UNOH Employee Leads Local Scouts on Trip Across America

Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2018

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Chad Bryan (4th from left), and his son Dylan (3rd from left), visit Pike's Peak

More than two years ago, the dream started for Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 84 Chad Bryan.  He wanted to lead a group of local Boy Scouts on a hike through Philmont Scout Ranch, considered to be the ‘mecca’ of trips that a Boy Scout can take.  Bryan started gauging interest about two years ago and finally received the green light for the trip in late 2016.

Bryan spends 40 hours a week as the Director of IT Infrastructure and Security at the University of Northwestern Ohio, but much of his spare time is spent working with Boy Scout Troop 84.  Bryan explains his passion for scouting very simply, “There are plenty of complainers in the world, but not enough volunteers. I’ve put a lot of time and money into volunteering for Scouting, but the amount of return on my investment of time and energy cannot be put into words. My hope is that I will have a positive impact on the youth that I have the opportunity to work with.”

Preparations to undertake this type of hike are not for the faint of heart.  “Every one of the participants must meet certain physical requirements because Philmont is considered a High Adventure Camp by the Boy Scouts of America”, said Bryan. “I personally lost 60 pounds to prepare.  Each of us had to be prepared to carry a hiking backpack that could weigh as much as 50 pounds.  The trek we selected would have taken twelve days and covered more than 73 miles of backcountry so our packs would have to include all of our personal belongings, tents, food, cooking stoves, and more.”

But four weeks before their departure, Bryan, 5 Scouts and 2 other adults received news that the wildfires in New Mexico would put a halt to their planned hike.  All hikes were cancelled through July, 2018 for safety reasons.   Instead of dwelling on the cancelled trip, Bryan and the others started to put together alternate plans for the Scouts.

“We rerouted our trip to visit a Rotary Youth Camp in Kansas City for a service project.  Then we’ll travel to Colorado Springs to tour the US Air Force Academy and then on to Pike’s Peak.  After that we’ll head to Rocky Mountain National Park for a couple days of backpacking.  From there, we’ll head to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.  While at Yellowstone the group will visit Old Faithful, various hot springs, calderas, and geysers.  Following the Grand Tetons, we’ll camp and hike around Mount Rushmore then head to the Badlands.  Finally, we’ll travel back to Ohio.”

Even though the group was prepared for the Philmont Scout Ranch, changing plans for the trip out west created a few last minute adjustments that needed to be made before taking off.  “We will be heading into areas that have grizzly bears and black bears and each have their own way of preventing issues so that is something we now have to prep for,” said Bryan. “We also have to do our own meal planning now, since meals were included in our Philmont trip.  Meal planning for backpacking isn’t as easy as planning a sit down meal because it has to be able to be prepared on the trail and meet nutritional needs that your body will need while hiking long distances.  With this new trip, we’ve had to re-tool some of our personal clothing as well since we’ll be going to some higher elevations that may still include snow.”

So what was the motivation to plan this two-week trip with local Boy Scouts?  For one, Bryan will get to spend quality time with his oldest son Dylan who is a Life Scout.  This trip will allow for some memorable father-son experiences.  But more than that, Bryan wants to experience areas of the country with the scouts that they may have never seen before.  He also hopes to push them past their comfort zone and rely on their leadership and survival skills which can benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Category: Campus & Community

Keywords: Chad Bryan, Boy Scouts, Philmont

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Last updated: 06/28/2018