Friday, October 30, 2009

Scouting the Hudson

As an Eagle Scout, one of my goals at Beczak was to develop a new and dynamic scout curriculum featuring an overnight camping program here at the center. My goal became a reality as Beczak held several “A Night at the Nature Center” programs this summer and fall. Two of our pilot groups were Pack 1 from New Rochelle and Pack 47 from Yonkers. Here are their experiences.

Upon arrival the excited scouts head straight down to the river for an evening of river seining. While we do not catch dinner in our nets, getting into the water is thrilling. Once we have gotten out of our waders and rolled up the net, it is time to set camp and cook dinner. The scouts pitch tents throughout our park while the braver few plan to sleep under the stars. Meanwhile, the scoutmasters fire up the charcoal grills and cook up some hamburgers and hotdogs. Nothing beats a great barbeque in the park! After dinner has been cleaned up, the scouts build bird feeders from recycled materials achieving several requirements for the World Conservation Award. Then it is time for what is the highlight of the night for me…the campfire! Roasting marshmallows and making s’mores along the Hudson River can’t be beat! All of these activities can make a scout tired, so it is time to hit the tent. It is amazing how quiet and peaceful it is camping out in downtown Yonkers! Before the scouts head out in the morning, they participate in a park clean-up. Here, they are giving back to Beczak, as well as achieving more requirements for their World Conservation Award.

Scoutmaster Tom Flynn from Pack 47 writes: “On behalf of Cub Scout Pack 47 Yonkers, New York, I would like to thank you, Anthony and Jason for the excellent program you ran. The seining along with the bird feeders and campfire activities were thoroughly enjoyed by both the scouts and their parents. I would recommend this program to all scouting groups as it is both educational and fun. Thank you again.”

I can’t wait for the spring and encourage all scouts to spend “A Night at the Nature Center!”

Jason Muller
Educator and Outreach Coordinator