By Darryl Alder
Jul 08, 2016

Operation on Target 2016—Just a Week Away

I’ve coached teams that thought of Operation “On Target!” as the Christmas of Varsity Scouting; we anticipated it for months. Sure getting ready was a great part of the adventure—the peak experience had a kind of Christmas-like expectation—but the reward was in each distant flash. Each report (flash) from a distant peak was an exciting surprise, like a package being opened.

ontargetIn the early days, the fun was heightened whenever you had a radio with you. Today, cell phones compliment the event since you can actually talk to distant Varsity Scouts on the peak you are targeting. With each call, things would really light up as everyone tried to target the peak calling in.
(NOTE: These days most units make it work with cell phones, but there is not always service on a mountain top.)

This year, On Target 2016 in Utah falls on July 16th from 10 am to 1 pm—it’s not too late to register for a peak. You can register below and read more about it at “An Ultimate Peak Experience” and “Operation ‘On Target!’ a Mountain Top Adventure.”


NOTE: This form takes registrations from ALL U.S. Scout councils.  If your council already has their own registration page that we know about (see the Resources – Links section) then we will also forward your registration information onto your councils coordinator so hopefully your information will show up on both sites.  Arizona has their own registration page at and the teams registered for the September On Target can be viewed at

Coordinates: Please enter latitude and longitude in decimal degrees ( e.g., 35.4997, -118.2502 rather than 35º 29′ 59″ N, 118º 15′ 1″ W), so our software can process it. Your latitude will be between 30 and 60, and your longitude, between -100 and -140.

  • To convert to/from decimal degrees to other systems, use this online converter: Convert Geographic Units
  • One way to find the decimal latitude/longitude for your chosen location is to right-click on it in Google Maps, and select the “What’s Here” option. The decimal latitude/longitude will appear (possibly below other information) under the search box at upper left.

IMPORTANT!!!!   If you want your team to have a successful On Target you should post at least a cell phone number that you can be contacted on BEFORE (to make plans) and DURING the event.  Although it helps to register your team and get them on the map you still need some method of contacting the other teams from the peak to get their attention so they are looking your way and are flashing at you while you are flashing at them.  This is called making a confirmed contact when they confirm verbally that they see your flashes.  WARNING many peaks do not have cell service so your cell phone won’t work.

Amateur (HAM) Radio works best but if you can’t find a HAM to go with you an FRS/GMRS radio on Channel 7 (462.7125 MHz.) may also work for a contact up to 50 miles away.  We will also be using the On Target Conference call #  712-775-7085, Access code: 915255 to try and link those teams with only cell phones with those that have HAMs during the event (Thanks to Rick Donkin KA7MMM).  We’ve had requests from several On Target Coordinators that you list your email address when registering so they may contact you if they need to.  Sharing your email address also helps other teams contact you to make plans. QUESTIONS?

Send email to ontarget(dot)gslc(at)gmail(dot)com (be sure to replace the text inside the parenthesis with the correct character).

Map of Registered Peaks

Darryl head BWAuthor: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. He was a Varsity Scout Coach for three years in the early days of the program. This article was adapted and updated with the help of posts at

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One thought on “Operation on Target 2016—Just a Week Away

  1. AvatarDouglas

    Thank you for remembering to post a reminder of On Target. As you know, I’m at Tifie this summer and haven’t had much time to advertise other than the Varsity leaders that I have seen at camp.
    Thanks Again
    Doug Hickman
    On Target Coordinator UNPC


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