Schenectady County

Local Boy Scout troop has derby competition down cold

True to their motto, being prepared was the reason Boy Scout Troop 67 brought home the coveted Snows

True to their motto, being prepared was the reason Boy Scout Troop 67 brought home the coveted Snowshoe for the third year in a row at the Klondike Derby.

But then again, Troop 67 has a long history of winning the derby.

The Glenville-based troop this year topped the field of more than 40 teams at the annual event, which was held Saturday at Camp Boyhaven in Middle Grove. The competition is designed to test survival skills, with scouts completing a series of challenges that included a simulated ice rescue, compass navigation, fire building and shelter making.

The team with the highest total score wins the Ted Brown “Ace Patrol” Snowshoe Award. The Scouts’ names are added to the brass plate on the trophy and the troop gets to keep the snowshoe until the following January.

The team that wins the most derbies in a decade keeps possession of the Snowshoe Award and a new one is awarded for the next 10 years.

Troop 67 will keep the Snowshoe for racking up the most wins in the last 10 years, adding to the one it collected 10 years ago for a similar feat.

Preparation is the key to success, according to 17-year-old Michael Nietfeld of Glenville.

“We had everything planned out to the last detail before we went in,” he said.

For example, Nietfeld said they gathered their materials and laid them out separately and had a prebuilt fire, which saved a lot of time.

Nietfeld said the toughest part is trying to do everything correctly.

“There’s so many little things you have to remember to do during each event, and they’re so diverse. You really have to pay attention,” he said.

Assistant Scoutmaster Brian Campbell said the team has come close to a perfect score the last two years, which is quite an accomplishment.

“We were over an hour faster than the next fastest team,” he said.

The team particularly excelled in the fire-building challenge.

“They have to build the fire and boil the water with nothing but two matches,” he said. “This year, our boys did it in 7 minutes, 42 seconds, which is the best I’ve ever seen.”

The boys are dedicated to the competition, which is the secret to their success, according to Campbell.

“If you’ve got kids that are goofing around, that won’t work. The training has to be spot on. You’ve got to know how to do the events,” he said.

Scoutmaster Ken Rice said the scouts have been training since October with the help of some volunteer dads and Assistant Scoutmaster Glen Pietrow. They have had a half-dozen weekend practices.

Nine youths participated in the events. The troop usually fields two teams, but this year, one boy got sick, so they had to go with only one.

Rice said he believed there is a three-way tie for the number of victories by a troop over the last decade, so it is still undecided who will keep the trophy when a new one is inaugurated in 2013.

Michael Rice, 17, of Glenville said he was excited about the victory.

“We practiced as much as we could and we tried to do the best,” he said.

Rice said the toughest challenge was trying to plot a direction using a map.

“We have to find out necessarily the quickest route but the route that will be the safest for everyone,” he said.

Rice said what he most enjoys about scouts is spending time with friends and learning skills that most people wouldn’t know.

Other team members are Collin Campbell, Drake Rudolph, Chris LaCoss, Alex Bongermino, Ted Beiling, Andrew Tomlinson and Eric Tomlinson.

The scouts will be honored Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at Glendaal Elementary School.

Categories: Life and Arts

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