From the Meeting House Deck: A Scoutmaster's Perspective

A scout meet­ing is about to begin. From the Meet­ing House deck, Scout­mas­ter Chuck Whit­man looks over the expanse of the Schoharie Val­ley and thinks: what a fit­ting venue for out­door activ­i­ties — the fields and forests of the Lan­dis Arbore­tum. Could there be a more per­fect place to have boys learn, play, explore and grow? 

Boy Scout Troop 501 has been con­nect­ed with Lan­dis since 2004. Since that time, 79 scouts have enjoyed the unique oppor­tu­ni­ty for nature appre­ci­a­tion and edu­ca­tion that Lan­dis offers. Ten have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, scouting’s high­est achieve­ment. Through the efforts of scout­mas­ters Chuck Stephens and Chuck Whit­man, the troop has grown to six­teen scouts and 25 com­mit­ted adults. Scout­mas­ter Whit­man prides him­self on the open and wel­com­ing” spir­it of Troop 501. This spir­it will shine when they host a cam­poree this Octo­ber, at which scout troops from the area will par­tic­i­pate in inter-troop activities.

Com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice is an impor­tant aspect of scout­ing, and the scouts are a fix­ture at Lan­dis’ spring and fall plant sales, inter­act­ing with our vol­un­teers and the pub­lic. They pro­vide secu­ri­ty dur­ing the plant sales by camp­ing out overnight on the site. They are also of great assis­tance dur­ing the sale in many ways, includ­ing help­ing cus­tomers take pur­chas­es to the park­ing area.

In return, Lan­dis helps the scouts by pro­vid­ing meet­ing, camp­ing, and stor­age areas. Next to the Arboretum’s barn is a shed, built and stained by the scouts along­side Arbore­tum vol­un­teers, that pro­vides a dry and safe place for the scouts’ camp­ing equip­ment. The troop also has a camp­site area at Lan­dis, which cur­rent­ly includes an out­house and firepit. Site improve­ments are planned includ­ing a stor­age shed, an Adiron­dack-style lean-to, and a sec­ond outhouse. 

Many of the scout lead­ers com­ment­ed that most troops meet in schools or fire halls and sim­ply do not have the out­doors to call home”. The lead­ers and the scouts in Troop 501 feel for­tu­nate that they and Lan­dis have such a strong con­nec­tion. The feel­ing is mutu­al: the Arbore­tum val­ues this rela­tion­ship too and will con­tin­ue to pro­vide a socia­ble, syl­van, and spir­i­tu­al place for young men and women to devel­op impor­tant life and lead­er­ship skills.


Fall 2018

Volume 36 , Number 4

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