Campers learn map, compass skills
December 18, 2018

Constructing a 10-station, non-electronic geocaching course for Culver Woodcraft Campers served a dual purpose for Joe Durkin ’19 (Elmhurst, Ill.). He earned his Eagle Scout rank and also fulfilled his senior service project requirements at the same time.

But Durkin is not completely finished. He will be working in Woodcraft Camp this summer, training counselors on how to navigate the course using maps and compasses. Last summer, he worked directly with the campers for one day to show them how to navigate the course.

He has been working on the project for more than a year. He was intrigued by geocaching after receiving his merit badge. Geocaching involves using a map and a compass to find the hiding place of specific objects. There actually over 200 geocaches around Culver alone.

Joe Durkin (center) teaching a Woodcraft class this summer.

The concept of constructing a course on campus was originally brought up by then-assistant commandant Col. Warren Foersch, who was serving as Culver Academies’ scout master at the time.

“I took up the challenge,” Durkin said. He received approval for his Eagle Scout project in January and worked on it through the middle of July, working with Foersch, who had returned to camp as the summer commandant. Durkin officially received his Eagle Scout honor from the LaSalle Council in early November.

His “treasure” were old pieces of brass that he got from the uniform department, he said. The Woodcrafters found those to be especially appealing. But the reward still didn’t make any easier trying to keep their attention as he taught them how to find the 10 different stations.

“I just had 45 minutes with each class, and a total of 50 campers,” Durkin said. “I had to show them how to do everything. That day was the hardest part of the whole project.”

His time this summer will be “training the trainers,” the counselors who will then show future campers how to run the course.

Click here for more information on geocaching.

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