General Nash District
2013 Fishing Frenzy
Branchwood Park, Franconia Township, PA
11 May 2013
On Saturday, 11 May 2013, the General Nash District held its first annual Fishing Frenzy at the Branchwood Park on Camp Road in Franconia Township. The focus of the event was to introduce Cub Scout aged boys to the Scouting program by providing instruction on fishing and providing the Cub Scouts and their guests the opportunity to practice their fishing skills in the Branch Creek that flows through the park. This part of Branch Creek was stocked a week ago for a local fishing derby with 500 trout and less than half that amount were caught in the past week. In addition to the trout, the Branch Creek is home to sunfish, catfish, and crappie.
While the focus was on Cub Scout aged boys, Scout units for older youth were asked to take part in the event to give the participants a flavor of what can await them once they age out of the Cub Scout program. Ship 461 participated by providing tours of our Mate's 22-foot Catalina sailboat and educating participants on the Sea Scout program and Ship 461. Several Boy Scout Troops were in attendance and they set up a model campsite, complete with a cooking and dining area, and another Troop set up a small rope bridge for the participants to enjoy.
The 22-foot Catalina was set up in the lower parking lot of the park, which is the nearest to the creek. As a result, we had quite a bit of foot traffic and our Program Mate, Andy Cowles, provided quick tours of the Catalina to quite a few youngsters. Many of the youngsters were intrigued with the Catalina's cabin, which to them seemed to be made to order for someone their size. One young man's father had a difficult time getting the lad off of the boat as the lad quickly turned it into his "pirate ship" and did not want to leave. A few of the older sisters of the young boys who visited our Ship could be heard telling their parents that they wanted to become Sea Scouts when the reached 14 years of age.
In addition to the display of the Catalina, the Ship also set up an informational booth under a canopy. There we displayed examples of various Sea Scout uniforms and training materials. We also had poster boards showing our Ship's activities and promoting Sea Scouts in general. There were also Centennial Sea Scout brochures handed out to interested parents and older youth and our Skipper handed out a few of his Ship business cards. We were happy that we brought the canopy later in the day when the weather really turned sour.
In addition to the Boy Scout Troops and our Sea Scout Ship, there were also programs put on by several 4-H chapters involving small mammals and reptiles, mostly snakes. The brave visitors could even have a tarantula spider crawl on their arm for a short while under the watchful eye of one of the 4-H adults. The animal and reptile displays were fairly popular with the young boys and girls who attended, probably more so than their mothers.
The event officially began at 0830 hours and was to last until 1400 hours. The weather forecast for Saturday was not promising, scattered showers and thundershowers throughout the day. Because of heavy rains that went through the area Friday night, the Branch Creek that flows past the park was deep enough to float the Catalina, but there was nowhere to go with it and providing tours for the visiting youngsters would have been much more difficult with the sailboat in the water.
Despite the heavy rains Friday night, the rain held off on Saturday until about 1300 hours, when the skies appeared to open and the rains came. At that point in time, our crew members took refuge in the Catalina's cabin while the adults sat under our canopy, which we were really grateful to have. With the coming of the rains, the crowds of visitors and fisherman and fisherwomen thinned out quite rapidly, despite the fact that the fish actually started biting. From our vantage point, we saw at least five (5) fish caught within a twenty (20) minute period, including trout, sunfish, and a catfish.
Fortunately, by the time the rain started, the event was already winding down. During a lull in the rain, we began readying the Catalina for the trip back to Mate Cowles' home. Taking down and storing the boom was relatively easy and was accomplished rather quickly. Taking down the Catalina's mast was another thing, however. Just as we started to lower the mast, the rains returned with a vengeance and we were pretty well soaked by the time the mast was fully lowered and secured in its travel position. Fortunately, we had closed the hatchway to the cabin before the rain started so the cabin stayed dry.
Cubs and their guests from ten (10) of General Nash District's Cub Packs attended this first District Fishing Frenzy and more than twenty (20) leads for future Cub Scouts were obtained. The District hopes to make this an annual event and, hopefully, more Boy Scout Troops and Venture Crews in the District will participate in the future.
This page last updated on Saturday, 11 May 2013.