Scouts set to scale Blandford

BLANDFORD – Camping and skiing are two treasured New England pastimes, activities beloved by some and reviled by others.
You won’t, however, see Joe Mitchell in the latter camp.
That is because Mitchell, the city of Westfield’s veterans’ services officer, moonlights as the scoutmaster for Westfield’s Boy Scout Troop 821.
Tomorrow Mitchell and three other group leaders are set to lead nine of the 46 boys in the troop on a camping expedition up Blandford Mountain, where the scouts will set up camp on the Broadway Trail in the morning and ski for the day, working on their snow sports merit badges. During the afternoon, the scouts will receive a first aid lesson and an emergency evacuation demonstration.
After bedding by a campfire that night, the scouts will awake to ski down to the base lodge for breakfast, taking the chairlift back up the mountain to break camp and ski back to the lodge for the last time. While the boys may be pumped for the trip, Mitchell is ecstatic.
“Nature is the best teacher,” the scoutmaster said in a recent phone interview, “The boys and the adults are both really excited about the opportunity to do two of our favorite things, those being skiing and camping.”
Mitchell is also enthused about the growth of Troop 821, the largest boy scout troop in western Massachusetts.
“We have about 46 boys in the group as of right now, but we are set to welcome sixteen cub scouts to our ranks on the first of March,” he said. “Which will put our total at 62 scouts.”
And while not an Eagle Scout himself, Mitchell is proud that, on March 3, three of his scouts, including his son, will be set to achieve the highest honor within the scouting organization.
“We are very proud of what we are doing here (with the Boy Scouts),” Mitchell said, “this weekend should be a great time for all involved, one the boys will remember for a long time.”

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