Ikes in Action: Pitching Adventure at Boy Scout Camporee

Winchester Chapter Boy Scouts Event
Virginia > In May, the Winchester Chapter hosted 220 Boy Scouts and leaders from the Shenandoah Area Council for a successful three-day Spring Camporee. These events help Scouts reach their annual camping requirements and prepare for longer camping excursions. All equipment must be carried in and set up by the Scouts. Camporees often involve competitions, such as fire building, knot tying, first aid, emergency preparedness, and orienteering. Some integrate work on merit badges or a service project into the weekend’s events.

The Winchester Chapter was not the original host for the Camporee. But when BSA Camping Committee coordinator Michael Judson explained that a scheduling conflict with another facility had left the Scouts without a venue, chapter leaders readily agreed
to help.

“I was both nervous and excited for the opportunity to host such an important event for our local Boy Scout Council,” says chapter president and BSA coordinator Brian Callahan. “I asked for assistance from our members and was overwhelmed with the response. I am also proud that many of our youth members volunteered – one-third of the weekend’s volunteers were younger than age 18.”

The chapter decided to upgrade its archery range for the Camporee, putting in nine shooting stations with 3D targets. Chapter member John Berglund designed a course with challenges a bow hunter would face in the Blue Ridge Mountains, such as a 30-yard shot of a deer in the woods, which 23 of the Scouts were able to hit, Callahan reports.

In addition to archery, the chapter provided Scouts with opportunities to try fishing, tomahawk throwing, and build blue bird houses. The boy who won the fishing contest for largest bass was a young Scout who had never caught a fish before! On the shotgun range, the chapter used a multi-station approach that allowed novices to shoot stationary targets on a custom-built stand and more experienced youth to shoot a variety of clay fliers. The Ikes mentored Scouts on safety, correct shooting form, and techniques to improve their overall scores. Scouts also had the opportunity to watch portable sawmill and blacksmith demonstrations. Wood that went through the portable sawmill was donated to the BSA Shenandoah Area Council for improvements to Camp Rock Enon, which is used as a summer camp for local Scouts.

Judson gave this year’s Spring Camporee high marks. “We are very grateful for the chapter providing a top-notch facility and wonderful, friendly volunteers to help us pull off a memorable event that I am sure the Scouts will be talking about well into the coming year,” he said.

Callahan thinks the event was a success for the chapter as well, reporting that “our activities with the Scouts enabled us to support the Ike pledge and mission in very specific and significant ways."