Troop 868 in Action
NASA: Spring Break Trip
(Wednesday~Sunday, April 3~7, 2013)

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Each year during school spring break, Troop 868 takes a multi-day outing.  This year's trip was a "road trip" to Huntsville, Alabama.  Our major destination was the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, but we also visited Cathedral Caverns and a special spring festival at Burritt on the Mountain that was very interesting.  We "camped" for 4 nights in a youth house at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Huntsville.  We had stayed at the church on a previous visit to Huntsville several years before and they remembered us.  The folks at Aldersgate UMC could not have been nicer and the church was very convenient to everything we planned to do. 

During our first full day in Huntsville, it rained most of the day.  This worked out well, however, because we had planned to spend that day at the church doing the classroom work required to earn the Space Exploration Merit Badge.  We took a break during the afternoon to visit Cathedral Caverns, one of Alabama's largest caves.

This is the general meeting room at the youth house where the scouts slept.  We also used this room as a classroom on Wednesday. The group enjoyed breakfast at the youth house on Wednesday morning.
Most of the day Wednesday was spent discussing the history and benefits of space exploration in a classroom-like setting. It soon became obvious to the scoutmasters who grew up in the 1960's how little today's youth know about the early days of our space program.
Facing the camera during lunch are Brixton, Gavin, and Noah.  Backs to the camera are Matthew, Toby, and Zach. Clockwise around the table are Kenneth, Preston, Andrew, Noah, and Dylan.
Class resumed after lunch with Assistant Scoutmaster Jeff Hagerman sharing the teaching duties with Scoutmaster Bob Meek. While few of the boys really enjoyed spending a day of spring break in class, they were much better prepared to understand the things they saw when we visited the Space & Rocket Center later in the week.
Mid-afternoon we took a break from class work to visit nearby Cathedral Caverns. Scouts decend a long set of stairs to enter the cave.
This is a photo of a huge pillar (or column) inside the cave appropriately named Goliath. Most photos taken inside caves simply don't turn out very well.  Cathedral Caverns was well lighted and quite beautiful with many formations.
Seated in rocking chairs on the porch of the Visitors Center and Gift Shop are Tyler, Noah, Brixton, and Andrew. This group photo is one of the best we've ever taken. Front row, L to R are Andrew, Dawson, Matthew, Kenneth, Micah, Ronnie, Preston, Matthew, Henry, and Zach.  Second row, L to R:  Mr. Frye, Noah, Andrew, Brixton, Noah, Dylan, Toby, Tyler, and Gavin.  Back Row, L to R:  Mr. Moore, Mr. Poyner, Mr. Embry, and Mr. Hagerman.