For the first time since scouting began, every Eden Prairie Scouts BSA troop united on Aug. 18 to welcome the community to Adventure Day.
The five-hour event, held at Round Lake Park in Eden Prairie, showcased a wide array of activities: Building and racing through an obstacle course, using wood and acrylic paint to make colorful tiles and magnets, a Dutch oven “Iron Chef” cook-off, and plenty of games from gaga ball to racing tiny cars. Near Round Lake’s sports fields, Eden Prairie High School senior Kayla Keddie demonstrated a Frisbee-flinging robot that her Talon Robotics team built in 2013.
While Adventure Day was organized and hosted by Scouts BSA troops, and plenty of attendees showed up in their khaki uniforms, the event itself was meant to welcome all families to scouting, said organizer Kyle Gudmundson. Adventure Day was targeted at people who may not have believed scouting was for them and aimed to dispel scouting’s associations with the military or a specific religion, he explained.
“We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for families to find their way to scouting,” Gudmundson said, pointing out a map that displayed all the local troops by geographic location for families to find the closest troop to them.
While the scouts at Adventure Day skewed male, several leaders spoke with enthusiasm about national Scouts BSA organization’s decision in February of this year to allow girls to join troops. Gundmundson’s three children are all in scouting troops − a son and daughter in Cub Scouts, and a son in Scouts − and scout master Heather Johnson of troop 347 recently gathered the five girls needed to make a girl’s troop so her daughter could join her son in the Scouts.
“She saw all the activities the Boy Scouts were doing and said, ‘I’d like to do that,’” Johnson said. “It’s been really great.”
In contrast, Johnson’s co-leader, Jim Rannow, plans to have three generations of scouts in his family soon. His two sons were both scouts, and “someday I’ll have a grandson or granddaughter” in Scouts BSA, he said.
Rannow has been scouting since he was young, although his first troop, Eden Prairie’s 242, folded in the 1970s, he said. Since then, he’s led six sailing trips to Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands and helped build up an 80-acre scouts’ campsite near Outing, Minnesota, over 25 years.
“We’ve carved it out of the woods,” he said.