Steve Young was 12 years old in 1973 when he participated in the first ever Cub Scout and Boy Scout winter camping trip at the Rum River Scout Camp in Ramsey. Four years later it became the Klondike games, held each year weather permitting.
The former member of Troop 513 in Coon Rapids has maybe missed three of these annual events since then and was once again helping to make sure things ran smoothly for this year’s team-building competition, which was held Feb. 22.
There is a new theme every year. This year it was the Olympics in honor of the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
But what never changes is the sense of competition and the need to work together.
“It’s fun to watch them excel and fail,” said Sam Stockwell of Columbia Heights.
Stockwell and fellow Boy Scout Troop 167 members Bobby Hosch and Justin Larkin were in charge of coming up with challenges that required teamwork so the most athletic troops would not have a competitive advantage, Hosch said.
Five members of Troop 233 in Anoka had trouble getting started in the ski patrol competition because nobody initially took charge in shouting out, “left, right!” so that everyone attached to the long, heavy wooden skis lifted up their legs and advanced at the same time. After falling down or not being able to keep their feet in the loose straps, one person took the lead in shouting out instructions, they communicated better when someone fell and helped each other up, and they advanced more quickly to the finish line.
A total of 81 Cub Scouts and 55 Boy Scouts from all over Anoka County participated in this year’s Klondike Olympics, according to event organizers.
Columbia Heights resident and Boy Scout Troop 167 member Duncan Vandemark, 14, lit the Olympic torch under the name “Dunkamire Putin” in honor of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who fought hard to get the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi.
The competitions included a swimming event in which Scouts pulled themselves on sleds through the snow, luge and bobsled races down a slope, volleyball, broomball and curling.
Young said his favorite part of the event each year is seeing the kids smile.
“Seeing them have a blast in the snow is fun,” he said.
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