A group of intrepid adventurers from Westbury Scouts have returned from an exhilarating expedition to Westbury, New York.
The group spent almost two weeks discovering new sights and enjoying various activities in the area, which included meeting fellow Scouts and a trip to New York city.
Andy Kettlety, scout leader said, “Everyone thought it was absolutely fantastic. They were all full of it! There was no homesickness at all, although it did take us a few days to acclimatise to the temperature.”
Andy added he would like to offer a huge thank you to all those who have supported the Scouts with their expedition. The group is now planning their programme for the future, although as Andy admits, “This one might be difficult to top!”
Westbury NY 2010:
At 08:30 on the 27 July 2010, 19 nervous scouts, explorers and leaders departed from the 1st Westbury Scout Group HQ for the start of a 10 day adventure to the USA. There were one or two teary parents too! Catching the 14:30 Virgin Atlantic flight to New York gave the five leaders 7 hours to get used to being mum, dad and scout leader to 14 young people for many of whom this was their first flight in an aircraft and first time visiting a foreign country.
Arrival at New York’s JFK airport gave us plenty of time to adjust to the different culture (2 ½ hrs to clear immigration and customs) a further hour to collect the minibuses and negotiate the traffic out of the airport. We spent the first night in a hotel near to Westbury, Long Island; at least we wouldn’t be putting up tents in the dark.
The first full day in the US:
We were met at Eisenhower Park by Scouters from Pack and Troop 233 (Westbury). Here we were hosted by the local mounted police unit, they showed us the horses and equipment used by the police and afterwards gave a demonstration of how the horses are used to help control crowds. Later we visited the Westbury Fire department, the Mayors office and the US Postal Service. Late in the afternoon we departed Westbury for Schiff Scout Reservation, our home for the remainder of our stay.
During the second full day we visited Sagamore Hill, former home of President Theodore Roosevelt. This for many was one of the highlights of expedition. We were met at the entrance by the great man himself (well re-enactor James Foote) and a couple of his Rough Rider troops from the Spanish-American war. Mr Foote brought the president to life dropping in and out of character and explaining the impact Roosevelt had on both the US and on Scouting in America. We had a fantastic visit and a huge thank you to the staff at Sagamore Hill who made it possible. Late afternoon and a barbecue at the home of Troop 233 SPL Joey Marcus gave us the chance to meet some of the scouts and leaders in a more relaxed setting. It was certainly a welcome opportunity to escape the heat and humidity of the day.
Friday gave us a chance to catch our breath and chill out at the campsite, the Ranger and Camp Director arranged for our scouts to fish and swim in the camp lake, I know that this was thoroughly enjoyed by both scouts and leaders. Friday evening saw us in full uniform for a gala diner in Westbury with Troop 233 and cub packs 233 & 469. The usual speeches made and gifts exchanged between the troops, plus we received citations from Westbury, NY and Nassau County congratulating troop and individuals for their efforts in achieving the goals of scouting.
Saturday saw us helping out with the BSA Cub World parent camp and an invite to their campfire. We performed the penguin song and it seemed to be an instant hit, this followed by an ice cream supper before and early night as the next two days would be very busy! We also got a chance to use the rifle range under the guidance of BSA instructor Eric Rosen.
NEW YORK CITY
We spent two days in the big apple exploring the sites, the underground system and the many opportunities for buying souvenirs! Whilst at the top of the Empire State building we took the opportunity to invest Lucy as a Scout and Daniel as an Explorer. Now that’s a bit different!
Tuesday gave us a chance to try the local beaches and shopping malls (the scouts all bought trainers for some reason) whilst Wednesday was our last full day in the US, we spent some time on the archery range, again under the supervision of BSA instructors before returning to our own site for a final campfire followed by a steak supper. Thursday, pack and head to the airport for the flight home. After an overnight flight we arrived safely back at the Westbury Scout HQ at mid-day, much to the relief of the waiting parents.