WILSON — Wilson Boy Scout Troop 43 took an out-of-this-world trip over the last weekend, and a trip to the past.
Led by Scout Master Thad Kassheimer, Ringling, Troop 43 headed south to the greater Houston, Texas area, visiting the NASA space center before heading to San Jacinto to explore the USS Texas.
“Each summer I try to have a summer adventure, we work so hard from summer to May,” Kassheimer said. “Back in December I came to the group and I said, ‘What do y’all think about going to NASA this summer, what do you y’all think about going to a battleship and staying the night?’ They were excited.”
Scout Troop 43 is a mix of kids from the Ringling, Healdton, Wilson and Fox communities. The age group within the troop ranges from first to fifth grade.
Scout Troop 43 raised the funds for their trip through two different fundraising events throughout the year.
In the fall, the troop sold popcorn, as every Boy Scout Troop does across America, and raised the rest of the donations during their annual spring fish fry.
After raising $5,000 through the fish fry, and receiving donations from the local Masons and an additional anonymous donation, Scout troop 43 had $7,500 to head to Houston.
“Our pack would not be what it is if not for the parents,” Kassheimer said. “From the start, not knowing anything about the way the program was to where we are now, it has just been a blessing to be a leader for this group.
The troop headed down to Houston last Thursday to visit the NASA space station.
There, the boys were able to see the astronaut training facility, different types of space crafts where astronauts trained and were able to listen to a recording of an astronaut during an actual mission.
“They were just glued to the presentation,” Kassheimer said. “When the lady who was giving the interview was talking they were taking it all in.”
After their trip to NASA, the troop then headed towards San Jacinto where they spent the night on the USS Texas.
The USS Texas was first commissioned in 1914, and later decommissioned in 1948.
The troop toured the halls on all six floors of the USS Texas, and were able to see all the weapons while learning the history of the ship.
“When we walked through the area where they had all the shells, those boys were hooked,” Kassheimer said. “When we got down to one of the gunning spots where they load the guns, they were like, ’I wanna touch this, what’s this for, why did y’all do this?’”
After spending the night in the sleeping quarters of the ship, Scout Troop 43 was then able to raise their troop flag on the battleship early the next morning.
“Just to see them kids ask those questions to the tour guide, the interaction they had with the tour guides,” Kassheimer said. “It was enjoyable.”
Kassheimer said the troop is always looking for new members and is accepting of all ages and genders.
Kassheimer hopes to have another trip planned for next summer.
“We will come up with something though, but I have no idea yet,” Kassheimer said. “If you like adventure or if you are the type to take the chance on adventure, join our troop.”