Lakewood Ranch, Florida-"Be prepared." That's the Boy Scout motto, but nothing could prepare Troop #303 for having their trailer, filled with hiking and camping equipment, stolen from a church parking lot.
Manatee County Sheriff Deputies investigate the trailer theft from the Living Lord Lutheran Church in Lakewood Ranch just a couple of weeks away from one of their biggest camping trips of the year.
Twelve-year-old Larsen Godfrey, a scout with the troop, says the trailer holds, "A lot of memories and a lot of equipment."
Memories of monthly camping trips such as the trip to North Carolina Godfrey took last year with fellow Boy Scouts from Troop 303.
"I learn responsibility especially because you have to be responsible to carry your gear, your food, your tent- everything," says Larsen.
A dark green and black trailer tags along on every camping trip with about $7,000 worth of the troops camping equipment. Larsen says, "We had coolers, tents the grill for fundraising, our flags with all of our ribbons of achievements..."
Sometime last week someone hitched up the boy scouts' trailer parked at Living Lord Lutheran Church and drove off with it, stealing the trailer and everything inside.
"I would ask what were they trying to accomplish with stealing a trailer from a church, let alone boy scouts," says Larsen.
"It's more than just a dark green trailer to us; it's everything we do, everything we use on a regular basis," says Larsen's father Bill Godfrey.
He says the scouts raised the money through cook outs to buy that camping equipment.
"And we have a big grill in there that we use for fund raising, so now the ability to actually earn funds has diminished," says Godfrey. He adds, "We just want the trailer back. Everything in there the kids earned."
Troop #303 has paid for a nine-day hiking trip to the Canadian Rockies on July 27, for which they are now scrambling for camping equipment.
Even in adversity these boy scouts learn to prevail. Larsen says, "You just gotta learn to live with it, and make the best of it with what you have like McGyver."
The scouts say the thieves also stole some irreplaceable items, such as ribbons the scouts have won over the years and their merit badge books.
As for this upcoming trip, the scouts need light-weight stoves and tents to carry in their backpacks.
Anyone interested in helping the scouts can go to their website.