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Frigid cold temperatures? Not a problem! In temperatures hovering in teens, 13 teams of Boy Scouts from Tompkins and Cortland Counties competed in a Winter Camporee. The scouts demonstrated a wide variety of skills: everything from performing as a group in an ice rescue, speed in building a fire, cutting a tree from 10 feet away without touching the saw, comparing First Aid skills from 100 years ago with those today and learning how to send messages without cell phones!

The annual Winter Camporee is a high point of the scouting year for the two-county Taughannock District. The Camporee experience gives Scouts a chance to test their skills against many other groups, while also focusing on teamwork and cooperation.

The Scouting program is focused on helping young people develop leadership and a sense of team-work as well as to value the skills each person brings to their “patrol” or team. Scouting builds good citizens by helping each Scout recognize skills in themselves and others and giving them a chance to develop those skills both in their groups and in their communities. Many Scouts go on to use these skills in activities as varied as sports, robotics and academic research projects.

The Scouts competed for the right to host the Taughannock District’s highly-prized “Taughann-Duck” pole for the year in recognition of having the best scouting skills in the two-county area.

This year’s competition was won by the Baconator Patrol of Ithaca’s 100-year-old Troop 4 (sponsored by Ithaca Sunrise Rotary). Troop 85’s Poisonous Purple Python Patrol from Homer took second place with Trumansburg’s Troop 13 Squirrel patrol coming in third.

Special recognitions were awarded for particular skills. Trumansburg Troop 13’s Squirrel patrol made a SnowBallista which launched a ball over 116 feet. Freeville’s Troop 46 was judged to have made the best dessert on-site. The fastest fire-building award was won by Ellis Hollow’s Troop 55 Eagle Patrol, who started a fire and boiled a pot of water in under 3 minutes. Troop 4’s Bacon Patrol also won the nearly mile-long sled race in a time of 6:33. The judges gave an award for the best Scout spirit to the Splatzer Patrol of Lansing’s Troop 48.

Scouts BSA welcomes all young people who are 11 years old (or 10½ and completed fifth grade), up to the age of 18. We prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. We are “youth-led, adult-guided” meaning the Scouts plan the program with adults guiding them to create a safe space for boys to be their best selves – no one gets “cut” from Scouts.

The Taughannock District also has Cub Scout Packs for children from first through fifth grades, as well as Venture Crews, Explorer Posts and a Sea Scout Ship, all for youth from 14 to 20 years old. If you want to find out more about Scouting, visit our district website at or call the Baden Powell Council office at 877-674-8876.

Featured image: Ithaca Troop 2’s Baconator Patrol working together to lash together a functional bridge in freezing temperatures. (Provided Photo)

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