Troop 22 NEWS: Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge

“A boy is supremely confident of his own power, and dislikes being treated as a child.”   Robert Baden Powell, Founder of Scouts

Troop 22 NEWS: Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge

Troop 22 Boy Scouts held a campout the weekend of October 11 – 13th. The goal was to earn the Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge, along with rank advancement opportunities while enjoying a pristine and primitive wilderness camping environment and, of course, the unique rewards associated with the brotherhood of Scouting!

Late Friday afternoon, several Scouts volunteered to participate in equipment load-up and departure preparation. A session covering successful campout rules and guidelines was conducted by Mr. Steve Gerber (accompanied by Senior Patrol Leader Cody Hubbard and assistant SPL Alfonso Garcia) directly behind the headquarters building. The troop then departed the MMA campus. Upon campsite arrival, the boys divided into teams and set to work establishing a professional style troop camp, to include a tent and mess area, outdoor latrine, dish-wash station, and equipment staging area. With tents up, the sun quickly setting, they hustled into the mess shelter for a “make your own sandwiches” dinner. These hungry Scouts made quick work of four bread loaves, two lbs. of turkey/ham, bologna, assorted cheeses, along with chunky peanut butter, jams, fresh fruit, and peanut butter cookies. Food items seemed to vanish nearly before you can say “vanish!”

They camped as special guests at the Longoria Unit of the Las Palomas Wildlife Management area near Santa Rosa, Texas . This nearly 700 acre property is owned and managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife. It is set-aside to preserve some of the natural forests and vegetation of South Texas, and to protect the endangered plant, animal, and other wildlife residents who populate the preserve. This site offers THE BEST opportunity in the Rio Grande Valley for Scouts to truly enjoy South Texas wilderness camping at its finest. Troop 22 has a special invitation to use the facility thanks to preserve manager, Mr. Sam Patten, who is an extreme friend of Scouting, and most deserving of a huge “THANK YOU!” from Troop 22!

Photos show a Wow! Saturday morning breakfast of Pop-Tarts, loaded Breakfast Tacos, orange juice, and fresh fruit followed by dish-wash and mess cleanup (yes Mom, they wash dishes the ENTIRE weekend). The troop then seated for a required classroom session with the shotgun shooting counselor/instructor, MMA’s very own SgtMajor Al Wilson.  He expertly covered and reviewed range safety and firing procedures, shotgun nomenclature, and types of shotguns. SgtMajor Wilson is also a registered adult leader with the troop.

The boys then hustled the event with all gear over to the shotgun site and quickly set-up an outdoor sun canopy and a firing range for shooters. It was immediately evident the boys listened closely to instruction, as they conducted themselves with professional shooting and firearms discipline the entire time. They cheered and encouraged one another. The boys shot well, with most attaining the qualifying scores to earn the badge (successful hits on at least 24 of 50 targets). Several inexperienced boys showed natural shooting skills, and quite easily earned the merit badge. Always on-hand to assist was Steve Gerber, another Troop 22 adult leader. Steve also engaged our Scouts with advancement work during wait times, and offered encouragement to the shooters.

Scouts were served scrumptious pizza varieties, loads of crazy bread, and Sunny D for a welcomed mid-afternoon lunch. In fact, so much food that a teenage boy rare-rarity occurred, with all claiming full tummies/can’t eat any more! (at least for the next fifteen minutes). Is this one for the history books?

Weekend menu Saturday evening included Scout Stew augmented with potatoes/corn/carrots, apple sauce, baby-dill pickles, canned pineapples, pop-tarts, fresh-fruit, potato chips, and on…..and on. All hunger pangs were quickly extinguished!

With warm to hot conditions, the boys consumed over 40 gallons of ice cold water over the weekend. Some found they actually enjoyed it over soda-pop!

Scouts also engaged in rank advancement work. They then hiked the reservation. Photos display examples of old-growth South Texas found within the preserve. Special access trails were constructed long ago for visitors.

Of course, a campfire is always welcomed. Robert Walter conducted an impressive Flag Retirement ceremony. This was a new experience for most of our newly joined Scouts. Smores then capped a successful day.

Sunday morning found the boys engaged in breakfast, then camp breakdown, cleanup, and departure to campus.

In keeping with Scouting’s “Leave No Trace” outdoor philosophy, Troop 22 members are good stewards of the environment and practice recycling.

A few boys volunteered, without prompting or promise of reward, to assist with stowing gear, reorganizing the camp trailer and shed, and dumping all refuse taken from the campsite. For this fine example of selfless leadership they were justly rewarded with a trip to Whataburger and the combo of choice. Thanks SCOUTS!!

A SPECIAL note to parents/friends of Scouting: We couldn’t do quality endeavors like this without your continued financial support. Troop 22 members pass along a gigantic THANK YOU!

Troop 22 actively seeks donations or other assistance to maintain a quality program. Please contact the Scoutmaster, SgtMajor Jim Poe, at 956-423-6006×270 if you have questions about the Scouting program.

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