Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 24, 2013

Jamboree, fall hike top Scouts' October calendar

The Andover Townsman

---- — It’s been a busy couple weeks for some local Boy and Cub Scouts.

Over Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 12 through 14, a group of Boy Scouts from troops 76 and 79 in town attended MassJam 2013.

They were among more than 7,000 Scouts, Webelos and Venturers from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire who gathered at the Barnstable Country Fairgrounds in East Falmouth for three days of exhibits, challenging activities, competitions, entertainment, fellowship and general Scouting fun.

The local Scouts spent the weekend climbing towers, launching water rockets, broadcasting on a HAM radio station and trading hundreds of patches.

Nine Massachusetts Scouting councils and the Narragansett Council in Rhode Island, with support from the Barnstable County Fairgrounds, the town of Falmouth and the state joined in the planning of the event.

The first MassJam was held in 1985 at Tewksbury State Hospital in Tewksbury. Subsequent jamborees have all been held at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds, occurring in 1993, 1999, 2004 and 2008.

While some of their fellow Scouts were at MassJam, other members of Troop 76 along with boys in Cub Scout Pack 76 hiked to the top of Mt. Major in Alton, N.H., on Sunday, Oct. 13. The joint hike was led by Packmaster Nick Warne, whose family has hiked the trail many times.

The summit was reached by the user-friendly Blue Trail, which allowed the hikers to look out over the fall foliage around Lake Winnipesaukee. At the top, the Scouts also learned how to work a backpacking stove and the whole party enjoyed hot cocoa and cookies. The trip home included a stop for ice cream, as all good trips should.

The Andover troops and pack are all part of West Wind District, Yankee Clipper Council, Boy Scouts of America. Troop 79 meets at St. Robert Bellarmine Parish on Haggetts Pond Road. Troop 76 meets Friday nights at 7 at Ballard Vale United Church, 23 Clark Road.

Pack 76 meets at the Andover Sportsmen’s Club. Pack and Troop 76, which are family Scout groups, are both currently recruiting new members.