St.Francis de Sales Scout Group Goes On TMR Adventure
The trek started out just on the outskirts of Camp Keowa, with scouts Matt Hart (Mad Matt), James Mercer (Jumping James), Sean Casey (Special Sean), Lucas Hanson (Loony Lucas), Michael Maranga (Mike the Machine) and Jonathan Maranga (Genius Jonathan). Gerry Casey and Guy Maranga, who were both scouts in their youths, accompanied them. Two days later they were joined by Xander Smith (Hollywood) and his dad, Kwynn Smith. Jeff Mercer also joined the Troop to help complete the hike and also to enjoy the canoeing portion of the trip.
The boys learned wilderness survival, proper camping and hiking techniques along with rock and wall climbing and rappelling from fifty foot Indian cliffs.
The Trek was very hot and buggy, and at times extremely difficult. The boys were able to keep their wits about them and complete five consecutive days of grueling adventure. This type of high adventure is usually done by older and much more experienced boys. Six troops set out on this same trek from all different starting points but only five completed it. It has been suggested that next year the troop try a sea trek, which starts out in the Florida Keys and combines kayaking, hiking sailing and camping; they would then travel to an uninhabited island and will test their survival skills by fending for themselves.
TMR is a 14,000 acre track of land located adjacent to the Delaware River just below Narrowsburg, NY. The area's history dates as far back as 8,000 BC right up to the beginning of the early 17th century when the Lenape Indians (translated means "We the People") made friends with the early settlers. Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was head of the NY Chapter of the Boys Scouts prior to becoming Governor of New York, helped the Boy Scouts purchased it.
While at the camp the boys planned a 37-mile hike with full backpacks and then a 13-mile canoe trip down the Delaware to complete the requirement for the nationally recognized 50-mile trek in five days. Troop 81 lived in the wilderness and hiked, climbed and rappelled all along the trail. The boys were responsible for preparing their own meals and setting up their own campsites.
With all the sports available to young people and school requirements, Scouting has suffered in the last decade in popularity. With its strong moral and reverent code and true test of fortitude with a little fun thrown in, it is still alive and well in the Rockaways. "There are life lessons learned in scouting that are rarely learned on any ball field," said an old Eagle Scout.