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aSuper Troop


THAN 50 OUTINGS TROOP 99 TAKES EACH YEAR. by jim mor r i son  pho t o gr a phs b y w. g a rth d owl ing


HE QUESTIONS ARE tentative, genuine.What do you know about the peacocks on the island? How

do you keep the biting flies away? And, finally, where does food come from? Scouts Tony Ciro, Erik Shirk and

Andrew Dropik are on an afternoon mission knocking on doors to learn more about what it’s like to live in Tylerton on Smith Island, a town in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay that’s home to about 50 people. They’re here with Lancaster, Pa.,

Troop 99, as guests of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, learning about the con- tinent’s largest estuary and the people and the creatures that call it home, as well as doing some community service projects. This afternoon’s assignment is to learn about living on an island. The three are talking with Lindsey

Bradshaw, 51, who has lived on the island his entire life. “We go to the mainland once or twice a month and do bulk shopping,” he explains, adding that he keeps a vehicle there. “It’s hard living here. You have to do a lot of plan- ning. But I would not trade it.”

All hands on deck! Lancaster, Pa., Troop 99 rallies to help repair one of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s canoe launch ramps on Smith Island off the coast of Maryland. Scouter Jim Lehman (this page, from left); Life Scout Andrew Dropik, 17; Star Scout Nick Kellam, 15; and Scoutmaster Dave Shirk aren’t afraid to get wet when securing the deck’s braces.

The boys move on to other homes

and more interviews and then join the other nine Scouts back in the meeting room to discuss their findings. This is a midday respite, sandwiched between a trip to a nearby uninhabited island, home to a rookery for brown pelicans, and work rebuilding a dock ramp and picnic tables. They’re spending a week on two tiny islands in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, learning about the fragile, endangered ecosystem; per- forming service projects like rebuilding a dock ramp; and, of course, adding a few more adventures to a long list of trips far and wide. Some of the Scouts on this expedition figure they’ve been on more than 100 Troop 99 outings. They’ve taken the troop’s bus to Wyoming and Yellowstone National

Park. They’ve driven the long road to Montana and Glacier National Park. They’ve backpacked in Maine, mastered whitewater in West Virginia and hiked the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. Sitting at a table later during dinner made by the Scouts, Scoutmaster Dave Shirk figures Troop 99 has offered 63 trips in the past year, some long, like this one, some day trips. “If somebody comes to us with an idea, we try to figure out how to do it,” he says. Troop 99 could just as easily be

named Troop Adventure. It’s always on the go. A typical summer month might include a canoe trip, a camping trip to Maine and a visit to the BSA’s Florida Sea Base. “There are so many activities,” says Doug Welch, who has been an assis- tant Scoutmaster for the past couple of

 ¿ SCOUTING 23

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