Weekly Feature



2017-10-12 / Local News

Lancaster Boy Scouts earn White Water Merit Badges


Members of Boy Scout Troop 468, led by Scout leader Dan Dale, earned the White Water Merit Badge at Letchworth State Park in August. Members of Boy Scout Troop 468, led by Scout leader Dan Dale, earned the White Water Merit Badge at Letchworth State Park in August. Boy Scouts from Troop 468 earned their White Water Merit Badge by kayaking down the rock-laden gorge river in Letchworth State Park on a trip from Aug. 25 to 27.

Eight Scouts trained under New York-licensed guides Todd Smith and Tim Reed of Adventure Calls Outfitters. The Scouts completed numerous Scout rank requirements and several merit badges: canoeing, kayaking, and white water.

The morning featured instruction in safe trip planning, the parts of a canoe and demonstration of various paddling techniques at the state park on Silver Lake. The Scouts raced around buoys using the different strokes. In addition, they were instructed on safety measures, including how to rescue individuals in an overturned canoe. The Scouts then took turns overturning their canoes, and with the assistance of others, righted their canoe and got back in.

“Getting back into that canoe can be tough, because you have nothing to push off against, so it’s all arm strength,” said Jonathan Bednarczyk, a second-class Scout.

After lunch, the Scouts went into the Letchworth Park gorge and were instructed in inflatable individual and tandem kayaks called duckies. The Scouts were taught to never go white-water kayaking without being able to see what is ahead. The expert instructors taught the Scouts how to “read” the water ahead of them and plan a route before disembarking into the rapids.

“You always had to keep looking in front and make sure you avoided the rocks sticking up, so you would not get stuck, or worse, overturn,” said Reed Bengtson, who completed his Tenderfoot requirements while at camp.

On Sunday, the Scouts were instructed in numerous forms of first aid and heard anecdotes from the guides on emergency situations they had experienced. The instruction included bandaging for different emergency medical conditions.

“At times our troop looked like a M.A.S.H. Unit or a bunch of mummies: we all had so many bandages on,” said senior patrol leader Dan Dale, the boy leader of the expedition.

Boy Scout Troop 468 meets at the Potter’s House on Broadway in Lancaster on Tuesday nights and is led by Scoutmaster Mark Vincett.

Return to top