Doing the Klondike
Scouts improve survival, vocalizing skills
By Joe Gould
THE NEWS-TIMES

2002-01-20

 
Not much snow in this “Klondike,” but Scouts took a turn at “mushing” a sled, anyway. The outing was held Saturday at Tarrywile Park in Danbury. Scouts from several regions took part.
The News-Times/Carol Kaliff

Not much snow in this “Klondike,” but Scouts took a turn at “mushing” a sled, anyway. The outing was held Saturday at Tarrywile Park in Danbury. Scouts from several regions took part.

Zachary Kunicki, 12, of Danbury Troop 24, exercises his right to saw firewood.

 

Zachary Kunicki, 12, of Danbury Troop 24, exercises his right to saw firewood.

Daniel Richeme, 11, left, and 
Garrett Kelly, 12, both members of Troop 9 in Danbury, take a try at a three-legged snowshoe race in which the center snowshoe is larger than the outside ones.

 

Daniel Richeme, 11, left, and Garrett Kelly, 12, both members of Troop 9 in Danbury, take a try at a three-legged snowshoe race in which the center snowshoe is larger than the outside ones.

DANBURY — Crossing the frozen earth with supply-packed sleds, hundreds of pioneers were challenged endlessly, their survival skills tested over and over.

Some sang "Ring Around the Rosy.”

No, this wasn’t the Klondike of the 1800s, where pioneers ssearched the Yukon River for shiny gold nuggets. It was the Klondike of the Boy Scouts, in which hundreds of area boys ran a course designed to entertain and to hone their scouting IQs.

After camping out Friday night, Scouts from the Schaghticoke District tackled eight stations Saturday. At the stations, run by tenured Scouts, younger Scouts were tested and given a score of one to 10 based on their skills.

Amid stations like orienting, campfire building, and first aid, one group decided turned its tubing station into a spirit station for lack of snow. Younger Scouts picked songs and sang together in front of a campfire.

The boys from Troop 9, sang "Loop de Loop,” the theme song of Nickelodeon cartoon Spongebob Squarepants. "It’s a fun song,” said Tenderfoot Brian Wiedl, 11, of Danbury.

Comically, another group of boys joined hands, sang "Ring Around the Rosy,” and dropped to the snow as it finished.

Wiedl said he’d also enjoyed the three-legged snowshoe race where he came in third. Boys wore large snowshoes in the middle and smaller ones on the sides.

"We work hard and we play hard,” said Ed Wolf, 15, of Newtown, who was running the first aid challenge.

In front of him, three groups of boys were tying splints on "victims” legs and arms, then creating stretchers out of blankets and poles.

"It’s about working together, sharing and leadership,” Wolf said. "Everyone here is passionate about what we do. There’s no way to explain it, it’s something we love to do.”

Passion is one thing, but an army of young pioneers travels on its stomach.

At a lakeside camp, Life Scout Thomas Williams, 16, was chopping potatoes into slices, coating them with seasoned salt and dumping them in a deep fryer. At other areas, younger groups of Scouts were peeling oranges and mixing chocolate and bananas for other groups.

Williams rated them on "whether they work together, whether everybody participates and camaraderie.”

"For the other Scouts, this is a new experience, we’ve been through it before and we just want to each them what we know,” said Star Scout Vernon Hadden, 15, of Danbury.

That’s the purpose of the event, said Schaghticoke District Chairman David Perkins of Bethel.

"It teaches them life skills,” Perkins said. "The whole idea is that to advance you have to assume a leadership role.”

Contact Joe Gould

at jgould@newstimes.com or at (860) 354-2275.


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