About 200 tickets were sold halfway through the fundraiser, which benefits a 10-day trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota at the end of June. Scouts were on hand to sell tickets and serve breakfast with help from Knights of Columbus and Masons members in the kitchen. Many adult troop leaders are members of the two groups, Scoutmaster Bill Perkis said.
Eight scouts will make the trip, which will include short day hikes, visits to monuments like Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse and other activities. “This is going to be more of a ‘show-and-do’ (kind of trip) and seeing a lot of really neat things,” said Perkis. “They’ll be hiking, but not overnight, away from the vehicle type stuff.”
Some high-adventure Boy Scout trips have age limits due to more strenuous activities like longer overnight hikes or canoeing. But the only requirement for this trip is being involved in scouting. “We have some fresh kids who have just crossed over from Cub Scouts,” said assistant Scoutmaster John Jarocki. Two of the new ranks will be able to take the trip.
Scouts will be able to earn merit badges, including cooking and geology badges. “We’ll be looking at quite a few of the geological specimens,” said Perkis, a geology teacher at Gogebic Community College. He hopes to use the trip for education, too. “(GCC) used to have a geology field trip, so I’m going to explore the potential for having a new field trip and use these guys kind of as guinea pigs to see what they’re interested in,” he said.
This will be the troop’s first trip out west together, Perkis said. After past trips to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, a group of older scouts wanted to take in some new scenery. “It was their suggestion to do the Black Hills,” Perkis said. “We’re kind of a boy-lead troop, so if they’ve got an idea or something they want to do and it’s physically possible, we make that happen. It’s their drive to go to this place and their ideas on what to see when they’re there.”
Troop member Jackson Brown said he’s getting excited to go on the trip. He said he’s most looking forward to seeing the Crazy Horse monument because he has already been to Mount Rushmore.
Scouts in Troop 323, currently at 15 members, have had plenty of opportunities to travel individually too, Jarocki said. Troop members have been sent individually to Boy Scout facilities including Philmont High Adventure Camp in New Mexico, Florida Sea Base for scuba diving and the National Jamboree in Washington, D.C.
Fundraising will continue with two more events being planned to help the scouts meet their goal before the trip in June. Plans are in the works for a Cindo de Mayo event, a possible chili cook-off between troop members. A brat sale will also be held at Super One in Hurley during the Memorial Day ATV Rally in Iron County.
So far, the troop has seen plenty of support locally. “The community has really been behind us,” Perkis said. “It’s just been a really positive experience for us.”
Support has also come from groups like the Masons, KoC and Kiwanis, Jarocki said, with various local businesses helping by promoting events and making donations too.
A boost to the troop’s fundraising came Saturday night during the Ironwood PTO’s Spring Fling event, Jarocki said. The winner of the event’s 50/50 raffle donated the prize of just over $500 to Troop 323 to help them get to South Dakota.
The troop is “absolutely” open to new members, Perkis said. Anyone interested in getting involved should call him at 906-932-4556 and leave a message or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.