Antarctic Scout Program
Each year, one youth is selected to join teams of scientists conducting research during expeditions scheduled for the Antarctic summer season. This program is funded by the National Science Foundation in conjunction with the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America. The position is rotated annually between the BSA and the GSA. Tim Brox of Ta-Heech Lodge #195 was picked as the 2001-2002 Antarctic Scout and presented information about his experience to promote the 2003-2004 program. Tim spent 4 months in Antarctica, after he was selected from 161 applicants to go on the journey.
The focus of the assignment is to add value to the different research teams by providing the positive assistance required to accomplish their mission. As a support member, the Antarctic Scout will assist the scientists in the daily activities required to successfully conduct their field research projects. These assignments may be as simple as helping to cook the daily meals and doing camp chores to the more challenging tasks of gathering and analyzing samples for testing.
The program started in 1928 when Admiral Byrd asked Eagle Scout Paul Siple to accompany him on his ship, The Spirit of New York, on an expedition to Antarctica. In 1958 the National Council of the BSA was approached by Paul Siple, who asked them to select another Eagle Scout to go with him on his expedition to the pole. That Scout was Dr. Chapell, who now is on the board that picks the Scouts for the expeditions. Since 1958, this program has evolved into an annual program that provides opportunities to participate in research activities outside the college or university setting and involves youth at all levels with pioneering research. The Eagle Scout selected will journey to Antarctica in October 2003, where he will participate as a scientific research team member. He will be scheduled to return to the U.S. in January 2004.
A candidate applying for the 2003-2004 trip must:
The Scout selected will travel to Christchurch, New Zealand, the jumping off point for the expedition. Most crews either fly out in a LC-130 Hercules or a C-141 Cargo plane flown by the National Guard or US Air Force. Scouts who arrive in Antarctica must also take a barrage of life saving classes such as "Sea Ice Survival," and "What to do in a Class One Blizzard." McMurdo, one of the research facilities on the continent, averages around 1200 visitors per year. NASA, all US Military branches, NOAA, and other US governmental research associations have personnel on the continent.
For more information about this program, visit the BSA Antarctic Scientific Program Web site.