Scout Master's Camporee By West Point Cadets
by Jorge Garcia
United States Military Academy at West Point
May 23, 2022
The grassy fields abounded with colorful tents, sizzling grills and kids donning war paint as they engaged in various activities during the Scout Master’s Camporee, which took off without a hitch Saturday at Lake Frederick.
Over 3,500 people filled the hilltop, lakeside and drop zone campsites, ready to take on the 16 eventful activities West Point cadets prepared, such as the Grenade Toss, the Zodiac Race and the Air Rifle site, to name a few.
“It’s been a lot of fun! I hope I can come back next year,” Colin Berger, a student at the Aspire Living and Learning Academy, said. “This year’s event was more fun than the last one partially because of the mud and the people here.”
The scouts hailed from 15 different states from across the Nation, with some experiencing this national-level scouting event for the first time.
During the event, high school athletes like James McKinziy enjoyed his first outing to the Scout Master’s Camporee as he performed a variety of exercises to literally earn the shirt off of Class of 2022 Cadet Isaac Hagberg, who facilitated his own competition with young kids and teenagers.
April 23, 2022 - Boy Scout James McKinziy buddy-carries another Boy Scout from the drop-zone campsite to the hilltop campsite during the Scout Master's Camporee at Lake Frederick. McKinziy enjoyed his first outing to the Scout Master's Camporee as he performed a variety of exercises to literally earn the shirt off of Class of 2022 Cadet Isaac Hagberg (left), who facilitated his own competition with young kids and teenagers. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from United States Military Academy photo by Jorge Garcia.)
McKinziy initially failed Hagberg’s plank exercise competition but redeemed himself soon after when he buddy-carried another teenager from the drop-zone campsite to the hilltop campsite.
“My legs feel really bad, but it feels good to get up here,” McKinziy said. “This experience has been great and I see myself coming back.”
The Scout Master’s Camporee is one of the largest camporees in the country, with the U.S. Military Academy Scout Master’s Council facilitating the event every year.
In years previous, about 8,000 participants would flock to Lake Frederick to become part of this 61-year tradition.
On that note, the history of this event was on full display as Jim Steiner, a 1978 USMA graduate, and his colleagues from the Lawrence L. Lee Scouting Museum propped up two large tents. The tents housed an assortment of badges, collectibles and other historical items that date back to West Point’s first camporee in 1961.
“I’ve attended this event 15 to 20 times in the last 43 years since I graduated from West Point,” Steiner said. “It’s great to see how motivated the cadets are to put on this camporee. I’ve talked to some of the scouts, leaders and cadets and it’s so heartwarming to see how pumped up they are.”
One pumped-up cadet, Class of 2022 Cadet Luke Sanders, helped facilitate the event as a cadet-in-charge. An Alabama native and a soon-to-be second lieutenant, Sanders felt that coordinating the Scout Camporee was a fitting way to culminate his West Point experience as he moves ever closer to graduation.
“I never would have thought I’d be involved with an event as massive as this one,” Sanders said. “If you’d told me when I was a plebe (freshman), I’d be in charge and that I’d be out here with the deputy commander helping 3,500 scouts, I wouldn’t have believed you.”
As the event concluded and the evening sun fell, the night’s festivities came full force with music from DJ Extreme during the bonfire event.
“I want the kids to realize that scouting is the same across the country and, quite frankly, across the world,” Steiner said. “While they are here, I want the kids to appreciate the principles of scouting, to do their best, to do their duty, to be patriotic, and to be honorable.”
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