Boy Scout Troop 259


The latest news...

 

Fall 2019 Court of Honor


The 2019 Fall Court of Honor was held on October 21. Master of Ceremonies Devene L. coordinated the program and the Nuclear Illuminati Patrol provided the opening and closing flag ceremony. Outgoing Senior Patrol Leader Martin L. introduced Anthony W. as the SPL for the new term. Other scouts elected for troop leadership positions are Kacey Thomas - Assistant SPL, Joshua W. - Quartermaster and Librarian, Devene L - Bugler, Ian C, - Scribe, and Martin L. - Troop Guide. Rank Awards and Merit Badges (about 60!) were presented to the scouts. Historian Alex G. created a slideshow which you can view on our website's Media page here.



 

Community Messasge Boards


For his Eagle Project, Thomas C. led a team to construct, paint, and install two Community Message Boards for the City of West Sacramento, The message boards consist of a redwood frame holding corkboard to which messages, flyers, and other information can be attached. A plexiglas cover protects the contents from the weather. One messsage board is installed at Bryte Park, and other at Bridgeway Lake Community Park.

 


 

Summer Camping in Oregon


 

Oregon's Camp Makualla was the site of this year's summer camp. Story coming soon. Meanwhile, check out a photo album of our adventure!

 


 

July 4th Pocket Parade


Troop 259, along with Pack 259 marched in the annual 4th of July Pocket Parade. Both groups had excellent floats display the fun and activities of Scouting. The weather was perfect as the parade made its way along Windbridge Drive to Garcia Bend Park, where a community festival and food trucks were located. Thank you to all scouts who participated and distributed Scouting information and stickers to boys and girls along the parade route.



 

Lake Tahoe Camp



 

We took a trip to beautiful Lake Tahoe for our June troop campout. Departing Friday afternoon before rush-hour, we arrived at the campsite while there was still plenty of daylight, making it easier to set up camp. "I cooked a lot!" said Khonrad, who prepared food including hamburgers and southwestern salad, as part of his advancement requirementsh. On the second day, we went on a morning hike to Cascade Falls, and then returned for the arcade and some mini-golf. After dinner, we went down to the beach where some of us braved the cold water. Overall, the weather was very good -- a little cold but bearable -- and definitely not as cold as we experienced at the Klondike Derby. Other campsite activities included marshmallow roasting, and a game of softball.

 


 

Wood Badge Award


Congragulations to Committee Chairperson Phil Long, who was presented his Wood Badge award on July 1. Wood Badge recipients complete r\igorous training with four specific objectives: 1) View Scouting as a family of interrelated, values-based programs for youth; 2) Recognize contemporary leadership concepts used in corporate and government organizations that are relevant to Scouting; 3) Apply skills learned from participating in a successful working team; and 4) Revitalize their commitment by sharing in an experience that provides Scouting with needed leadership to accomplish its mission. Wood Badge is Scouting's premier training course, designed by the founder of Scouting, Lord Baden-Powell who directed the first course in 1919.



 

Capital City District Awards Dinner


The Capital City District Awards Dinner was held on May 10. After a delicious potluck meal, several district recognitions were made and awards were presented to scout families and leaders. In Troop 259, the Phil and Amber Long family received the Family of the Year award for distinguished service in actively supporting and promoting Scouting at the unit level. Phil and Chris Wong received the Spark Plug award for outstanding and enthusiastic service to Scouting. Additionally, Phil received the Bollhoefer Scout BSA Leader award. In 2008, the Scoutmaster Emeritus award was presented to Phil Bollhoefer, Troop 601 Scoutmaster (now Rancho Cordova), for his many years of services to the Scouting program in the Sacramento and Rancho Cordova area. Mr. Bollhoefer’s troop was never very large nor did they win many camporee awards, but he and his Scouts were always at each camporee and would always put on an event. He was also an Order of the Arrow Vigil member and attended council, district and OA events, Roundtables, trainings and was a mentor to Scouts and Scouter by following the Eagle Scout challenge to “Give back to scouting more than it has given you.”

 


 

Spring 2019 Court of Honor


Our Spring 2019 Court of Honor was held on April 22. Master of Ceremonies Martin L. conducted the event. Scoutmaster Pitcher gave an update on the various campouts and activities completed during the past six months, with scouts adding commentary about their personal experiences, and Kacey T's slidshow providing a visual summary. Several scouts were awarded merit badges and rank advancements, including the Eagle Scout rank earned by Diego Gonsales -- who became our troop's 182nd Eagle and who is one of five Eagle Scouts (Billy T. Hernandez, Eli Kwong, Joshua Fong, and Justin Jow) in the original Phoenix Patrol. The newly-elected scout leadership was introduced, followed by a Troop Circle and refreshments to close out the evening.

 


 

Capital City Klondike Derby 2019, by Anthony W.


The Klondike Derby is an annual tradition amongst scouters, where troops from each council gather together to battle it out against one another in numerous scout competitions, all culminating in a sled race against one another. The Klondike is a true testament to being prepared for harsh cold conditions which tests the mettle of any scout willing to rise to the challenge. This year’s Klondike Derby was no different.

 

This year Troop 259 only had 4 scouts that wanted to challenge the cold conditions and camp on over 2 feet of snow. What we lacked in number we made up with enthusiasm and determination. The memories of sleeping through temperatures of -4 degrees from the previous Klondike Derby deterred most from returning, but we managed to get one returning scout and three first time Klondike participants to go on the inter-troop competition. Fortunately this time the temperature only dropped to a low of a balmy -3 degrees.

 

That being said, the troop managed to complete a number of competitions and succeeded in not placing last in the sled race. Not too bad, considering the wood sled ended being a snow plow during the uphill sled race which took place upon up to 3 feet of fresh powder. An interesting side note is wet socks will freeze on your feet in -3 degree weather. Always make sure you have dry socks on snow campouts.

