Leatherstocking Council, BSA hosted a “Salute to Service” Camporee for its Scouts this past weekend at Griffiss Business & Technology Park. The event offered an exceptional opportunity for Scouts to explore various career paths in public service and engage with representatives from over 25 government, military, and first responder organizations. Scouts acquired a deeper appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice of those who serve our communities.

For many, this was a rare opportunity to talk with real-life superheroes who serve our community every day. Scouts were able to participate in search and rescue demonstrations, step inside police command posts and SWAT vehicles, use a fire hose, see an MQ-9 Reaper drone, climb on board a variety of vehicles from the DPW and DOT, watch law enforcement drone demonstrations and most importantly talk to the men and women who have chosen service to their nation and community as a career.

Scouts were able to interact with the following organizations:
Army, Air Force, Air National Guard, Navy, Griffiss Crash Rescue, Oneida Co. Sheriff, Madison Co. Sheriff, Oneida Nation Police, Rome Police, Rome Fire, NYS Dept. of Corrections, National Grid, Rome DPW, NYS DOT, NYS Police K-9 unit, Utica Police, Suny Morrisville Police K-9 Unit, Onandaga Co. Sheriff Bomb Squad, NYS Fire Rappelling Tower, NYS Fire Technical Rescue, Oneida City Police, NYS Homeland Security, AmCare Ambulance, NYS Fire Urban Search and Rescue, and the National Park Service.

“Community service is one of the core tenets of Scouting.” Council President Kirk Evans said, “today, Scouts of all ages, boys, and girls, had a chance to see how exciting and rewarding a career in service can be. This is something they cannot experience in school and is one of the reasons why being active in Scouting is so important – it’s about seeing how a career in service, duty and honor delivers its own rewards.”

Scouts camped overnight Friday and Saturday and in addition to the exhibits on Saturday, the Scouts participated in traditional Scouting activities, cooked all their own food in their sites, made new friends and had fun at the end of the day playing touch football, volleyball, ga-ga ball, and other team building sports – all without a cell phone in sight.

“Everyone had a great time – the Scouts and the exhibitors.” said Ray Eschenbach, Scout Executive for the Leatherstocking Council, “to see Scout units from nine different counties, come together in fellowship and share in this amazing experience was priceless. This would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors, all the organizations that came out to exhibit, our volunteers, Oneida County, and the Griffiss Business and Technology Park.”

Following the success of this event, the Leatherstocking Council is already beginning to plan next year’s camporee which will focus on careers in the trades.