News Posts

Troop 104 Open House

Scouts BSA Troop 104 Open House
Scouting in El Cerrito

Monday, September 30, 7:00pm at El Cerrito Veteran’s Hall

6401 Stockton Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530

All youth — boys and girls alike — can join Scouts BSA and participate in the many outdoor, service, and leadership activities Boy Scouts is known for! 

Come to El Cerrito Troop 104’s open house to learn more about:

  • Joining Troop 104 boy scouts (ages 11-18)
  • Forming a new girl troop (ages 11-18)
  • Adventures for older youth in Venture Crew 104 — young women and men (ages 14-21) 
  • Joining cub scouts — boys and girls (ages 5-10)  (representatives from El Cerrito Pack 104 will be there)

Troop 104 boy scouts will answer questions from visiting boys and girls, and share info and photos of what they’ve done this year, such as trips to Alaska, McCloud River, Yosemite, summer camp at Wolfeboro, community service projects, Eagle projects, and more.  Troop adult leaders will answer any questions parents may have about the scouting programs. 

Troop 104 has existed in El Cerrito for 80 years and has a long tradition of fun, engaging activities for our youth. We schedule at least one outdoor activity each month, several overnight campouts each year, and additionally spend a week camping in the Sierras each summer. Older youth have attended high adventure camps nearly every year in recent memory (wilderness backpacking and canoeing throughout the country, ocean sailing).  Learning skills and leadership, and doing community service are key components of scouting as well: the troop has produced 105 Eagle scouts, many in recent years. 

We very much hope to add a girl troop to share the opportunities afforded to our boys. Although Scouts BSA is not affiliated with Girl Scouts, our troop believes that scouting offers tremendous opportunities for fun, service, and leadership development, and that all youth should have equal access to those opportunities. Already, several girl troops have formed in nearby communities. We hope to add one for El Cerrito!

Girls older than 14 can already participate via Venture Crew 104, a branch of Scouts focused on older youth who want more activities and fellowship opportunities in high school and beyond.

Please join us Monday, September 30, and we will do our best to give you a complete picture of how your son or daughter can join in the fun and adventure, whatever their age.

Learn more on our web site at

Mt Tam Hike

After weeks of being shut in because of COVID19 and poor air quality from fires, a small contingent of T104 scouts and scouters met at 8:30am on a very pleasant September Saturday for a 10-mile hike to the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County.

In lieu of our recent normal kayaking trip in the Fall, our scouts decided it would be good to do a number of hikes in our area. We are fortunate to have many good, medium-length hikes within easy driving distance. And the recent merger of three Bay Area councils — the San Francisco Bay Area Council, the Alameda Council, and our home council the Mt Diable Silverado Council — in the Golden Gate Area Council has created new excitement for doing hikes that were previously out-of-council, such as the Mt. Tam hike.

So we met at Pantoll Ranger Station, said “hi!” to another troop with the same idea, got a brief orientation from one our scouts on where we’d be heading, and off we went! Our first leg led us up the Old Mine Trail to the Mountain Play amphitheatre. The skies were fairly clear and it the temperature was just right. We lingered briefly at the amphitheatre, several folks saying they hadn’t yet seen a play there before and others reminiscing about the summer crowds that swarm over the area in normal years. We walked across the top of the theater to continue on Rock Spring Trail, which leads to the West Point Inn. A short break there let the snails catch up with the rabbits, gave us a few minutes looking at the view of San Francisco, and provided a break for some water as the sun was heating things up.

Our trip to the peak took us up the northern stretch of the Old Railroad Grade, past the Visitor’s Center and up to the Fire Lookout at 2,471 ft, where we lingered a while to have water and lunch. Although there were others hiking to the peak, the trail was pretty empty, spoiling us all, and giving us room to spread out. A couple of planes flew by at or below our altitude, native bees buzzed avidly in the chaparral, and we chatted idly while looking over San Rafael and the Richmond Bridge.

