Ridgefield Boy Scouts revel in annual Camporee

RIDGEFIELD — Roughly 85 Boy Scouts attended the 21st annual BSA Ridgefield Camporee at Sturges Park from May 14-16 for camping, outdoor cooking and community service activities.

Scouts from Troops 19, 76, 116 and 431 enjoyed the Camporee, which sows fellowship, friendly competition and conservation among the scouts as they team up to clean up the popular local park. The service was particularly important this year as COVID restrictions have prevented large-scale cleanup efforts of fallen trees, campsite maintenance and removal of invasive plants.

“Year after year I’m always impressed with the amount of dedication and love our scouts, leaders and parent volunteers are willing to show Sturges Park and our town,” Troop 116 Assistant Scoutmaster Ernie Archer said. “Whether it’s cutting and stacking wood, invasive plant removal or painting and general repairs, Ridgefield’s troops always come through.”

The scouts arrived at Sturges Park on Friday night to set up camp and prepare for the full schedule of service tasks planned for Saturday. They also worked out rank-advancement requirements. Organizers planned for skills development in orienteering, first aid, fire building, flag folding and handling and, of course, knots.

A longheld Camporee tradition is presenting the Golden Ladle award to the scout with the best home-cooked meal. And although there were multiple entries from each troop, Troop 19’s llapingacho — a traditional Ecuadorian dish consisting of griddled potato patties stuffed with cheese — earned first place and bragging rights.

Saturday night’s campfire, which followed COVID-safety protocols, was emceed by Troop 116’s Life Scout Ben R. Scouts performed skits and participated in a round robin of funny one-liners. Several of the adults, not to be outdone, delivered some comedic antics, as well. The day’s activities closed at lights out, which was signaled by Troop 116’s bugler Robert P.

Gratitude was prevalent at the closing of the 2021 Camporee. “I would like to thank Phil Kearns for starting this day of service 22 years ago and continuing to spearhead it to this day,” Archer said.

The year-round scouting program provides fun, adventure, learning, challenges and responsibility to help children ages 11-17 become the best version of themselves. To learn more about Ridgefield’s Boy Scout troops, visit beascout.scouting.org.