WEST POINT, N.Y. (May 4, 2011) -- The West Point 49th annual Boy Scout Camporee was a huge success with more than 5,500 participants including cadet volunteers, scout troops and scout masters April 29-May 1.

Although the fields surrounding Lake Frederick were muddy in parts, the warm spring sun was just what the more than 220 scout troops from 27 different states needed for a weekend of fun.

The annual Boy Scout Camporee is hosted by the Cadet Scoutmaster's Council.
Most of the cadets have been boy scouts who volunteer their weekend to entertain the scouts with military demonstrations and challenging the scouts in events such as grappling, fire building, grenade toss, camouflage and knot tying.

Class of 2011 Cadet Tony Sagastizado challenged Dakota Waddinton of Troop 198 from New Hampshire in grappling.

"I'm about 180 pounds," Waddinton said. "I enjoy grappling and wrestling."

While taking a 30-minute break, Sagastizado was inundated with scouts wanting to challenge him, proving this to be a popular activity as well as the fact scouts really like collecting cadet brass at this annual event.

Class of 2014 Cadet Isaac Nikssarian operated the fire starting competition.

"The scouts must build a fire with either matches or flint and steel," he said. "They only have three matches to work with. The fastest scout troop that I saw did it in 38 seconds and they were Girl Scouts who lit the fire with flint, steel and etchings of magnesium.

"This is actually a lot of fun," he added. "It's great getting out of the barracks and out with the scouts."

Class of 2012 Cadet John Boston Jr., an Eagle Scout, oversaw the Swiss Seat/One-Rope Bridge and helped scout Evan McDonagh of Troop 66 from West Suffield, Conn.

"It was good (and I was trying to hang on), but I did feel a bit dizzy," McDonagh said. "I would do it again."

Scouts compete for awards such as Best Overall Troop by gaining points in different skill sets. Points are awarded in different categories, with the overall best troop determined for each sub-camp and the overall Camporee winner.

The Camporee also includes non-graded events, such as demonstrations the cadet volunteers put on and static displays.

Individual awards are given for a skit performance, where each troop has the choice of putting on a skit on the first night of the camporee; Scoutmaster's cook-off in five categories of food prep such as main dish chili, Dutch Oven, lightfighter and dessert; and the troop gateway completion where troops prepared a gateway for their campsite.

"I have been to eight of these Camporees and this was without a doubt the best one yet," Maj. Christopher Midberry, instructor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership and officer-in-charge, said. "It was truly a phenomenal event with many positive strategic benefits to the academy."