Scouts practice making a fire during the annual Fall Camporee event on Saturday. (Jennifer Sprouse/ Johnson City Press)
The grounds of Tipton-Haynes Historic Site served as a local Boy Scouts’ getaway this weekend, as troops from around the area gathered for the annual Boy Scout Fall Camporee.
On Saturday, tents and camping gear were sprawled in the grassy areas near the entrance to the site, as scouts and leaders from the Buffalo Mountain district of the Sequoyah Council were practicing essential skills during each of the planned activities at the Camporee.
In one corner of the site, scouts practiced wilderness rescue and first aid, as others tried to start a fire using various methods, tools and sticks.
Scout Master John Maddox, with Troop 135 from Sulphur Springs, was assisting his Scouts as they learned to tie different kinds of knots.
“The boys are going around to various stations practicing their Scouts’ skills, (which) includes knot tying, fire building, wilderness rescue and ... using a compass to find their way around the field,” Maddox said.
He said in the afternoon all of the troops would band together to do a two-hour service project for Tipton-Haynes, which would include clearing away brush from the grounds.
Getting involved with scouting six to seven years ago when his son was a Tiger Cub, Maddox said he feels the Camporee and scouting gives young boys exposure to the great outdoors, as well as teaches them life lessons.
“It allows the boys to get outside. A lot of times the amount of outside time that boys have ... is fairly limited, so this is a good, protective environment for them to get out and be out in nature (and) camp out two nights here in the fall,” he said. “It also allows them to practice some useful skills. The Boy Scouts are focused on building skills that they can use for a lifetime, so being able to tie the knots, the wilderness rescue, first aid ... putting others before themselves, I think these are wonderful lessons for the Scouts to learn.”
Assisting Maddox with the knot-tying activity was Samuel Jenkins, senior patrol leader, also with Troop 135.
Jenkins said while he would mostly be helping out during the Camporee, he said he enjoys the event because he gets to be outside.
“I like Scouts because I get to come here and I get to camp,” he said. “I get to do ... most things that I wouldn’t be able to do in the house or playing video games.”
Dennis Relyea, leader from Troop 37 and director of the weekend Camporee, said the event started Friday at 4 p.m. and said eight troops — ages 11-18 — from around the region participated this year.
He said following the service project Saturday, the Scouts would participate in a scavenger hunt, before having a camp fire at 8 p.m.
“They’ll be doing skits and little plays ... and (we’ll) give out awards,” Relyea said. “I hope that they take away a good, fun and educational weekend, (that) that’ve learned something. It’s character building and it helps us as adult leaders ... to form and to shape the youth into more productive and responsible citizens as they get older.”