Gainesville Boy Scout Troop 581 Organizes Annual Disaster Day

| November 1, 2018 | 0 Comments | Community

Scout extinguishes a propane fire under firefighter supervision.

Boy Scout Troop 581 out of Methodist Church in Gainesville held its annual Disaster Day, Monday evening, in which the boys practiced disaster training with the aid of the Prince William County fire department.

During the two-hour event, the hundred-plus boys learned about life-saving techniques through hands-on activities and toured first-response vehicles to better understand the roles of first responders play. They even had the opportunity to extinguish a live propane-driven fire under the supervision of Prince William County career firefighters.

It is a fun and educational experience for both older and younger scouts who learn practical life-saving techniques, explained assistant scoutmaster for Troop 581 Spike Silvernail. “The scouts get to practice their first aid skills and teach their first aid skills.”

At various stations the scouts were wrapping fake wounds and setting bones, practicing disaster readiness and wilderness survival skills.

Scout practices first aide on another boy in a practice exercise.

Scouts at Troop 581 also uses the event to help recruit Cub Scouts, especially 5th and 6th grade Webelos. The younger boys enjoy the opportunity to be part of the excitement and to talk with the more senior scouts.

The event is always scout-led, and this year it was organized by Nathaniel Popa, a 10th grade student and Sr. Patrol Leader with Troop 581. In coordination with assistant scoutmaster Matt Ramsey, Popa organized the event by corresponding with the younger troops as and members of the Prince William Fire Department. 

Popa thinks the event is an important part of the Troop 581 experience. “It allows the young boys to get a taste of scouting in general. They get to talk to the older boys, and it’s a learning experience for everyone, even me.”

“It’s practice in leadership, organization and communication” said scoutmaster Jarrad Kosa. Kosa said the boys engage in involves public speaking and a multitude of leadership and teamwork skills.

Kosa believes that the event was a tremendous success. “It’s amazing,” he said. “There are even more fire trucks than last year.”

Troop 581 is unique in that it includes 135 boys ages 11-17. The scout are working on different levels, rising through the ranks, some to Eagle Scout before becoming young adults.

People may intimidated by such a large group, but assistant scoutmaster Tony LaCava believes Troop 581 is a great troop because there is always something to do and something new to learn.

“I think they like the choices. There are so many different events. We go camping every single month,” he said.

LaCava would like to see everyone reach the rank of first class. Baden Powell, founder of scouting worldwide, said that is the point at which a boy becomes a “real scout.” 

“There are lots of opportunities in the group to focus on advancement,” he added. “We take it very seriously that we assist to make the rank of first class.”

Scout Will Sullivan, 14, believes first aid and wilderness survival is as important as it ever. During high-adventure summer camp when a group of 581 scouts backpacked for 40 miles and several days, they used their scouting first aid skills to make sure everyone stayed safe. 

Prince William Firefighter Battalion Chief Jim Mirabile, who helped out with Disaster Day, agreed the skills are important. 

Ariel view of disaster day 2017

“It’s driven by need, but it’s fun. There is nothing like being able to meet all the Boy Scouts and do the things we enjoy doing. They’re excellent life skills,” the chief said.

Ramsey and all the assistant scoutmasters thanked the Prince William Firefighters and first responders for their participation and all their help making the event a success.

Photos courtesy of Spike Silvernail and Stacy Shaw. 

© 2018, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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