Visiting one high adventure base can be the pinnacle of adventure, giving Scouts an experience they will never forget. Some manage to visit all four bases over the course of their lifetime, but Ben Pycraft was crazy enough to visit all four bases in a single summer.
Ben started his journey on June 2, leaving his home in Cleveland, Ohio, to travel to Philmont. On the way, he stopped in St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Dallas before working for two weeks with the Order of the Arrow Trail Crew. After that experience, Ben went to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam while staying at Boy Scout camps on most nights. If a Scout camp was not available, then Ben would stay at a commercial campground or even in his own car.
After Philmont, Ben spent two weeks at Northern Tier taking part in the Canadian Odyssey adventure. Once Ben was tired of canoeing, he made his way down to the 2017 National Jamboree where he is now working on staff with the JamboLink team producing news stories about the Jamboree.
Since Jamboree eventually will end, Ben plans to make his way to Cedar Point to enjoy time with some friends from the Central Region before visiting Washington, D.C., and Nashville, Tennessee.
On August 8, Ben will complete his high adventure journey with a Seabase Ocean Adventure experience in Florida. When his fun is completed, Ben will leisurely go home to Cleveland with a BSA Triple Crown Award before his second year of college begins.
When asked why Ben pursued this dream, he called it a sort of “pre-mid-life crisis”. He has always wanted to visit all four high adventure bases before he turned 21, and this summer was the perfect opportunity. Since Ben’s council recently merged, the Boy Scout camp he has worked at for four years transitioned into a Webelos Cub Scout Camp, and he had to change his summer plans. Other camps offered him jobs, but he wanted a few months to escape reality on the road.
Ben recently gave a speech at the National Eagle Scout Association tent in the Summit Center titled “Go On an Adventure” highlighting his experiences and what he has learned. Ben has drawn several important lessons from his time journeying: “Do what makes you happy and satisfies you in life, do not be afraid to do what you want, and it is definitely worthwhile to go on an adventure.”
Ben also learned how successful he could be by setting himself up years earlier. For four years, Ben worked extremely hard for several hours every day at a fast-food restaurant. That gave him the capital and the freedom to afford the trips to explore the high adventure bases through Order of the Arrow High Adventure.
Ben has been having a blast on his cross-country journey, especially revelling in the moment when he climbed to the summit of the Tooth of Time at Philmont, after an arduous and exhausting journey. Conversely, Ben disliked waking up and putting on wet socks at Northern Tier every day and pushing past that mental wall.
Ben recommends visiting a high adventure base either as part of a contingent or as an individual. At the bases, Ben has “been a logger, canoer, climber and white-water rafter just because of these camps…Scouting allows you to experience adventure.”