 

In all, everyone made it back alive and I am sure that every scout learned to never underestimate the elements and always double and triple check the conditions prior to leaving for a campout.

 


 

University of Scouting 2019, by Anthony W.


This year, University of Scouting had over 500 scout parents and scout youths in attendance that wanted to learn more about the program and how to use the BSA’s methods to improve their troops. Classes from backpacking to how to make merit badges memorable were offered this year. Many troop parents from 259 were attendance trying to learn or actually teaching others the way of scouting.

 

Something new to this year’s University of Scouting was a chance to earn a merit badge with a multitude of classes offered to scouters that attended. Our very own Scoutmaster John Pitcher had a chance to teach Emergency Preparedness to about 20 scouts including 3 scouts from Troop 259. That shows how much scouts want to follow their leaders.

 

The midway boasted a number of booths that included the Sacramento River cats, and other great programs offered by BSA such as the Nova Council and the Sea Scouting Program.

 

At the end of the day, scouts of all levels had a chance to learn, and it just goes to show that no matter your age, you should never stop learning.

 


 

Eagle Court of Honor


In January 2019, we held our first Eagle Court of Honor of the year, recognizing Eli Kwong, Zachary Pitcher, and Luke Thompson. These scouts completed a rigorous course of requirements and merit badges, and also developed and led a service project to earn their Eagle rank. For their projects, Eli painted for the Sutterville Elementary School a 12-foot by 10-foot mural based on the 7-Habits Tree, as a visual reminder for the students to live healthy, well-balanced lives. Zachary constructed and refurbished school benches for an outdoor classroom at Greenwood Elementary School. Luke constructed garden boxes for the Kennedy High School Garden Club.

 


 

New Year's Balloon Event at the Elks Lodge, by Anthony W.



Every year, the Elks Lodge hosts a New Year’s Gala where they drop a net of balloons on the dance floor. On December 31 a large contingent of scouts and scout parents met at the Elks Lodge in an annual tradition to blow up balloons for the event. The affair usually takes the Boy Scouts about two hours to complete, but this year in particular one of the Assistant Scoutmasters, Phil Long concocted a contraption that made quick work of the task.

 

Using left over PVC pipe, an air compressor and some elbow grease, Mr. Long built an ingenious contraption creating four stations where balloons could be simultaneously filled. After initial setup, the scouts had filled approximately 400 balloons in 30 minutes! Many of the people setting up the event wanted to get Mr. Long’s contact information for the next event requiring balloons.

 

It just goes to show that some ingenuity and an objective can lead to great innovation.

 


 

Eagle Project at the Chinese Community Church, by Anthony W.

 



It is never a bad time for a prospective Eagle Scout to do a project, and two days before Christmas is as good a time as any to help the community. One of our ambitious scouters Michael, had organized a sizable contingent of scouts to lend a hand to make quick work of the project and the Chinese Community Church was the beneficiary of a new planter box/seating area to replace an old weed patch.

 

We were fortunate enough to be graced by the presence of Troop 259’s founder Bob Fong and his wife at the project where they imparted some of the rich history of the troop to some of the scout parents present. They were also kind enough to bring cookies as well. When completed Michael will make the 183rd scout to join the ranks of Eagle. That is an amazing scouting heritage to be a part of.

 

Michael delegated and instructed the scouts present to make sure that everyone had a task. Some of the younger helpers did a great job finishing off the snacks more than the project, but I am sure that their attention span will increase with age. You have to work with what is there, that is part of scouting too.

 

A big part of an Eagle project is to make the community a better place with the assistance of people in the troop. It takes leadership, planning, and troop pride to make a project come together. You want to make the community better than it was originally, and I think Michael did exactly that.

 

In the end, the Chinese Community Church will have a great new spot to plant the seeds to make a brighter spot on this world.

 


 

The Scenic Sacramento Historic Trails, by Anthony W.

 



On this Sunday afternoon, Troop 259 completed the Sacramento Historic Trail. This is a nationally-recognized trail that retraces the route of the road cut through the woods by Captain Sutter in 1839. Some of the most historic Sacramento sites viewed include, the Sacramento Railroad Museum, The State Capitol Building, Sutter’s Fort, Crocker Art Museum, and Historic Old Sacramento.

 

The 5-mile hike could not have been on a more picturesque autumn day. The beautiful leaves in their hues of brown, yellow and red were really quite a sight. The weather was also a brisk 50 degrees with the sun to offer us some warmth.

 

The hike went relatively smoothly, and I am happy to report there was no crying today. Several scouts had picked up any trash they found on the walk which was part of our service project. There was one scout that asked where Sutter’s Fort was when we were standing outside of it. That same scout also asked where the State Capitol Building was when we were outside of that building. Unfortunately that scout was our assigned navigator. Luckily, other scouts were there to lend a hand.

 

In all we had 6 scouts earn the award, one future scout to experience the trail, 4 adult leaders that joined the group, and 1 scoutmaster that decided to grace us with his blessing and knowledge.

 

There was one moment in front of Sutter’s Fort where the Scoutmaster did impart the message of the true scouting experience in a simple statement. He said,” scouting is what you make of it.” Such a simple message has so much meaning. It is the realization that the power to decide what this troop does, and what trips the scouts go on is all in the hands of the scouts.

 

We always complain that nobody listens to us, and nobody takes us seriously. This is the one place that is making an effort to ask us what we want out of scouting. Very few places place so much power in people so young. It is imperative that we take such an offer seriously and decide for ourselves what our scouting experience will be.

 


 

Sugarloaf Campout, Sacramento Historic Trails Hike, Merit Badge Saturday!, by Anthony W.


As you can see from the title, there were a lot of unforeseen changes to the itinerary the weekend of November 10, 2018.

