Last 20 Years

Troop 212 – 70 Years of Seeking Adventure
The Last 20 Years, 2010’s, 2020’s and Beyond
By Russ Turley, Webmaster 2009-2024, Advancement Chair 2020-2024

When John asked me to write about the last 15 or so years of Troop 212 it was not surprising considering that I have had 4 boys active with the Troop for 15 of the last 20 years.. 

My oldest son Adam (Eagle #154) joined Troop 212 in 2009. Adam’s twin brothers, Matthew (Eagle #180) and Nathan (Eagle #181)  grew up hearing about all the camping trips, especially the firearms safety weeknd in Randsburg and so they were sold on Troop 212 from the beginning. They joined the troop in 2015 with 5 of their Cub Scout Denmates. Finally, youngest brother Andrew (Eagle #185) joined the troop in 2017.

Over the past two decades, Troop 212 has consistently delivered a robust high adventure program that caters to scouts of all skill and experience levels. This commitment ensures that every scout, regardless of their proficiency, has the opportunity to engage in challenging and enriching outdoor activities. 

In 2014, the troop celebrated its 60th anniversary, marking six decades of scouting excellence and highlighting its lasting impact on many generations of scouts. Now, ten years later, Troop 212 is celebrating its 70th anniversary. This event acknowledges the troop’s continued success and dedication to scouting values. The 70th anniversary not only honors past achievements but also prepares for future projects, emphasizing the troop’s commitment to providing high-quality scouting experiences for everyone.

Troop 212 has continued the proud tradition of firearms safety trips to Randsburg, an initiative particularly memorable for instilling responsible gun handling and safety among scoutsThese weekend excursions provide practical lessons in firearm safety and foster a deep respect for handling and operating firearms securely. Beyond mere instruction, these trips reinforced teamwork and leadership, as older scouts mentored younger members under the wide desert sky, a stark backdrop for lessons that will last a lifetime.

The troop has also continued its annual family fishing trips to June Lake, with an ill fated diversion to Santa Margarita Lake in 2022. Set in the picturesque Sierra Nevada, these trips combined the serenity of nature with thrilling fishing adventures, providing families with an opportunity to strengthen bonds while mastering angling techniques. Whether we were stream fishing, shore fishing or fishing from a rented pontoon boat, it was the excitement of landing a first catch or learning the art of patience by the water’s edge that made these trips a cherished tradition.

In the last few years, an old trip was made new again with simulated marooned trips on Catalina Island. These excursions were designed to simulate a survival scenario, where scouts used their skills in resourcefulness and teamwork to “survive” on the island. Scouts and scouters jump off the back of a “sinking boat” and swim to shore with all their gear.  These experiences were thrilling exercises in self-reliance, teaching important survival skills and decision-making in an environment that was both challenging and controlled. Scouts learned to fish, kayak, and cooperate, all within the stunning setting of Catalina’s beautiful unimproved beaches.

In 2019, Troop 212 helped create and run The Wrangler Program at Camp Tahquitz.  The Wrangler Program created an exciting, week-long immersive Horsemanship Merit Badge program, suitable for scouts of all ages and varying riding experiences. This program paired scouts in a buddy system, assigning them the responsibility of caring for a horse throughout the week. Responsibilities included morning feedings and daily care, enriching the hands-on learning experience. In addition to working towards their merit badge and enjoying trail rides, scouts acquired practical skills such as maintaining pasture fences, and selecting appropriate water and feed for horses, among other valuable lessons.

No retelling of the last 20 years would be complete without mentioning COVID.  Just like the rest of the world, in March of 2020 the troop went home because of the Covid-19 virus. The troop adapted and started a Zoom account to continue meeting and educating the scouts.  Troop meetings, adult program planning meetings and any other troop gathering was limited to being online on Zoom. The Long Beach Area Council said that troops could not participate in any “troop activities” but family activities were encouraged. Thus, the “Family Adventure Series” was started.  As soon as everyone in the troop was comfortable with the idea, we started planning camping trips where scouts would camp and tent with their family members only.  Troop tents were renumbered with their FAS numbers and lent to families to use. All activities were outdoors and when in close quarters, everyone donned their masks. Despite the challenging conditions, the troop flourished during this time. New scouts even joined Troop 212 in part because of the FAS.  Troop 212 was one of the only troops in Long Beach continuing to experience the outdoors on camping trips. Most FAS camping trips were planned in the desert as all the state run campsites were closed.

To add insult to the injury of Covid-19 restrictions, during 2021 the Troop’s long time charter organization and sponsor Grace Presbyterian Church decided that they did not want to host Troop 212 any longer. This was a complete shock to all. Through negotiations between Scoutmaster John and the church, the troop retained its number and looked for a new place to call home. After some searching the new home for Troop 212 was revealed.  Troop 212’s new home is Lakewood First United Methodist Church. LFUMC, located in Lakewood, is the meeting place and sponsor of the troop.  We are continuing a long tradition of Boy Scouts being a part of LFUMC. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the church.  

Another big change that happened is a new charter organization for Troop 212.  In order to not repeat mistakes of the past and to ensure the longevity of Troop 212, scouters of current and past scouts created Dynamic Leadership Training Group or DLT Group for short.  DLT Group’s mission is “To Assist Recognized Youth Group Organizations With Their Outdoor Program That Inspires Excellence In Their Leadership Training Program.” Becoming the Charter Organization of Troop 212 is only the beginning for this new charitable, non-profit organization’s endeavors.

Throughout these varied activities, Troop 212 maintained a vibrant spirit of adventure and learning, adapting to challenges and continuing to offer its scouts memorable experiences that built character, skills, and lasting friendships.