Unaka District

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Contact: Philip Seibert
Telephone: (423) 336-9919
FAX: (423) 336-6047
E-mail: PhilSeib@concentric.net



(Athens, TN, May 2, 2005) —Despite the rain, Boy Scouts from all over the region converged on Athens farm of Ken Davidson this weekend for their annual Spring Camporee. Each spring and fall Boy Scout Troops come together from McMinn, Meigs and Monroe counties for camping, fellowship, fun and games. This spring’s event was hosted by Troop 624 of Athens.

Even the rain and the mud didn’t deter the enthusiasm of a Boy Scout determined to show his skills and have fun at the same time. The fun begins with the arrival of all the troops to the Camporee site on Friday evening. After selecting an appropriate camping site, each troop sets up camp with individual sleeping tents, a cooking area, campfire and all the typical things one would associate with camping. Saturday begins with an opening ceremony and proceeds with “patrols” of four to seven Scouts from each troop seeking out and locating various event sites on the Camporee grounds. At each location the patrol performs a scout-related activity to test their skills, knowledge and teamwork. There’s also a competitive element to the events because awards are given based on each patrol’s speed and accuracy in the activity. “These Scouts work really hard to perfect these skills,” said Scoutmaster Charlie Brown of Troop 616 in Calhoun. “They look forward to these competitions and to showing off their skills,” adds Brown.

Events were designed to test traditional Boy Scout skills such as knot tying, first aid, orienteering and campsite cooking. The most anticipated event, the Tug-of-War competition, exemplifies the part of a Boy Scouts’ Oath: “I promise .....to keep myself physically strong...” Since it rained steadily for hours before the competition, the event was as much as competition of traction as strength. But that seemed to make it all the more fun for the Scouts. When it was over, the Scouts of Troop 10 from Madisonville, TN earned the title of Unaka District Tug-of-War Champions!

Another tradition at the Spring Camporee includes a Tap Out Ceremony conducted by the Pellissippi Lodge of the Order of the Arrow (OA). The OA was founded in 1915 as Scouting's National Honor Society. Scouts are elected to the Order by their fellow unit members, following approval by the Scoutmaster. To become a member, a boy must be a registered member of a Boy Scout troop and hold First Class rank. The Scout must have experienced fifteen days and nights of Boy Scout camping during the two-year period prior to the election. Adult selection is based on their ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition. The Tap Out Ceremony is the public acknowledgment of a potential member’s selection into the Order and includes an elaborate ceremony featuring Native American costume and settings. According to Stan Weslowski, Lodge Representative, this year’s ceremony identified 20 Scouts and 2 adult leaders as potential inductees into the Order. Weslowski adds, “Selection for the OA is a very special event in a Scout’s life, and these young men will remember this time for the rest of their lives.”

Boy Scouting is open to boys ages 11-17. Troops meet throughout the year in local neighborhoods, providing a safe, structured way to learn skills and to just have fun. McMinn, Meigs, and Monroe counties make up the Unaka District of the Great Smokey Mountains Council. Boys interested in joining Boy Scouting should contact Ambler Brown at (865) 588-6514 or Leona Layman at (423) 745-9307. The Scouts and Leaders of the Unaka District thank Mr. Davidson, owner of Electric Motor Service in Athens, for opening his farm to the Scouts and for his long support of Scouting.


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Last modified: 09/19/13