it all the way to the top and some made it just a few steps. They all did their best and I loved to watch the personification of determination. I was so inspired that I gave it a try after they all finished. I made it about halfway up before I couldn’t find any more hand holds or foot holds, and my fingers were numb to the second knuckle. Your kids are impressive.

Lunch was equally hearty. Shredded barbecue pork, chips, coleslaw, peaches and cookies. I wanted to eat soooo much. Everyone heard their 4th speech about staying warm on the trail ride and Marmon Valley folks offered hat, gloves and/or coats to anyone who needed them.

After lunch we headed back to our heated hangout room to dry out in preparation for our trail ride. That afternoon many games were played again.

The trail ride began with a quick lesson off of the horse. We learned how to operate the horses with short reins and a slight pull to one side or the other. They put us in 2 groups of 10 and we were off onto the trails.

I was on Suzy and she was a perfect lady for the whole ride. I was near the front so I didn’t see many riders. I loved the ride. It was quiet and we listened to the quiet of the woods, we saw deer, we heard the crunch of snow under hooves. It takes the mind to some restful places. I did not hear any complaints of the cold, so I assume everyone was dressed well. After the ride, we brushed the horses a bit, said our equine goodbyes, and headed back for a hearty supper.

After we ate it was time for the last gaming session of the evening. I think all the kids played 2 or 3 different games at least – Coup, Who is the Traitor, Dwarven Mines, Avalon, Fluxx, Chrononauts, Fish or Cut Bait were a few that I saw.

Games were not the only thing on tap for the evening. We also went on a hayride, This was the most eventful hayride I have been on. A tractor pulled us on some roads through the woods, and there was plenty of snow. About halfway through, the tractor got stuck near the top of a hill. The tractor spun its tires for a while. We then cleared out all the folks from the wagon, and still the tires spun. We put the heft of a few boy scouts on the job and all of a sudden the tractor moved!! We sang songs almost the whole way back. Mostly we sang the Cheese song and Boom-Chicka-Boom.

On campouts like this I sometimes wonder what kids will remember as the best part. I know that some love playing in the barn, some loved playing in the snow, some loved sledding, some loved the food, some loved the games, some loved hanging out with friends, and some enjoyed the planned activities – climbing wall and trail rides on the horses. Given the WIDE variety of activities this weekend, I was surprised that almost all the boys said the horse ride was their favorite part of the weekend. I had a couple tell me that their favorite part was the hay ride.

Thanks once again for sending your boys and making this a great trip for all of us!




January Campout – SnowTrails

As usual we rallied at the Eagles parking lot before we left for the campout. There were the normal restlessness of the kids before we left. Milling around, laughing and telling stories. Once all our adults and kids arrived we had everything already loaded and we were ready to hit the road. 19 of us headed out on the road with one more set to meet us when we got there.

We were on the road at 6:30 and it was pitch dark outside. This is one of the wintery things that I do not like. Come back sun, we love you. My car had an extra adult in it this time, and on the car ride down the whole car was discussing music and movies and super heroes. If you are going to study to go on a campout, in addition to first aid and orienteering – I recommend these subjects.

Our troop has camped a few times before at Camp Crooked Lane, so we knew the drill when we got here. There was a bucket brigade formed to get all the gear from the trailer to the cabin. Once everything was inside, the boys went to claim their cots.

It wasn’t long before there were more laughing and talking and playing. There were many games played – Coup, Forbidden Island, Seven Dragons, Chrononauts, Are You the Traitor, ERS, and maybe others that I didn’t see. Most of these games are 10-30 minutes and length and I would see one group of boys finish a game, break up, and go play with another group of boys, I know that some of these guys have closer friendships than others, and it is great to see them all interacting together instead of breaking up into cliques. You are raising good men.

After all the games were over and snacks were gone, we headed off to bed. The cabin quieted down quickly and the soft rumble of snores were audible for the next several hours.

Our cooks were up bright and early… Well, they got up anyway. Very few were up bright and early. When the sun was up, we could see the blanket of snow covering the hills and pond behind the cabin. If Norman Rockwell wanted a majestic midwest winter landscape, this place would have been in his top ten.

After a great breakfast, and proper cleanup we were off to the slopes. Most of the troop went tubing, and a few went snowboarding and skiing. The weather was phenomenal. With only a light jacket and a hat (along with a bit of vigorous movement from skiing or running up to the tubing escalator) you could stay plenty warm. I had a slight detour from around 2PM to 8pm. My son took a leap on one of the biggest ski jumps there. Shortly afterward, I met him in the snow patrol lodge and we found out he had a broken fibula. I also learned that fibula is not a made up word.

In the meantime, the rest of the troop headed back and had another great meal at the cabin – salsa chicken and rice with broccoli. Near the end of the night, the gaming was going strong, along with stories from the mountain. Once again, these youth astound me with their stamina to stay up late and laugh and joke and have fun. It wasn’t long before I just wanted to curl up into a ball and drift into sleep.

During my usual quiz about “what was the best part of this campout”, I heard a little bit of what I expected and a little bit out of the ordinary. Of course there were folks who said tubing, snowboarding, playing coup, and a few folks said playing hide and seek in the dark. The imagination of boys is sometimes a scary thing. I was particularly happy that I got to play Forbidden Island. It is a cooperative board game played with up to 6 players. It is a game that I had been wanting to play with the scouts, but I had not purchased it. It turns out that one of the scouts got it over the holidays and I was one of the first folks to get to play it with him.

Thanks to Justin and the PLC for planning this campout. I did the best job skiing that I think I ever have. Although my youngest son was in a bit of pain on the slopes, I think this is one of the best stories he has to tell 🙂

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