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Winter Wonderland: DeKalb's Troop 33 wraps up season of adventure

Scouts stand at the bottom of a waterfall partially frozen in ice at St. Louis Canyon in Starved Rock State Park in February. Provided photo

Winter is drawing to a close (we hope). The Boy Scouts of Troop 33 in DeKalb would just like to say good-bye winter 2005! It was nice knowing you. In fact it was more than nice: It was really fantastic! All that snow and ice were the makings for some really great adventures. What kind of adventure, you ask? During winter 2005, they traveled through Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota for adventures involving dogs, snow, ice, hills, sleds, snowshoes, snowboards, skis, snowmobiles, hiking boots, museums, eagles, buffalo, convention centers, tomahawks, rifles, a climbing gym, a cabin, an Indian reservation and a graveyard. January started with the "Adventures in Travel Show" at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont where Scouts visited display booths learning about adventures around the world. There also was a climbing wall and a kayak demonstration. Troop 33 shared an overnight lock-in at the Northlander Climbing Gym in Rockford with Troop 32, also of DeKalb. Troop 33 Scouts enjoyed another overnight at Russell Woods Forest Preserve where they camped in a cabin and invested much of their time enjoying the sledding hill. A day trip to Chicago included touring the Museum of Science & Industry with its Toymaker 3000 exhibit, which featured a robotic packaging machine provided by Algus Packaging, a DeKalb industry. Scouts visited a south-side eatery and also the Chicago Boat RV & Outdoor Show at McCormick Place, where they saw boats, RVs, adventure travel booths from around the world, a climbing wall, scuba pool, sea lion show, trout fishing pool and much more. Venturing north into Wisconsin for a snowmobile adventure, Scouts explored more than 100 miles of wooded trails and frozen lakes near the cities of Tomahawk and Rhinelander. Each Scout was required to complete an eight-hour Snowmobile Safety course in preparation for the trip. All the Scout troops of DeKalb County came together for the Kishwaukee District Klondike Derby held at Sycamore Sportsman's Club. Patrols of Scouts competed in a series of events including orienteering, team building, knots, lashing, tomahawk throwing, first aid, fire building and shooting .22 rifles at an indoor rifle range. Troop 39 of Waterman took top honors. Near Portage, Wis., Scouts experienced hills and thrills while skiing and snowboarding at Cascade Mountain Resort. A road trip to the south brought them to the Illinois River Valley, where they enjoyed visiting buffalo at Buffalo Rock State Park, Starved Rock Lock and Dam Visitors Center where they watched barges pass through the lock, enjoyed exhibits and did some eagle watching. Only a couple of eagles were nearby, but Scouts watched as one eagle soared then swooped down to pull a fish from the river, clutched in its talons. At Starved Rock State Park, they hiked to the top of Starved Rock, visited both the Lodge and the Visitors Center, and hiked to a partially frozen waterfall at the head of St. Louis Canyon. They visited the old log stockade at Matthiesson State Park, and at the Ottawa Cemetery, they visited the W.D. Boyce Memorial where the founder of the Boy Scouts of America is buried. They also visited the Ottawa Scouting Museum. A longer road trip to the north took them through parts of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. They visited Klondike Days, a winter festival in Eagle River, Wis., which featured a dog pull, horse pull, lumberjack contests, fur trapper camp, dog sled rides, craft show and musical entertainment. They drove through part of Michigan near the Porcupine Mountains State Park and stayed overnight at the Bad River Indian Reservation. They snowshoed on Lake Superior to watch the start of "Book Across the Bay," a 10K race where more than 1,700 skiers and snowshoers race across Chequamenon Bay between Ashland and Washburn, Wis. They also did a hike along Lake Superior at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and visited the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center where they learned about the area's natural and human history. The highlight of the trip was a dog sledding program at Paw Tuck-Away Kennels in Danbury, Wis., where each Scout got a chance to drive a dog sled through the woods. Scouts learned about different dog breeds, types of sleds, dog care, training and mushing techniques. The last weekend of February was reserved for Blue and Gold Banquets with area Cub Packs. Troop 33 accepted three new Scouts from Pack 132 of DeKalb: Jeremy Snow, Mitchell Griesbaum and Zachary Aase. They accepted one new Scout, Tyler Dennison, from Pack 141 in Belvidere. March included an overnight lock-in at Holy Cross School in Champaign, followed by a merit badge seminar with 600 other Scouts. Classes ranged from Fire Safety Merit Badge, conducted by the Champaign Fire Department, to Astronomy Merit Badge, held at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College, the second largest planetarium in Illinois. Dozens of other merit badge classes were conducted at locations on the University of Illinois campus or at Holy Cross School. Community service is another part of the Scouting program. Troop 33 participated with other DeKalb troops in Scouting for Food, a community wide food drive providing food for the DeKalb Food Pantry at the Salvation Army. Scouts also did a brush removal project at MacQueen Forest Preserve near Kirkland. At a Court of Honor, Scouts were presented awards earned over the past few months. As the snow and ice melts and temperatures gradually warm, Scouts look forward to another season of outdoor adventures. The aims of Scouting are to foster citizenship, develop character and promote fitness. The aims are achieved through eight methods, which always include a lot of fun and adventurous activities for Scouts. Troop 33 is sponsored by First Lutheran Church of DeKalb. You can visit the Troop online at troop33dekalb.org.

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