Boy Scout Troop earns another volunteer award
Santa Rosa Troop 135 loves to hike and volunteer. That combination won them yet another award this summer: the National Park Service George and Helen Hartzog Regional Volunteer Award for 2013. In 2012, the Troop, chartered in the 1962, received the Yosemite Youth Volunteer Group of the Year Award, for its nearly two decades of volunteer work at Yosemite, which qualified them to be in the running for the Hartzog award.
The troop has been volunteering for various projects at the Indian Museum at Curry Village for 19 years, and two projects with the Wilderness division of Yosemite for four years, according to Troop Leader Steve Sapers, 52, of Santa Rosa. The projects have included: clearing dead trees from trails, repairing and building structures, improving the parking area and building benches inside the ceremonial structures.
Sapers said that boys come from all over town, and even as far as Wikiup/Larkfield and Windsor, to join Troop 135 because they want to be involved in the long hikes the Troop is known for. Each year, according to Saper, the Troop backpacks for two weeks at Yosemite. Last year, inspired by the “Walkers,” Native Americans who hike the traditional trade routes of their ancestors, the scouts wanted to do the same, if only a portion of the complete route. At the end of their hike, which followed the route from Mono Lake, over Mono Pass to the Yosemite Valley, the scouts were approached by Yosemite National Park Volunteer Program Coordinator Heather Boothe, who presented them with the Hartzog Regional Volunteer Award for 2013, before they embarked on this year’s service project at the Indian Village.
The individuals and groups who have been awarded the regional award are eligible for the National award. Though the Troop did not obtain the National honor, gaining a regional award is a considerable accomplishment since the region they occupy, the award representative told Sapers, has more volunteers than the six other regions combined.
The Troop is also known for coming to the aid of lost or injured hikers, which it has had the opportunity to do numerous times over the years. In 2012, the scouts had heard about a lost backpack while hiking in Yosemite, then a missing hiker. The troop leader found the dehydrated man on the trail and the scouts immediately offered their water and rations to aide the man, who later collapsed again and was rescued by helicopter.
Boy Scout Troop 135 has a four-point focus of Outdoor Adventure, Leadership by Scouts, Community Service and Environmental Stewardship, and Advancement to Eagle. The Troop meets at The Church of the Roses, 2500 Patio Court, every Monday at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact santarosa135.mytroop.us.