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Longtime Scoutmaster Takes Boy Scouts on Epic Sailing Adventure

Adrian Rios-Wolfram on lookout duty during a Boy Scout cruise on Lake Superior. (Courtesy of Alfy Wolfram)
Scout Adrian R. on lookout duty during a Boy Scout cruise on Lake Superior. (Photo credit:Alfy Wolfram)

Boy Scout leader Alfy Wolfram might be 73-years-old, but he still knows what kind of experiences teens nowadays are craving: the unforgettable, meaningful ones you want to tell all of your friends about, of course.

The Scout leader is a seasoned sailor and has been actively involved in Scouting for more than 60 years, so he had an idea to merge his two passions in a way that would benefit local teens in a unique way.

Wolfram took a group of Boy Scouts, ages 13 to 16, and other Scout leaders on a 220-mile, eight-day trip on the Canadian side of Lake Superior.

Since the Boy Scout program is designed to be boy-led, Wolfram says the four Scouts were charged with the responsibility of running the boat. There were also four adult leaders on board to oversee their efforts, but it was the Scouts who kept watch, planned meals and took care of the boat’s log, charting and navigation.

“Of course we supervised them, but it was their trip,” Wolfram explained to TwinCities.com Pioneer Press.

The group sailed to Rossport, Ontario, and back to Thunder Bay, anchored in the evenings and camping on shore during the nights.

“This is something that’s a true adventure for them,” Wolfram said. “These are places where they are really tested.”

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From left, Matthew V., Assistant Scoutmaster Rick Albrecht and Skipper Alfred Wolfram near Thunder Bay, Ontario. (Photo credit: Beverly Verweg)

And tested they were. High winds and rocky waters met the crew, but they didn’t let that stop them. On two of the nights, the storms were so strong that shorelines were too littered with fallen trees to make camp and everyone slept on the boat.

Though the voyage wasn’t always smooth sailing, the Scouts learned how to work together in the face of challenges. And as Scouts are always taught, they were prepared ahead of time by conducting “man overboard drills” before setting sail. Two of the sailors on the boat were even certified lifeguards.

“Six- to eight-foot waves can really throw you about in the boat,” said one of the Scouts, Antonio V., 15.

Other Scouts on the trip included Adrian R., 13; Matthew V. 16; and Cody A., 14.

“I think we definitely learned how to work together, because when you’re confined to a 32-foot-long boat with eight people, you have to learn to work together,” said Adrian, Wolfram’s grandson.

The Scouts saw more than just choppy waters and the confines of their sailboat, though. Once the storms passed, the teens had the opportunity to explore when they reached the shoreline.

They saw wildlife like bears and moose and heard loons and wolves in the distance. The Scouts also gazed at beautiful scenic views and a waterfall.

“Those kids grew so much. They grew so much in experience,” Wolfram said. “I’d sail around the world with this crew.”

Get the full story on this unforgettable Scouting adventure and learn more about the Scouts on the trip by reading the original article from TwinCities.com Pioneer Press.

To learn more about the positive impact that Scouting can have on young people, be sure to check out this article on the recent Tufts study, and watch this video:

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Hayley Cordaro

Hayley

Hayley Cordaro is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She loves sharing inspiring success stories and uncovering new ways volunteers and employees can make the most of their Scouting experience. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at communications@scouting.org.