The way home was mostly a return on the same trails except that we cut down Fern Trail to the southern part of Old Railroad Grade, giving us a little bit longer hike so that those scouts who wanted it could get a 10-miler for their Hiking merit badge. The detour took us past the natural spring waterfall on that trail and a few people dipped into the pleasantly cold water. The walk was just a tiny bit shy of 10 miles, so the outing ended with a few scouts walking down to the end of the Pantoll parking lot before returning to the group to say thanks and goodbyes.

Thanks to everyone who participated and helped organize the outing. We’re looking forward to the next one coming soon!

2020 Stay Active Award

Troop 104 is hosting for the MDSC Council for the month of May.

All scouts and scouters are encouraged to participate.  While the challenge is vital for health while we are cooped up at home,
the patch that can be earned may be one of the coolest patch you may ever have! 

All details, background and link to register for the challenge is below. 
Challenge starts Saturday.

Download the flyer at:

Angel Island Kayak Outing Sep 21-22; on behalf of T Mumley

Our kayak overnight outing to Angel Island is on September 21-22.  The trip starts 9 am Saturday morning in Sausalito (Schoonmaker Point Marina) where the group will first learn the basics of kayaking, then paddle to Angel Island and spend the afternoon and evening exploring the Island. The group will stay in a Civil War era building in Camp Reynolds on the west side of the Island (which has camping mattresses) and then paddle back Sunday morning to Sausalito. The trip ends early afternoon (no later than 3 pm). Check out the attached document with trip details. 

This trip is great for novice to advanced paddlers of varying abilities and backgrounds. The minimum number of participants (scouts and adults) is 10 and the maximum is 24. The cost per participant is $158, plus the cost of food (maybe $20 or so). 

To confirm our reservation, we need to provide a head count by August 26. We also need to pay a deposit (1/2 the total cost) by August 26, which I will cover based on confirmed commitments by then. The remaining balance is due by September 13. Jennifer or I will post a signup sheet soon. 

This is our annual outing via Environmental Travel Companions (ETC), a non-profit organization that specializes in accessible outdoor adventures for people with disabilities and youth from under-resourced backgrounds, but they also work with youth groups including scouts. ETC Guides are experienced in facilitating sea kayak trips and working with people of all backgrounds and abilities, and they ensure the trip is safe, educational, and fun. We have done trips with ETC for several years; We have been rotating three trip opportunities: whitewater rafting on the American River, which we did two years ago, an overnight kayak trip on Tomales Bay, which we did last year, and this kayak to Angel Island outing, which we did in 2016. Scouts that went on that trip all raved about it! 

You can call me if you have questions.

Alaska High Adventure

“To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.”  John Muir.

It’s been almost a week now since we’ve returned from the Alaska High Adventure trip.  I wanted to share some pics of our intrepid crew and highlights from the trip.  This is just a small sample (click to view).  We have yet to pool our photos, may have a slideshow at a meeting in September, and expect there will be written stories about the trip’s adventures for the Troop’s newsletter this fall. 

The fabulous guides and staff from Midnight Sun Council in Fairbanks hosted 6 scouts and 4 scouters from Troop 104 and Crew 104.  The group earned the 50-Miler Award while backpacking and canoeing.  We were fortunate to have Lost Lake Scout Camp, the council’s own ‘Wolfeboro’ all to ourselves as a base for our wilderness excursions, complete with a lake teeming with fish.  We hiked above the treeline for the most part, surrounded by caribou, and climbed to the craggy top of Pinnell Mtn, with sweeping views in all directions of the White Mountains.  The subarctic alpine tundra surely is the most beautiful and varied flora one can ever see.  We spent two days paddling.  The Tanana River was wide and wild, and the Clearwater calm and crystal clear with grayling hugging the bottom (we caught some!).  We hiked to two glaciers, the Castner and Gulkana and camped in the Amphitheater Mtns, surrounded by snow-covered peaks.  The salmon and caribou in this area, the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District, has supported human occupation and hunting for the past 10,000 years.  We learned a lot about Alaska, its history and peoples as we visited three museums in Fairbanks, and also went on a sternwheeler riverboat cruise in Fairbanks, where we were able to get off and visit a recreated Athabascan fish camp and village and play with sled dogs.  Lots more pics and tales to share … !