 

Due to scheduling conflicts, the Sugarloaf Campout had to be cancelled, so two Assistant Scoutmasters had planned to do the Sacramento Historic Trail that goes through Old Sacramento’s Railroad Museum to Sutter’s Fort and back. However, at the last minute another wildfire in Northern California combined with high winds made the air quality unsafe for outdoor activity.

 

With quick thinking the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters obtained permission to use the Elks Lodge Saturday afternoon to conduct a de facto Merit Badge Saturday and sent out the announcement Friday night.

 

The turnout for the last minute change was surprisingly strong. We had a total of seven scouts including myself that attended and in all there were seven scouts that completed their Architecture Merit Badge, and one partial for the Sustainability Merit Badge.

 

The Assistant Scoutmasters informed me that they would try and schedule a Merit Badge Saturday every month so other scouts could obtain merit badges at a more frequent level. Please let your patrol leaders know what badges you are trying to obtain, and we will make it happen.

 

Well when life gives you lemons you make lemonade. When life gives a scout lemons, they make merit badges!

 

Things don’t always go the way you plan them to, in fact more often than not, things will go awry, but scouting prepares us to face those adversities. Thinking on your toes and adjusting to whatever comes your way is a virtue of a true scout.

 


 

Scout Expo at Beale Air Force Base, by Anthony W.

 



During the month of October, Troop 259 was given the chance to go to the Beale Air Force Base for the Scout Expo. It is a huge event which had many displays and booths set up as well as live performances. The approximate number of attendees was over 3,200 scouters!

 

The gun range was a popular attraction, because who could resist shooting things? The NOVA Counsil also did a fantastic job setting up the stations, which had a lot of hands-on exhibits, and a member of the Tuskegee Airmen present. The flight line prepared a Global Hawk and a U-2 Spy Plane.

 

The camping site was slightly overgrown with vegetation. Perhaps the coordinator thought that the plants would cushion our tents, but the prickly plants ended up being more of a pain in the bottom than anything else. The scouts finally overcame them as the days went on with the sheer weight of our supplies.

 

Then during the trip instead of having to walk multiple miles from station to station we were now given multiple buses to get across the vast base. You may have to wait 2 hours for each bus, but that is a small price to pay for not having to walk to your destination.

 

Then as the day approached to dusk we attended a show. The Air Force Base had a stage show which was quite a production with live performances and a set from the world renowned Dave the Horn Guy which branded a whopping 24 horns! His rendition of the Super Mario theme song could bring a tear to the eyes of any gamer.

 

Finally, we had a motivational speaker talking about how your mindset is your greatest limiting factor rather than your perosnal physical ability. That message really resonated with everyone there. If there was one thing that everybody should have learned that campout, it was to never underestimate yourself, and to always strive to be a better version of you.

 


 

Fall Eagle Scout Projects, by Anthony W.

 



This fall, Troop 259 had a couple of Life Scouts trying to complete their Eagle projects. These projects exemplify what scouting should be. A project that not only gives back to the community, but also rallies the other scouts to join in and help out. The project also allows the Eagle Applicant to demonstrate all of the leadership skills gained throughout the scouting experience and apply what knowledge was gained.

 

The scouts did not disappoint. The first applicant Diego organized to build sensory boxes for a local preschool. Not only did he have scouts and parents from Troop 259 help, he also recruited scouts from Venturing Troop 50 to lend a hand. That’s ambitious recruiting! Diego directed everyone so they would have a task at all times that was within their capabilities, and he even had younger siblings of one of the scouts lending a hand and feeling like part of the project. The two day affair ended with beautifully constructed tables for a well deserving school.

 

The second Eagle Applicant Luke had arranged to build planter boxes for Kennedy High School. The project was constructed at Luke’s command and Troop 259 made short work of the project. It was the first time that some of the scouts used power tools and it was good to see that all fingers and toes were still intact afterwards.

 

The Eagle Scout project is not a simple task. One of the aspiring Eagle Applicants said, “It is something that cannot be done overnight and requires a lot of planning and preparation.” For that reason, all scouts aspiring for the coveted Eagle Scout accolade should plan well ahead of time to complete the project. Ask prior Eagle Scouts for guidance and advice. Draw on the experience of others.

 

Always plan ahead. Not just for the next day or the next week. Plan a little further. My father always says, “Just because you are moving doesn’t mean you are going anywhere. “ The roadmap we make for ourselves should be aimed at a specific goal and we should always begin with the end in mind.

 


 

Tinfoil Dinner

 

 

During October, one of the troop meetings focused on Tinfoil Dinners, where scouts prepared a meal wrapped in aluminum foil for cooking in a fire pit. While some scouts built the fire, others made dinner. SPL Thomas found a recipe of beef patty with gravy, shredded potato, grated cheese, and sliced carrots. After he demonstrated how to lay out the ingredients inside the foil, other scouts followed the instructions. Then it was time to place the meals in the fire pit and wait. And wait. And wait some more. While waiting, some scouts had time to work on advancement requirements. With the troop meeting almost finished and starving scouts hungry for dinner, the foil packets were removed from the fire and opened for inspection and tasting. Unfortunately, the ingredients weren't cooked thoroughly enough for eating. Next time we'll need to start earlier, or maybe try again at the next campout where the packets can cook longer in a campfire.


 

Brannan Island Campout, by Anthony W.

 

 

The Brannan Island campout was a great opportunity for our younger scouts to complete advancement requirements toward first class. The primary objective of the campout however was trying to create future leaders in the troop, hence the mandatory ILST training was imposed on the scouts. The goal of the training was to teach leadership, communication, the EDGE method of teaching, and teamwork.

