BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Studies indicate that 5-7% of the population have some form of claustrophobia - fear of small spaces - but that didn't stop Troop 368!

At the end of May, the troop ventured out near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to go on a spelunking adventure. Spelunking - also known as “caving” or “potholing” - is the recreational exploration of “wild” (noncommercial) caves.

Donning helmets and sweatshirts, Scouts 14 and over descended into the narrow, labyrinthine cave, guided by Allen Maddox of youcave.org. They sucked their stomachs in as they squeezed through extremely narrow openings, held their breath as they hopped over crevices, and stretched their limbs as they scaled the rock. They emerged from the cavern dazed by the bright light and caked in mud and sweat, but laughing nonetheless. 

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Scout Spencer Park remarked: “It was a good thing we had helmets and knee pads on because it would not have been pretty if we hadn’t!”

Younger scouts toured the nearby Indian Echo Caverns. They followed a guide through the winding cave, learning about Native American folklore, earthen formations, and geologic classification along the way. They practiced of the Boy Scout “Leave No Trace” principle in order to preserve the delicate cavernous ecosystem, and earned the Geology merit badge.

After returning to camp, the Scouts’ Saturday night culminated in a campfire ceremony led by senior scouts, featuring Repeat-After-Me songs like “Wisconsin Milk,” and entertaining skits like “Rough Riders,” and the epic saga: “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” retold by Scout Louis Pitingolo from memory. The campfire was enjoyable for Scouts old and new, and for both scouts and adults alike. 

If you or anyone you know is interested in Scouting, visit beascout.org!