The recent Fall Camporee of the Ozark Trailblazers District took place at S Bar F Scout Ranch in Knob Lick, but for the participants they were in a galaxy far, far away.
“Jedi Nights” was the theme of this year’s camporee, a play on the word knights and nightfall, with events built around that theme while maintaining a focus on scoutcraft skills competitions.
Almost a hundred scouts, parents, and scout leaders descended on the ranch, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015, to take part in the camporee despite the windy, rainy weather.
Most of the competition events focused on team work with scouts dressed up in Star Wars themed costumes. There were flag pole building events, fire building competitions, blindfolded mazes, stilt walking, and the scouts even rode a shovel collecting rings with their light sabers. Many of the current batch of Boy Scouts were born and were raised during the time of George Lucas’ Prequel trilogy of Star Wars movies; playing with the toys, dressing up in the Halloween costumes, however most of their parents were raised during the original run.
The original Star Wars movie debuted in 1977 and Assistant Scoutmaster Scott Comfort remembers the line of people waiting to see the movie in downtown Flat River at the time circling around the block of the old movie theater. With the recent sale of the Star Wars franchise to the Disney Corporation and announcement of a new trilogy of movies hitting theaters in December of 2015, interest in Star Wars is bigger than ever.
Star Wars and Scouting are a perfect pair to combine as each the Jedi and the Boy Scouts of America follow a code of honor, both try to live in peace and harmony with their environment, and both take their stewardship to conservation, citizenship and their communities seriously.
After a tough day of competitions, the awards for the weekend were presented during a Closing Camp Fire Ceremony conducted by the District Camping Committee along with the individual competition judges. Troop 403 (chartered to the VFW in Arcadia Valley) won the Jedi Rings competition, an event dependent on balance and speed. Troop 483 (St. Paul Lutheran Church, Farmington) won the Republic Flag contest, which involved using pioneering lashings to build a flag pole, anchor it to the ground and fly their self-made patrol flag from the top.
Troop 480 (American Legion, Potosi) took home the trophy for the Lord of the Rings event, a teamwork exercise involving a large hoop/ring that each Scout on each team had to pass through in the shortest amount of time. Troop 483 also won the Fire Breathing Krayt Dragon competition, a Boy Scout standard event (the fire building and string burn) renamed for the Star Wars theme. Troop 417 (First United Methodist Church, Park Hills) won the event entitled Padawan Maze, which was a group test involving a blindfolded Boy Scout and following directions given by their team members to maneuver an obstacle course.
Finally, last but not least, Troop 471 (chartered to the Memorial Methodist Church, Farmington) took home gold for the Crossing the Lava event, a stilt walking contest. Troop 403 from Arcadia Valley won the overall Camporee weekend event after officials added up scores from each competition.
If you or someone you know is interested in getting involved with the Boy Scouts of America contact John Wright, District Executive for the local Ozark Trailblazers District at 573-934-0387 or you can contact the Greater St. Louis Area Council directly at 314-361-0600. You can also locate a scouting unit near you at BeAScout.org.