Advance Camp

Jennifer S via Troop 104 Scouts

Hope everyone is having a great summer.  Time got away from us and this email was not sent out earlier.  We need everyone to respond ASAP so that we can get the scouts signed up for Advance Camp.

Advance Camp is a Merit Badge and Rank Advancement fair.  It will be on Saturday September 27 at the Solono Country Fairgrounds (in Vallejo). 

–    Advance Camp is a day-long opportunity to work on rank advancement and merit badges, as well as adult scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster training.  Much more detail can be found in the link below.

–   Please do not reply all- feel free to email me directly with questions

–     Registration is as a troop, not individual, so I will be collecting your registration information on the google doc.  The troop will pay registration and we ask you to select your choices before Aug 27 so we can sign up at the discounted early registration rate (if you do not sign up by end of August, you can still attend, you will just have to pay the late fee).   

–     Please provide your/your scout’s first and second choices in order of preference for the morning and afternoon.  Most often scouts can enroll in their first choices but the popular merit badges do fill up.  I’ll be registering scouts once a week every week starting this Thursday August 10

–  Note that many merit badges require prerequisites prior to attending advance camp- see the attached PDF for the list of prerequisites.

 – There is also Trailhead for Scouts not yet First Class.  We need to register for this as well so just write trailhead on sheet.  Some scouts do Trailhead in am & Pm, others just do it one session and a MB the other.

The following Trailhead advancement is available:


  • Scout:               1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f, 4a, 4b, 5
  • Tenderfoot:       3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 4a, 4b, 4d, 5a, 5b, 5c, 7a, 8
  • Second Class:  1b, 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2f, 2g, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 4, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, 6a, 6b, 6c,6d,6e,8b,9a,9b
  • First Class:       3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 4a, 4b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 6e, 7a, 7b, 7c, 9a

–   There is also a booth with merit badge counselors who can help with completion of partial merit badges, if scouts bring documentation that they have completed all the required activities. The partial merit badge booth is very popular and there’s always a long line so scouts should plan for this instead of a MB class session. 

Sign up Sheet (for classes)

Advance Camp 2019

Camp Wolfeboro

Check the photo library for pictures of teh Troop at Wolfeboro! Look forward to tales and more pictures in the fall 2019 edition of the Trailmaker, and names of scouts who earned awards at the Court of Honor in October.

To summarize however, in addition to the Super Gold Cross award, Troop 104 accomplishments at Wolfeboro this year included:

  • Advancements: at least one first class, many other advancements almost complete
  • 40 merit badges completed, 34 partials
  • 7 STEM NOVA Awards and a Mile Swim BSA Award.
  • Rockers: Sourdough, Grizzly, Marksman, Patriot, Olympian, Trek and Wolf. 

And four Crew 104 venturers (3 are T104 scouts) participated in the ACE program (Adventures, Connections, Experiences), an all week adventure program that includes hiking multiple overnights and mountain biking back to camp.

T104 was well represented on staff:

Mountaineer Counselors-in-Training: Nicholas and Riley

Staff Counselors: Senan (Shooting Sports), Rota (Maintenance), Finn (past scout)

Adults took training too: ASM Outdoor Leader skills (Paul) and Leave No Trace (Damian)

Ever Upward!!

Congratulations Keith

Troop 104 has awarded the Troop’s first annual Irwin Horowitz Scout Spirit Award to Keith Emery. The award is named in honor of former Troop 104 Scoutmaster Irwin Horowitz. 
The award is to recognize a scout aging-out “in recognition of service to the community and Troop 104, and for exemplifying the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law”.