 

At first glance it seemed like a waste of time as Troop 259 was already a fine oiled machine with great troop leadership. After hearing the boy scout way of teaching other scouts, I realized that perhaps we had a ways to go. We were dejected but not defeated. I understood that as a scout at any level, we must constantly improve upon ourselves and never be happy with the status quo.

 

During the ILST training we played numerous games like “Capture the Flag” while dodging a plethora of gopher holes, and the “Telephone Game” where nobody could guess the message delivered. It took the scouts a while to warm up to the concepts being taught, but eventually the lessons started to sink in, and we left better scouts than we arrived.

 

As we all began to settle down we started a campfire roasting marshmallows, playing card games, and conversing with friends to end the day.

 

Overall Brannan Island was a great campout. The one thing all scouts should have learned from the ILST training is understand the importance of being helpful. By working together you can get activities done at a much faster rate. You need to share responsibility and not wait to be asked to help before asking if help is needed.

 

For that reason my departing message is to never forget that a scout is helpful.

 


 

Starry Night Campout, by Anthony W.

 

 

Overnight campouts are needed by scouts of all levels. The troop makes every effort to hold a campout at least once a month. This was quite difficult in August as campsites throughout Northern California were compromised due to the large number of fires that were burning throughout the dry summer.

 

This was not an issue for several ambitious scouts which decided to hold a local campout at the Elks Lodge. The trek to their campsite was an arduos hike of 15’ and tent placement was a test of true scouting skill as the Elks Lodge grass area was freshly cut to a perfect height of 1 ½”.

 

There were 2 scout cooks on duty so there was no shortage of food. One of the scouts regaled the troop with a foreign dish known as “Cup-O-Noodles”. The scout to adult ratio of 1:1 was fantastic and it showed how involved scout parents can be.

 

When night arrived, we made an attempt to view the stars, but the starry night campout had to deal with the heavy haze caused by all of the local wild fires. There were a whole 3 stars visible that night, but the moon was clearly visible.

 

The rest of the evening was just talk over the scouts interests, aspirations, college plans, and scouting experiences. I would like to report that nobody present had a burning desire to become a mime. At least none that were vocally expressed to the group.

 

At the end of the campout we were all a little closer to Eagle. Just a reminder to ALL scouts, camping nights and campouts are a must for all level of scouts. Whether for rank advancement or the camping merit badge, try and get those camping nights in especially if it is a campout close to home.

 

Remember, never for get to always “be prepared”.

 


 

The Land Park Volunteer Corps, by Anthony W.

 

 

During early August Troop 259 participated in helping clean the historic William Land Park. A total of 7 people from our troop helped do a multitude of tasks including trimming trees and bushes, cleaning, weeding different areas throughout the park, and picking up litter. The Land Park Volunteer Corps meets the first Saturday of every month and has been maintaining all of Land Park for years proving that even a few helping hands can truly make a difference.

 

The beautiful Land Park had just celebrated 100 years of providing a wonderful place for the community to gather. From the Sacramento Zoo to a 9 hole golf course, the park is considered a local treasure. A worker with the City of Sacramento Parks Division that was a site supervisor for the event stated that due to budgetary issues, the parks staff maintaining the massive 220 acre site was reduced to 3 full time workers.

 

By helping out with different volunteering programs you do an important role in maintaining your neighborhood. If you ever need help finding volunteer hours you can always ask our assistant scoutmasters and they would be glad to help schedule activities. The next meeting of the Land Park Volunteer Corps will be September 8 between 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. The volunteers meet behind Fairytale Town and breakfast and lunch will be provided.

 

As a scout you need service hours at all levels of the program from just starting off all the way to Eagle, so take the chance to make a positive impact on the environment and your community!

 


 

Eagle Scouts ~ Class of 2017

 

 

Four new Troop 259 Eagle Scouts were recognized at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony on Sunday August 5 at the Elks Lodge #6. Jeremiah Fong, Zachary Byrne, Joshua Fong, and Justin Jow join 176 other Eagle Scouts developed by Troop 259 over its 52-year history. Not everybody earns the Eagle Scout rank; only about 5 percent of all Scouts do so. To achieve this highest advancement rank in Scouting, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills, and complete an Eagle project benefitting a school, religious institution, or community. For his project, Jeremiah designed, planned, and provided leadership for the construction and installation of a concrete tricycle path at the Greenhaven Lutheran Church’s Angel’s Nest Preschool. Zachary revitalized the Genevieve Didion Elementary School garden by removing weeds, painting garden boxes, installing stepping stones and bark, and creating planter box signs. Joshua built and installed for the Chinese Community Church a library resource box to enhance community outreach by providing church resource material, newsletters, and community announcements. Justin repaired and restored ten damaged and weathered benches along the Pocket Canal Parkway and at the Charter Pointe Park for the City of Sacramento.




Troop 259 Conquers Camp Winton, by Anthony W.

 

 

At Camp Winton practically all the scouts had fun. Over by the campsite, there were activities, campfires and just small things the staff did that makes you feel the scout spirit. The constant songs and neverending skits made for very few dull moments. The camp had a beautiful waterfront, great food, and to top it all off, a trading shack selling cheese puffs for only five dollars a bag.

 

Starting with the activities there were different merit badges and rank requirement that you could complete ranging from the required Eagle Badges to the elusive fingerprinting merit badge. Then on top of that, there were adventure team activities for first-class members which included capture the flag at night as well as hiking to an Indian cave. Our Patrol Leader did a great job rallying the scouts to complete service activities and cheering during the flag ceremonies. You could really feel the pride from Troop 259 as we cheered to be the loudest group. Only one of us lost their voices to this noble cause. On one of the campfires, the staff passed out awards for how clean your campsite was. Troop 259 surprisingly did not place in the top groups. If there were only the highest sugar intake award, the troop would have been first place based on the number of Mountain Dews consumed by the scouts. In the end, all of the scouts worked hard towards their merit badges and class requirements. The attending scouts completed a whopping 54 merit badges and 23 partial merit badges! Every scout gained many memories, a fistful of merit badges, and a newfound sense of pride. We all took a part of Camp Winton with us, quite literally as the camp was extremely dusty. I am sure if given the opportunity to do so, most of us would return to Camp Winton.



