Boy Scout troop leaves for 17-day adventure in Ontario - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Boy Scout troop leaves for 17-day adventure in Ontario

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"For ten days on the water this is the sleeping bag and this is the pad," says Noah Smith.

The 15-year-old is ready to rough it! The sophomore at Burlington High School has been a scout since he was six-years-old and couldn't wait to pack up for a trip like this one.

Noah is one of 32 Boy Scouts and leaders from around Vermont heading out with Steve Dow, the scoutmaster for Troop 650 in Burlington. They are going to a Boy Scout base in Ontario.

"They have three national high adventure bases," says Dow. "One is in the Florida Keys and they do sailing and scuba diving down there, one is in Philmont New Mexico and its a 137,000 acres and they do backpacking out there, we've been out the six times and this one is called northern tier, it's a canoe base, they have one in Ely, Minnesota and they have one in Atikoken, Ontario and the third one is in Bassett, Manitoba which is even more rural than where we're going."

Dow says, there are five million acres of water where they'll be. It is part of the arctic watershed, where the water starts to flow north toward the arctic.

"I give them a map and I say this is the starting point this is the exit point figure out how to get there. And we'll do anywhere from 75 to 125 miles on water!" he says.

As the time to leave got closer, the cameras came out. Moms snapped shots from cell phones and then, the big group photo, a moment caught in time as their boys prepared to say goodbye.

Then came the hugs. Isela O'Brien has two boys on this trip -- 16-year-old Liam and 14-year-old Connor.

"They've worked so hard for this but I'm proud of them. Is going to be a lifetime achievement for them, I'm happy, but I will miss them for seventeen days!" she says.

17 days that will change them forever.

Reporter Julie Kelley: "This has got to be the trip of a lifetime for you!"

"It will be, certainly. I'm very excited!" says Smith.

The Boy Scouts totally disconnect during the trip. They aren't allowed to use cell phones. It's all compasses and maps!


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