Keith joined has been a scout since he was 5 years old, and is turning 18 this summer.  In the past few years in Troop 104 Keith has been quartermaster and Troop Guide, and has been kind and helpful in countless ways to individual scouts, the Troop and the community.   Keith is a member of Venture Crew 104, so will still be in uniform some days, when he’s not downhill mountain biking or some other crazy thing.  We do know he’ll carry on the scout spirit through his life outside of scouting.  Congratulations Keith!  Rota approves.

Welcoming Girls to Scouts BSA

In Spring 2018, the T104 committee voted to support a “linked” girls troop. It wasn’t until February of 2019 that the newly named “Scouts BSA” opened its doors to girls, 11 and over, who wanted to pursue the traditional ranks and merit badges of Boy Scouts. But our troop has a long history of commitment to equality and opportunity, and so committing to support a girl troop was a natural step toward a stronger youth program.

For nearly 80 years, El Cerrito’s troop has been part of “Boy Scouts of America.” But now that is merely history. And soon the “boy scouts” part will be history, too.

But what is a “linked” troop? In brief, it means that when a girls troop forms in El Cerrito, our existing organization stands ready to support it, doing whatever business is necessary to support its activities with the current group of committee volunteers that support our boys. The new girl troop doesn’t need to create its own committee, and can piggy back on what the existing, boy troop has already created. Of course, the girl troop may decide it wants to do its own activities, or even eventually have its own committee. But the “linked” troop idea provides a good way for girl troops to get started. Once they have a scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster (one of whom must be a woman), they need only the minimum number of youth required to start a troop—in this case, five girls—and they’re off and running.

In September, Troop 104 will be hosting an Open House where people can learn more, both about forming a girl troop or joining the boy troop, as well as about our existing Venture Crew, which already is open to girls and boys between ages 14 and 21.

