Scouts competing in 'camporee' at Forest Glen

WESTVILLE — No one will get voted off an island, but there will be some tiki torches snuffed out Saturday night after area Boy Scouts compete in various events at the Prairielands Council's "Survivor"-themed fall camporee at Forest Glen Preserve.

Leaders patterned this year's camporee after the reality television show in which individuals live in the wild, are divided into teams and compete in various events to avoid being voted off the show each week. The ultimate goal is to be the final survivor, who walks away with a cash prize.

No cash at the camporee, but the Scout patrols, or teams, will assemble with their burning tiki torches at an awards ceremony and watch as leaders announce the point totals of each team from bottom to top, snuffing out each patrol's tiki torch as they go, until they get to the "surviving" patrol with the most points. That patrol's tiki torch will keep burning.

"It's something new that we threw out," said Bob Bantz, chairman of the fall camporee. "All the events still have to do with Scouting."

Scouts will compete throughout the day, rotating among various contests, including a sling shot event, fire-building competition, obstacle course, memory game, first-aid race and open-flame cooking competition. They also will be judged on their construction of a gateway to their campsites and a shelter for their senior patrol leader as well as cleanliness of their campsites and tents.

Bantz said nearly 200 Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and leaders from East Central Illinois and west central Indiana are involved in the camporee, which started Friday night and ends Sunday. Bantz said some of the younger Cub Scouts in the area are being invited, so they can see what Boy Scouts is all about.

He said it's the first time a fall camporee has been held at Forest Glen Preserve, a Vermilion County Conservation District park near Westville.

Most of the time, fall camporees are held at the Scouting camp, Camp Robert Drake near Catlin. But Bantz said the site at Forest Glen allowed them to set up all the events in one open area rather than scattering them.

Bantz said the "Survivor" theme puts a new twist on the basic Scouting skills the boys are learning, but most importantly, it's teaching them teamwork.

"It's not one person who will step forward and do all this. You have to work as a team," he said.

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