Klondike Derby puts area Scouts to the test

By Susan Tuz Staff Writer

Article Last Updated: 01/21/2008 05:06:41 AM EST

 

 

Robby Russo, 13, left, guides Troop 270 of Newtown’s sled as Tyler Coleman, 12, right,

runs alongside during the Klondike Derby at Richter Park Golf Course on Saturday.

More than 500 Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Coed Ventures from the area took part in the event.

DANBURY -- More than 500 Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Coed Ventures from the Danbury area took part in the Klondike Derby Saturday at Richter Park Golf Course. The scouts hailed from Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, Newtown, New Fairfield, Ridgefield, Redding and Sherman. Older scouts spent Friday night at the golf course, sleeping in tents and sleeping bags in the freezing cold. But these kids were tough and the cold elements didn't phase them.

"It wasn't bad at all sleeping out," said William Robinson, 12, of Troop 9 from Danbury. "The toughest part is keeping the right clothes on to stay warm and pulling the sled today. We get to use a lot of the skills we learned in scouts. I'm going for 'year round camper' so I look forward to this every year."

"We've slept out overnight before," said Jeffrey Janofsky, 12, of Troop 5 from Brookfield. "Keeping warm is the toughest part of an overnight camp out. Sledding is the best part today."

Cub Scouts arrived at the golf course Saturday morning at 8 a.m. Scouts from Pack 5 out of Brookfield said they would have slept out over night but were not allowed to. "It's really cool," said Peter Lazorchak, 10, of Pack 5. "It's a lot of fun. This is my second year. I'm looking forward to doing the knot tieing. I like knots." "I'm looking forward to the fire starter where we'll break a rope by building a fire," said Collin Porter, 10, of Pack 5.

"I was looking forward to coming back all year," said Matthew Novacco, 10, also of Pack 5.

The scouts took part in challenges at stations set up throughout the golf course. There was the BB gun range, first aid competition, wilderness survival and orienteering, working with compass and maps, among numerous other skill testing challenges.

Bob O'Neill, troop leader for Troop 54 from Bethel, said the boys were getting to use the skills they've been taught in scouts.

"There's taught a lot of basic skills and this is the way they can put them into practice," O'Neill said. "They're meeting the challenge of the cold and learning they can do this."

Frank Considine, district executive of the Boy Scouts of America, oversaw the Klondike.

"You don't get this in school -- learning this kind of team work and leadership skills," Considine said. "Here the boys have a chance to be themselves and develop themselves, preparing themselves for the future."

Considine noted that the Boy Scouts is one of the last places where young boys can learn about patriotism in this country.

"They got up this morning and made the decision not to raise the flag because it was still dark out," he said. "They knew the flag has to be lit when it flies."

Brendan Gillotti, 13, of Troop 9, said the biggest challenge of the Klondike is making everything work.

"The challenge is getting everything to work out the way we want it to," Brendan said. "Sometimes things don't go the way we want them to go. But we keep trying."

The Scouts were competing for the coveted Ice Cup, a mammoth trophy. At the end of the day, the Ice Cup went to the Golden Fire Patrol, a combined den of Pack 8 and Pack 135 out of Brookfield.