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Work hard, play hard: That’s the motto of Troop 99. The family-like group excels at construction projects, but its vocal performances prove to be laughable. Scoutmaster Dave Shirk (opposite page, top right) and First Class Scout Jake Welch, 13, agree. And when it comes to building new struc- tures, teamwork prevails. Star Scout Alex Newkirk, 15, helps carry planks to Second Class Scout Addison Sebest, 16, and Bob Kilgore (opposite page, middle) as the trio builds a new pathway at the Port Isobel Chesapeake Bay Foundation sta- tion. Life Scout Matt Breslow, 15, and Star Scout Nick Kellam, 15, (above) build a walkway to help conserve Port Isobel’s critical wetlands. Note: When doing any kind of project involving power tools, always wear proper eye protection.

For the Chesapeake Bay Foundation,

their initiative is unique. “I’ve never had anyone come out here and do service work,” says Megan Fink, who has been working as an educator for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation since 2010. “This is a big project, something

we would do in the winter with staff volunteers,” adds Paige Sanford, who’s also a CBF educator. Fun comes later that night thanks

to Rich Szarko, a longtime volun- teer who spearheaded making the connections for this trip and others, including the one to Glacier National

Park. During an after-dinner, after- work gathering in the meeting room, he tells the Scouts he hopes these outings will refresh their souls and help them appreciate nature in all its magnificence. “Nature,” he says, “renews the soul.

Nature makes us more human, more loving, more concerned about your neighbor.” Szarko arranged for a performance

by Geoff Kaufman, a folk singer with a repertoire of traditional sea songs as well as folk standards like Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.” It’s the end of a typical day on this trip: plenty of service work, some explora- tion of the Chesapeake Bay and the environmental issues facing it, and a dash of local culture.

THE NEXT DAY’S highlight is a local tra- dition called proggin’. The Scouts and adults board the foundation’s boat, the Walter Ridder, and navigate to an uninhabited island, Fog’s Point, where they comb the shores and shallows for treasures — bottles, driftwood, arrowheads and other washed-up

prizes — some that date back to the Algonquin Indians and colonists four centuries ago. Arrowheads, Fink tells the boys,

are an elusive prize; she’s never found one. Poking in the mud a few minutes later, that changes. Fink finds a large arrowhead. Then Erik Shirk, who has been trying unsuccessfully to make them back home, finds a small, beautifully detailed one. For him, it’s the highlight of the trip. Szarko is the next to get lucky. He finds one, then another, and eventually four in all. They join the others, who have

collected various bottles, shells and pieces of wood, back on the boat and head into the bay to pull up the crab pots set the day before. It’s an iconic Chesapeake Bay activity and, before they see what the pots yield, Sanford and Fink talk about the ups and downs of the crab population. Capt. Wes Bradshaw, a longtime waterman raised on Smith Island,

SEE MORE OF Troop 99’s summer adventures in an exclusive video at


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