 

A Good Turn Daily, by Anthony W.

 

 

Late July Allan Campbell, the Scoutmaster for Troop 127 in Lake Oswego Oregon was frantically making calls to local BSA troops in the vicinity in an attempt to find anyone willing to house their troop overnight as they made the long journey to their summer camp destination at Emerald Bay. Troop 127 originally had plans to stay with another Troop in Redding California, but due to the devastating Carr fire, their plans were suddenly changed at the last second.

 

Mr. Campbell was fortunate to contact one particular Sacramento based troop known as Troop 259 where the head scoutmaster Mr. John Pitcher enthusiastically took the chance to show a troop in need what scouting was truly about. Within a short period of time, Mr. Pitcher was able to coordinate accommodations at the Elks Lodge for their departing and returning rest stops. Judi Tracy the Treasurer of the Elks Lodge even volunteered to provide a free breakfast for the weary travelers on their return trip.

 

It is one thing to know the scout slogan, it is a simple concept to understand. Actually putting it into practice is what truly separates us as true scouts. In this day and age, there are a lot of people that tell you all the wonderful things they are going to do, but to actually lead by example and selflessly take the time and effort to do them is where most people fall short.

 

Thank you Mr. Pitcher for leading by example, and let us all do our best to do a good turn daily.



 

Mother-And-Son Camp Adventure, by Mrs. Veal and Mrs. Hernandez

 

 

This year's mother-and-son camp was a one-day, overnight camp at the Glory Hole Recreation Area near Angels Camp. Our campsite was elevated so that we could look down on the lake. The area was very grassy around us and the park ranger informed us that last weekend he had caught 25 rattlesnakes. So, that was a highlight! We were advised to stay out of the tall grass. At least the grass had been weed-whacked around our campsite so that we could pitch our tents, but you could still see the snake holes. There were nice bathrooms and showers, but they were closed, so we had to use porta-potties.

 

The lake didn't look clean enough for swimming but the scouts were able to catch pollywogs. We all went on a hike and saw a couple of snakes on the pathway. Fortunately Anthony's dad was ahead of us and stopped us until the snakes moved out of the way. Yonathan cooked dinner, and Ian helped. We had spaghetti with green tossed salad and rolls. Afterwards we had a campfire which took awhile to start -- finally enough sticks were found to build a proper teepee fire. We made s'mores, played board games, and then it was time for bed. Daytime temperatures had been very nice and it wasn't too cold at night. Yonathan was up early to make a breakfast of sausage, eggs, and fruit. Overall, it was a great weekend. The weather was very warm and we had a good time. So there you have it -- our mother-and-son camping adventure of 2018!



 

The Serpent Patrol

 

 

The Serpent Patrol has been busy working on their patrol flag, patrol box, and advancement items. Patrol members are Diego, Chris, Kyle, JoJo, Anthony, Kacey, and Cameron. Their patrol box features whimsical artwork showing serpents stalking a frog, lizard, rabbit, and rat around the box. Their patrol yell is "Here we lie serpents; Ready to strike, day or night; World belongs to us."



 

Breakfast with Santa

 

 

In December, Troop 259 assisted the Elks with their annual Breakfast with Santa event by bussing tables and setting placemats and silverware. The event is a fundraiser for the Elks' Purple Pig Project, which provides therapy for disabled children. Approximately 500 diners enjoyed an Elks breakfast of omelets, waffles, pancakes, potatoes, sausage, bacon, and more. It was a very busy morning but the scouts were up to the task. One of the guests thanked Scoutmaster Pitcher personally by commenting on how polite the scouts were, in addressing guests by "Ma'am" and "Sir" and doing a great job. The Elks invite everybody to breakfast every Sunday, 8:30-11:00 am. Only $10 for a great menu of breakfast favorites.



 

Camping at the NorCal Adventure Area, by Martin L.

 

 

The Yuba Camp was great fun. It was at the Yuba NorCal Adventure Area. which is a new district campsite. When we arrived,it was really cold and our toes were freezing. We had a sack dinner, and then set up our tents. After that, a campfire and then it was off to bed. On Saturday, we worked on some Advancement requirements and got them signed off. Martin, Jakari, Ian, and Josh helped prepare the meals which included french toast and breakfast burritos for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch, and spaghetti for dinner. We had a game of hide-and-seek, and then roasted marshmallows for s'mores over a warm campfire. We saw a bobcat, cat, and deer in the area. We were a little scared but the animals didn't bother us. The camp seemed pretty nice. it has a waterfront that you can to hike down to. The camp is still being built and we wouldn't mind going there again after it's complete. You can see all the exciting construction progress at this blog.



Veterans Day at the Pioneer House

 

 

On November 10th, we helped Pioneer House residents celebrate Veterans Day. Many Veterans from the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and other branches reside at the Pioneer House Retirement Community. Chris led the opening ceremony and Pledge of Allegiance, and Jakari acknowledged each Veteran by name. The scouts served cookies and along with Scoutmaster Pitcher, personally thanked Veterans for their service. Pioneer House residents and staff appreciated the scouts for taking the time to visit and honor Veterans on their special day. See more photos here.


 

Fall Court of Honor

 

 

October 2017 brought our Fall Court of Honor. View some event photos here. Luke was the Master of Ceremonies, and newly-elected Senior Patrol Leader Jayden led the opening flag ceremony and Pledge of Allegiance. We had several rank advancements this evening, as well as merit badges earned at summer camp. Scoutmaster Pitcher and Assistant Scoutmaster Phil provided a display of scout items from their days as Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts. One of the Court of Honor highlights was the skit performed entirely by former and current Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters. We closed with a Troop Circle. Thanks to all who brought desserts and treats to share.



