MMA Troop 22 News: Fishing Campout Weekend !!

“It’s the spirit within, not the veneer without, that makes a man.”  Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of Boy Scouts

MMA Troop 22 News: Fishing Campout Weekend !!

Nov 15-17 – A large group of hardy Boy Scouts from the Marine Military Academy eagerly charged into a potential foul weather campout this past weekend, conducted at Adolph Thomae County Park in Cameron County. The pristine park is located within the Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge area near Arroyo City, 25 miles from campus, next to the Arroyo Colorado (Arroyo – Spanish word for creek). The boys fearlessly shrugged-off weather concerns for the higher opportunity of engaging in camping, fishing, hiking, outdoor cooking, advancement work, and the brotherhood of Scouting. They assembled directly after school. Several selflessly volunteered to assist in logistical preparations for the benefit of the troop, then organized and stowed required items into the troop trailer. They then joined other waiting members the HQ bldg for departure.

Upon arrival and with near winter darkness already descending, the Scouts ignited outdoor lamps and rapidly set-up the campsite, kitchen & mess area, and made meal preparations. Make-your-own designer sandwich was the main evening menu item. They quickly demolished three loaves of bread along with large packages of sliced ham & cheese or turkey, and  supplemental items such as peanut butter/jelly, chips, and fresh fruit. Full tummies, and faster than Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer, they quickly sprung-out of the chute to bait a fishing pole and put it into the nearby Arroyo Colorado, a river that flows some 85 kilometers mostly eastward from Lake Llano Grande into the Laguna Madre. Adolph Thomae County Park is a very popular fishing site in the Rio Grande Valley. Bait consisted mainly of frozen shrimp purchased just outside the park entry (looks yucky!) The boys had a relaxing time catching a few fish on a well-lighted pier or concrete embankment wall that evening, while becoming familiar with the park surroundings. What a fine way to reconnecting with nature and the pleasures of boyhood….!

Saturday morning was cool with some intermittent drizzle. The boys departed their tents, and assembled near the mess area just in time for some coffee before a manly breakfast consisting of spam  & cheese scrambled eggs, loaded with peppers and onions, orange juice, fresh fruit, and pop-tarts.  Yes Mom, Scouts do their own cooking and dish washing. Is there a better way to start the day?

We accomplished some advancement work for some rising Scouts of serious intent who plan on eventually earning the distinguished title of Eagle Scout. This included a hike of the reservation, and identifying evidence of at least 10 types of different plants and animals per advancement requirements. Adolph Thomae is a popular fishing, camping, hiking, and Ornithology (bird studies) area. It is a state protected, old-growth area. Scientific birding, nature, and botanical studies are conducted here frequently. The park is a spectacular representation of South Texas wildlife. Yucca plants and Prickly Pear cactus populate the landscape and seem to compete for space and visitor attention. It also offers an impressive boat launch and landing site. Educational placards are strategically placed though out the park. It is a wonderful place for the fishing/camping family, or those seeking a peaceful nature day or weekend.

Supper consisted of an old Scout staple and Troop 22 favorite called foil dinners. These culinary delights are packed with meat, Italian sausage, potato’s, peppers, carrots, onions, and seasoning, then wrapped in foil and cooked side to side over hot charcoals. The meal was augmented with garlic bread, pickles, and canned fruit. All if it mouthwatering and very satisfying. The boys thought it nothing short of a King’s banquet!

The evening air is cool, the sky is partially clear, the mosquitoes in hiding, and our small corner of the universe is on full, glorious display. Note the early evening “Harvest” Moon. The Scouts engage some night fishing and make several catches, returning the fish to their natural environment. A warm and glowing campfire was most welcomed prior to retiring to their respective tents. And of course, enjoying a Troop 22 campfire favorite, the all-famous Smores with the popular Sunny-D capped off the evening Boy Scout cracker-barrel. This was followed by more fishing and relaxed camaraderie between the boys late into the evening.

Sunday morning and a cereal-style, fresh fruit breakfast minimizes cleanup for an easier departure from camp. Scouts conducted a thorough clean-up of the two camp sites. The boys devoured 2 bags of sugar donuts before the retreat back to MMA. And yes, photo evidence indicates that Troop 22 recycles.

Our Scouts worked hard and displayed impressive cooperation and teamwork the entire weekend. This meant a final reward stop at the Harlingen McDonald’s was in order for food and an ice cream delight of choice. A translation of the smiles on their faces says…..a rewarding time was had by all!

Costs for the event totaled $511.74, to include park admission & camping fees, food & beverage, equipment replacement/upgrades, tackle, bait, etc. Troop 22 members wish to extend their deepest THANKS !! and appreciation to parents & supporters for individual dues payments and generous donations, without which the quality of our program wouldn’t be possible.

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 Boy Scout program or seek to lend your support.

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