Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

June 20, 2013

Scout News

The Andover Townsman

---- — Bicycling to Boston for Troop 76

Ballard Vale’s Boy Scout Troop 76 — also known as the Super Ducks — spent Saturday, June 8, bicycling to Boston along the Blue Heron and Charles River bikeway trails, part of the larger East Coast Greenway.

The outing began Friday, June 7, with a bike safety check and overnight stay at the troop’s home base, Ballard Vale United Church, 23 Clark Road. In addition to the equipment review, the Scouts watched a movie and enjoyed a chocolate fondue with fruit and marshmallows, sort of a s’mores indoors.

The next morning, they loaded their bicycles onto a trailer bound for Waltham. Troop members started their ride on the Blue Heron Trail by the falls at the Charles River Museum of Industry, which many of the Scouts had visited in February for a model engine show. They followed the trail as it paralleled the river and got a quick lesson in safety when one member slipped on the boardwalk, setting off a chain reaction with those following too close. There were no injuries aside from a couple scrapes and it was the only incident of the excursion.

When the Blue Heron Trail merged with the Charles River Greenway, the troop followed the path on the south side of the river, bringing them in view of a large steel arch suspension bridge, Newton Yacht Club and the Northeastern University boat house. The troop stopped for lunch at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade and took time to visit the Tobin and Fiedler Memorials and climb on the howitzer.

Then, the Super Ducks crossed the river at the Charles River Dam Bridge, and followed the north side back to Waltham, making an ice cream stop in Harvard Square. In all, the trip covered more than 27 miles and counted as one of the rides to obtain the Cycling Merit Badge, one of the required badges for Eagle Scout.

Troop 76 is part of the Boy Scouts’ West Wind District, Yankee Clipper Council, and meets Friday nights at 7 at Ballard Vale United Church.

— Submitted by Assistant Scoutmaster Craig Milligan

Book drive toward Gold Award

Andover High School junior Meghan Buggy spent this spring collecting books for the William A. Berkowitz Elementary School in Chelsea for her Girl Scout Gold Award, the high­est award in Girl Scouting. Buggy, a member of Troop 60887, says she chose the project in hopes of aiding young Chelsea students who she learned often don’t have access to sufficient reading materials.

Buggy began by initiating a book collection at Andover’s High Plain, Sanborn and South elementary schools during the month of April. The drive far exceeded her goal of bringing in 500 books, she says.

Then, with the assistance of her fellow troop members, she sorted and ranked the books by Lexile level, a tool that gauges the appropriate reading level by difficulty. Finally, she sought to work with the reading specialist at the Chelsea school to distribute the books to the teachers for their classroom libraries.

Buggy hopes the books will be a resource that will enrich the learning environment at the Chelsea school and the lives of students there for years to come.