 

Sly Park Camping, by Perrin R.

 

Sly Park Camp

 

The camping trip went great! At 5:00 we packed up everything we need: pillows, sleeping bags, toothbrushes, toothpaste, flashlights, sleeping pads, swim trunks, extra pairs of socks and underwear, clean shirts I don't care about, and snacks.

 

On our way to Sly Park we went to Carl’s Jr. to get dinner, and Safeway for Boca burgers for my brother Josiah. When we got to Sly Park, we unpack our stuff, built up our tents, set up our sleeping bags, and turned on some lanterns. I went to sleep at 9’o clock-ish. The next morning, we woke up at 7:00 a.m. and had omelets for breakfast! We had to make our own. Next, we went on a long hike to the waterfall and back. Plus, I got to survive the coldness in the water. “I got Clif bars, trail mix, and beef jerky in my backpack so the boys can eat during the hike,” my father said. I got a little bit of time to swim in the lake. We had sandwiches for lunch and burgers for dinner. We hung out around the campfire and ate some S’mores. I went to sleep at the same time.

 

I woke up the next morning, we had breakfast, and we packed our stuff back up and we went back to Elks Lodge and put lanterns and tents into the “Jolly Green” box. We have had such a great time at the campsite. I wish that next time we can go there again.

 

Here are a few facts for safety at camp:

*Always remember to put on insect repellents.

*If your foot cramps, lift your leg up in the air.

*Stay away from the fire.

*Be on the lookout for WILD ANIMALS!

 

Also, you have to use your outdoor code: "As an American I will do my best to be clean in my outdoor manners, be careful with fire, be considerate in the outdoors, and be conservation minded." Always remember that when you are going camping. In conclusion, always be nice to all of the Boy Scouts who help you. By the way, be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent!




Wood Badge Award

 

Wood Badge

 

In June, Scoutmaster Pitcher was presented the Wood Badge award by district representatives. This award recognizes significant achievement in leadership and service to young people. To earn his Wood Badge, Mr. Pitcher completed lots of classroom work, outdoor training, and a project related to what he learned in the Wood Badge program. He uses this experience to improve Troop 259's overall Scouting experience, including camping, adventure, and opportunities for scouts to participate in the National Youth Leadership Training program. Congratulations to Scoutmaster Pitcher for a job well done!



Memorial Day Honor Guard

 

Memorial Day

 

On Memorial Day, we presented Certificates of Appreciation to veterans who reside at the Bookdale Senior Living apartments. Scouts went from room to room distributing certificates, shaking hands, and thanking the veterans for their service to our country. One veteran proudly showed us his display of Boy Scout awards including Eagle and Order of the Arrow. The veterans were appreciative that the scouts remembered them on Memorial Day because some people forget what this special day means and how important it is.



 

Mission Peak and Mt. Diablo Adventure

 

Mission Peak

 

We had a double event for our March campout. Our weekend started at the foot of Mission Peak. We did some compass work and map orienteering before heading out on a 7-mile roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of 2000 feet. Everyone, including parents and younger scouts were able to make it to the top! Zach did the cooking, which was really nice because dinner was ready when we completed the hike. The following day was spent at Mt. Diablo's Rock City where we explored the holes and cave formations in the rock. At the top of Mt. Diablo, we visited the Summit Museum which exhibits dioramas, photos, and geological facts about how Mt. Diablo was formed. We also enjoyed the great views; with binoculars we could see all the way to Sacramento. Thank you to Mr. Thompson for coordinating this fun trip!



Snow Camping

 

Snow Camp

 

The 2017 Klondike Derby was cancelled, due to snow-blocked roads. But that didn't stop Troop 259 from having its own snow camping event at Mr. Thompson's Cabin near Echo Lake. In addition to having fun in the snow, scouts learned how to set up tents in the snow and to build trenches. They also built two snow shelters, one with a roof and one without. Eli was brave, and spent the night in one of the shelters. The cabin warmed up nicely with the firestove. Saturday's weather was perfect, with bright sunshine and a light dusting of snow. The snow was already so high that the gigantor camp stove was standing at roof level. Scouts took turns working on cooking requirements and prepared eggs/sausage for breakfast, hamburgers for lunch, and spaghetti for dinner. Thanks to the Thompson family for the use of their cabin, and to veteran "Snow Man" Mr. Krieg for lessons in building snow structures.




Summer Camping at Marin Sierra, by Justin J.

 

Marin Sierra 2016

 

Scouts headed out of Sacramento July 24th for the Troop's annual summer camp trip, this time to Marin Sierra. This was the first time camping for a lot of new scouts in our troop. When the scouts arrived at camp, they were given a tour like always. They were later given their campsite which was Lodgepole, the furthest campsite from the mess hall, which meant lots of walking. Some tents had holes and rips in them. They were in such bad condition, the Troop had to set up their own Troop tents they had brought along with them. When setting up tents, the Troop found out the hard way that there was a hornet's nest inside a stump. Brandon got stung on the ankle shortly after the discovery. The mess hall food was okay. "They should've given us bigger portions, in my opinion," said Chris. On Monday, merit badge classes began. Marin Sierra has a very wide variety of merit badges. "They all seemed easy, but First Aid was hard!," said Kacey. Many other scouts said the same thing about First Aid. "Fingerprinting and Chess were really easy merit badges," noted Gentry and Brandon. At summer camp, there is one day when the kitchen staff get a day off, and that is Jamboree Day. Food is given to the Troop, and all meals for the day are cooked by the troop themselves in their campsite. "Lunch was the best because it was grilled cheese sandwiches," said Chris, who was the cook this time around. Merit badges continued throughout the week, and during free time between merit badges, scouts climbed Poop-out hill, which was a very tall mountain right next to their campsite. "The view was amazing," said Gentry. Also on their free time, scouts purchased items at the good ol' Trading Post. Marin Sierra isn't Marin Sierra unless you buy the famous Choco Taco! "They were interesting!" said Brandon. "They were good, but I wouldn't get it again." said Junin. The next day, dodge ball was played as a camp-wide game. Our Troop was put up against a team made up of four different troops that were all really good. However, at the end of the day, our troop was awarded second place. On the last day, a big campfire is held, where scouts and staff perform skits, sing songs, and have fun. Tired and pretty dirty, it was time to head back home Saturday morning.