Remembering Back to 75th Anniversary

Here is an excerpt of a message sent to the Troop 104 community in 2013 when the troop celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Troop 104 75th Anniversary BBQ Gala and Flag Day Celebration
El Cerrito’s Troop 104 of the Boy Scouts of America is celebrating its 75th anniversary on Flag Day June 14 at the Camp Herms Lodge,  the boy scout camp just above Arlington Park.  The public is invited, especially any past scouts, scouters and anyone wanting to learn more about the Troop.  There will be a delicious BBQ, historical displays, scout activities and demonstrations, followed by live dance music in the lodge, by local band Hot Rod Jukebox.   Gala tickets are $15 per person, available online at or at the door.  Tickets purchased before June 9 are available for a prize drawing of a Stars and Stripes and flag pole.   Uniformed scouts and scouters and children under 12 are free.  The anniversary BBQ  will be an affordable and memorable fun night out for any family.  
Troop 104 was founded by the Harding School Dad’s Club, in Dec 1939. It was originally called Troop 4, but its name was changed to 104 in an early reorganization of area Boy Scout Troops.   Troop 104 holds its weekly meeting at the El Cerrito Veterans Hall and at the El Cerrito High School, where it has held its meetings through most of its history.  Boys in the Troop go to public and private middle and high schools in El Cerrito and nearby cities, but most reside in El Cerrito.  Boys come to the Troop typically when they are in sixth grade, from El Cerrito Cub Scout Pack 104 or other area Cub Scout packs; and came from Cub Scout Pack 21 based at Fairmont Elementary school for much of its history (Pack 12 is no longer chartered).  Hundreds of boys have been members of the Troop.  Among them were the Fogerty brothers, young scouts went on to form the band Credence Clearwater Revival.  Their parents called them the “Boy Scouts of Rock ‘n’ Roll”  thinking they wouldn’t be successful,  but in the sprit of the current Troop tagline, Never Say Never!, these boys stuck to their guns played what they wanted to play, and achieved their dreams.  Any boy twelve years old or older is welcome to Boy Scouts, and don’t need to have come from Cub Scouts.  The current and longtime Scoutmaster is George Gaebler ( Troop 104 also has seven adult Assistant  Scoutmasters).  A new Scoutmaster,  Jason Kondracki, will be leading the Troop in the fall of 2014.  More information about scouting and scouting in El Cerrito is available at  
Seventy-five years ago El Cerrito had about ¼ the population, there were still some open fields and streams children would play in, and kids could go to the El Cerrito Theater all day matinee, for a dime.  A lot has changed since then, but scouting has changed little.  Boys still strive to serve the community, respect the environment, campout, earn badges, and above all else, have fun.  Other boy scout troops have been active in El Cerrito before and since, there are sister units in Albany, Kensington, Richmond and Berkeley, but Troop 104 is the only Troop in El Cerrito now, and has been active throughout its 75 year history.   The Troop has a long and adventurous history in El Cerrito, well worth celebrating! 
Troop 104 Boy Scouts have done a lot to help the community of El Cerrito and beyond throughout the years.   For seventy-five years Boy Scouts from the Troop have conducted local and state service projects,  from clearing brush and planting trees in state parks, organizing recycling campaigns and cleaning up graffiti and helping setup and shepherd the Sundar Shadi hillside holiday display each year.   Wherever there is a need, the scouts have been there to help.   Aside from service projects, Boy Scouts conduct projects that often address overlooked or neglected needs of the community, or  environmental  necessities.  Many of these projects are overseen by senior boys for their Eagle Awards, the highest level of achievement in Boy Scouts.   Residents will see examples of Troop 104 projects throughout El Cerrito. 
Walking the Hillside Natural Area Nature Trail, hikers may see stairs and benches constructed long ago by area Boy Scouts, and may make use of a detailed field guide listing plant and animal species on the trails, written by a Boy Scout.  Those aluminum fish shaped placards on many the city’s storm sewers that remind us ‘No Dumping, Drain to the Bay’ were put their by Boy Scouts.   A Troop 104 scout reconstructed two of the holiday display camels from the Shadi display, city treasures .  Retaining walls and benches at Tassajara Park, fences,  the old Teepee and trail signs at Canyon Trail Park, handrails and the court facility at Huber Park and planter boxes at Madera Elementary School and Middle College Eco Club, have all been built by T104 scouts.  The bleachers at El Cerrito Vista were built by scouts many years ago, and in May this year, the benches were rebuilt again, organized by Troop 104 Eagle candidate Tim Jeung.   Scouts spend time learning about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers by earning merit badges, but it is through service and building projects that help put theory to practice in the community for these teenagers.
Of course, Troop 104 scouts go camping and have gone on many other outdoor adventures near and far.  These boys typically campout every month, on the ocean or in the mountains, and many points between.  The scout district’s week-long summer camp is in the Sierra on the Stanislaus river, at Camp Wolfeboro.  Practically all of the scouts return year after year, and many are Wolfeboro Pioneers, one the oldest fraternities in scouting.  In many years, some of the Troop also go on expeditions, at sites organized by the Boy Scouts of America.  In 2013, some of the Troop went on a 75 mile, 12 day backpacking trip to Philmont Scout Ranch, a the High Adventure Base  in the mountains of New Mexico.  This summer two crews from the Troop will be paddling and portaging canoes for a week and a half in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Ontario.  Through its seventy-five year history the Troop has hiked, biked and camped all throughout Northern California, and has traveled to other states, including Hawaii, and even outside the US, to Costa Rica and Canada.
The June 14 anniversary event at Camp Herms will celebrate the  scouts and scouters (parents and adult leaders), their community efforts and adventures and the longevity of El Cerrito Troop 104.  And it will be fun!   The Troop also promises great food, dance music for the whole family, interesting displays and activities from the scouts, meeting past and present scouters and neighbors,  and feeling welcome.    Anyone wishing more information may contact Damian Hayden, 510-###-####.

And the troop produced a special anniversary issue of its Trailmaker newsletter to commemorate the event.