Seven scouts from Pawling’s Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 34 gathered on the morning of Saturday, February 9, at James Baird State Park for a day of competition in the Dutchess District Klondike Derby. Sponsored by the Hudson Valley Council of BSA, Klondike is an annual contest of teamwork and knowledge of scout skills.
The premise of this year’s contest was that the scouts were flown into the Chugach Mountains, a remote area of Alaska where no one lives, for a day of winter fun. Suddenly, a nearby earthquake disrupted their plans and put the scouts into survival mode while they awaited rescue. Various team activities throughout the day tested their survival skills, such as building a shelter to withstand swirling winds and snowy conditions and melting a hole in ice to fish for food using items they had on hand.
Mastery in these areas earned the scouts points toward an overall score. In addition, there were nine stations where scouts demonstrated other skills and knowledge in first aid, knots and lashings, plants and animals, orienteering, and flag etiquette. Troop 34 completed all tasks that were presented with a high degree of precision, teamwork, leadership, and skill. The group dominated with an award of first place at two stations and second place at four stations, adding points to their total score and prize ribbons to the staff for their troop flag.
To heighten the challenge, scouts had to push, pull, tug, and tow a hand-made sled around the park to visit these stations. Sleds had to be snow worthy and were judged in areas of creativity, adherence to the “Chugach Mountain Challenge” theme, choice of natural materials, strength, and durability. Scouts stashed all supplies, including first aid kits, staves, rope, blankets, kindling, and food on their sled for the day.
By the end of the afternoon, Troop 34 had earned First Place overall in Klondike 2019. Klondike is the result of months of planning and preparation. That hard work paid off for scouts Balint Orlando, Steven Lopez, Andre Cruz, Marcuis Lunar, Christian Prosper, Wesley Johnson, and Riley Housen. Scoutmaster Ed Prosper was proud of the scouts’ accomplishment. Adding to the feeling of a job well done was the contribution all participating troops made to veterans in need. Scouts donated bags and bags of food and toiletry items in a gesture of true Scout Spirit: giving back to the community.