50th Anniversary Celebration, by Justin J. and Matthew S.

 

Anniversary

 

On July 16th, Troop 259 celebrated their 50th anniversary with a picnic at Garcia Bend park. Nearly the entire troop was present, along with several military Veterans, some of who were also former scouters. Elks Lodge #6 representatives attended as well. Speeches were given by Scoutmaster Pitcher, former Scoutmasters, Scouts, and Bob and Mary Fong -- the founders of Pack 259 and Troop 259. Current troop scouts were personally given special pins from the Elks Lodge's Exalted Ruler, Conrad De Castro. The pins were to recognize the troop's milestone anniversary. Veterans socialized with scouts during lunch while enjoying hot dogs, chips, cookies, watermelon, and drinks. Everybody was pleased to see the troop continuing after 50 years. As of today,Troop 259 has about 30 scouters in total, and we're still "259 -- Top Of The Line!"


 

July 4 Pocket Parade, by Justin J.

 

Pocket Parade

 

Scouts of Troop 259 gathered in front of Lisbon elementary school Monday morning July 4, in preparation for the annual Pocket 4th of July Parade. Many groups and organizations like the Sacramento Youth Band, and Kovar's were there as well. Our troop was in charge of holding the troop flag and a state flag. Four scouts, Justin J, Kyle, Brandon, and Justin S were taken by surprise when a parade organizer told them that there was no parade color guard. With little notice, they found themselves leading the entire Pocket Parade. Other scouts carried the Elks banner and walked with the Elks Lodge members. The parade began at Lisbon Elementary and ended at Garcia Bend Park, where there was a community fair.

 


 

Catapult Night, by Justin J.

 

Catapult

 

On June 13, scouts Justin and Kyle led catapult night. It was interesting to try something new, as the troop has never had the idea of building a catapult. Scouts were able to pick from four different catapult designs, and built the design receiving the most votes. Water balloons were used for ammo. It took a while to get some scouts focused, but before we knew it, our soon-to-be catapult was in progress. After creating the catapult itself, we realized that there was no good way to hold the water balloon. We did have a milk carton, but it would either pop the balloon or get it stuck when launching. Some scouts went into the jolly green giant to hunt out some possible items we could use for the bucket. They found a dust pan, some string, and lots of duct tape. We ended up making a makeshift bucket to hold the water balloon, and it was a success! Scouts took turns launching the water balloons, however some couldn't resist the urge of a water balloon fight. When ammo ran out, the catapult was taken apart and the meeting ended with popsicles to cool off.



Angel Island Backpacking Camp, by Justin J.

 

Angel Island

 

The Ice Dragon Patrol camped at Angel Island in April. Taking the Ferry from Tiburon, we unloaded our gear at the dock and backpacked uphill to our campground overlooking the bay. After setting up camp, we hiked three miles to the Immigration Station to visit the museum. The exhibits were interesting and gave us an idea of the journey by immigrants to the United States from 1910-40. After hiking back to camp, Chris checked items off his duty roster, William and Joaquin worked on some Scouter/Tenderfoot requirements, and head cook Christian and his team prepared a delicious dinner of jambalaya, cornbread muffins, green salad, juice, and cookies. After dinner, some scouts explored missle batteries and took in the sunset and city lights. See some picture of our exciting weekend here.



 

Beal's Point and Mormon Island, by Matthew S.

 

Beals Point

 

On the weekend of September 19-20, the Scouts of Troop 259 went camping at Beal's Point. On Friday a couple of Scouts went out into the lake, which is now nearly empty because of the drought. Just a few years ago, the lake was full during the annual Beal's Point outing! Saturday morning the Scouts went exploring on the opposite side of the lake, where a "lost city" of building foundations and tree stumps exists. This was all that was left of Mormon Island, which was a mining community flooded when Folsom Dam was built. It was neat to see such a mysterious site. Later that afternoon a few of the Scouts headed back out to the lake to take a swim. That evening they spent exploring the beautiful campground, which featured luxurious bathrooms with showers and a nice campfire area at the middle of camp. Squirrels and birds were everywhere! The Scouts enjoyed the cooking and leadership of SPL Damian during the trip. They concluded the trip with a cozy campfire featuring skits and jokes. Here are some pictures of the dry Folsom lakebed and some Mormon Island artifacts.



 

Silver Lake Backpacking Camp, by Justin J.

 

Silver Lake

 

On August 28th, we went to the Silver Lake Campground in the Eldorado National Forest. This was a backpacking trip from Eldorado National Forest to Malani Lake where they then went swimming, and Zach B. tried his luck at fishing. The hike itself was 2 miles, and on the way, they passed by an abandoned Boy Scout Summer camp. "That camp was pretty cool-looking." said Damian. Zach P., Mr. Fong, and Damian were the only ones who went swimming. Mr. Fong pushed Zach into the water, which wasn't too cold. At night the moon was so bright, the group didn't need a single flashlight to set up tents. But it looked like rain, so they built a shelter just in case. The rain held off and the scouts were able to sleep under the stars. "In the morning, we saw the sun and the moon at different angles at the same time! It was one interesting sight," said Scoutmaster Pitcher. Here are some pictures of the beautiful scenery.

 


 

Summer Camp Adventures, by Justin J.

 

Camp Makualla

 

This year, we attended summer camp at Camp Makualla, in Crescent Lake, Oregon. After an overnight Amtrak trip, we arrived in Chemult, where a school bus took us directly to our camp site where Mr. Kazee and his trailer were waiting with our gear. Makualla has plenty of green forest and a sparkling lake and waterfront. The scouts were able to complete about 30 Merit Badges -- including Motor Boating, Shotgun, Lifesaving, and Astronomy. On the first day, we won the Golden Spicket, which is awarded daily to the troop with the cleanest campsite and earns that troop the right to be first in line for dinner. The food service was excellent, with items like oven-roasted chicken, hamburgers,breakfast burritos, and bbq steak with au gratin potatoes. Troop 259 proved they were Top of the Line by winning the "Tougher Than A Staffer" biathlon relay of 22 Rifle, Shotgun, Knot Tie, Archery, Hawk Throw, Swimming, and Canoeing. "We annihilated them!" exclaimed Zach, who with his teammates set a new camp record which will be hard to beat. Before heading home, we spent a day relaxing and touring Crater Lake. Overall, summer camp was great, as you can see from these pictures.



 

Honor Flight, by Matthew S.

On June 4, an Honor Flight dinner was hosted by the Elks Lodge. Troop 259 provided the honor guard and was pleased to serve dinner to the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans attending. A delicious dinner of salad, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables was followed by cake, fruit compote, and ice cream for dessert. Afterwards, the scouts bussed tables while the veterans visited and prepared for their flight to Washington DC to visit the war memorials. The Elks Lodge has several veterans as members, and one of those who went on the Honor Flight was actually at the Battle of Iwo Jima and saw the US Flag being raised in 1945! See some pictures of the Honor Flight dinner here.

Honor Flight



 

2015 Scout Expo

During the weekend of April 17-19, we went to Scout Expo right after school let out Friday. The Expo was held at none other than Beale Air Force Base. When we arrived, it was a big open field, very warm, and hardly any trees. Over 6,000 people attended the Expo. There were so many cars, that Mr. Pitcher wasn't allowed to drive his trailer next to our camp to drop off equipment. So we had to carry it all across the field. We were lucky to have Mrs. Gonsales' red wagon to help us out. On Saturday, we had the options to do merit badges, visit exhibits, or take a bus down to the flight line. Saturday night dinner was chili dogs, corn, and juice prepared by head cook Diego and his assistants Zach and Christian. At night, we had a closing ceremony with an arena show with a lot of interesting performers. Everybody enjoyed Dave The Horn Guy, and especially David Garibaldi, a very experienced and creative artist. On Sunday, Abraham represented the troop in the Fun Run before morning services. Click here, to see some Scout Expo pictures.

Scout Expo



 

Fire Without Matches

At this week's Troop meeting, we had a firestarting contest, to see who was the fastest to build a fire and pop some popcorn. Before we started, Mr. (Matt) Fong gave us a demonstration on which burns the longest: waxed wood chips, or cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly, or alcohol, or hand sanitizer. We found that the waxed wood chips and cotton ball with alcohol worked well. Next, we split into teams to build and start our fires. We couldn't use matches, so we used a flint and steel. Once the fires were burning, we got some popcorn kernels mixed with a little oil, placed into foil shaped in a ball and stapled to a stick. Some batches turned out good, and some burned. It helps to have enough air in your foil ball and not put it directly into the fire.

 

Fire Popcorn

 


 

Cub Scouts, Start Your Engines!

Troop 259 provided Pit Crew services at Pack 259's recent Pinewood Derby, held at the School of Engineering and Science. It wasn't long ago that our Boy Scouts were Cub Scouts and raced their own cars down the high-speed aluminum track, with speeds reaching 155 MPH. Congratulations to the Cub Scouts advancing to the District Pinewood Derby next month!

Pinewood Derby

 


 

Sharing Christmas Cheer

On December 20, 2014, Troop 259 teamed up with Packs 259 and 380 at the Applewood Care Center. The weather was cold and windy, but as soon as we entered, it was warm and welcoming. The care center was filled with festivity and people were in the Christmas spirit. We sang songs such as Jingle Bells, Frosty The Snowman, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer to the residents. Abraham - our Eagle Scout - led the songs.The songs put the residents in the Christmas Spirit and some even sang along. Afterwards, Mr. Yanez presented a Christmas wreath to the Director of the care center. Some scouts extended the Christmas Spirit by walking a couple of blocks to Kobasic's Candy Shop to celebrate.

Caroling




Toys for Tots

Troop 259 contributed toys to the Toys for Tots campaign, chaired by the Elks Lodge 6 US Marine Corps Reserves. On December 6, a big truck arrived at the lodge to pick up lots of bicycles, helmets, games, toys, and other items donated by Elks members, scouts, and others. Thank you all for helping less fortunate children in our community on Christmas Day.




 

Sugarloaf Ridge Campout

We stayed at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, for our June camping trip. Located in the town of Kenwood, the park features many hiking trails. The reward for hiking up to the 2,759’ elevation of Bald Mountain was beautiful views of the Napa Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, and more. A special attraction was visiting the nearby Robert Ferguson Observatory at night to view the stars and even the rings of Saturn, though telescopes at the observatory.

 

 


 

Memorial Day Ceremonies

Troop 259 performed Flag ceremonies on annual Memorial Day at the Pioneer House Retirement Community. Many Veterans live at the Pioneer House, and they were appreciative of the Scouts’ participation. The VFW Post 8358 did a 21-gun salute and played Taps, to close the ceremony. Many thanks to Cub Scout Pack 259 for joining us in the ceremony.