Camping is about giving people the opportunity to live off the land. While survival skills hardly come into play at the annual Valley Stream Camporee, this year scouts learned the importance of protecting the Earth that provides for them.
The Camporee was held on the Village Green from June 6-8, with more than 260 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in attendance, as well as parents, siblings and troop leaders. The theme was “Conserve and Preserve,” and that message was evident throughout the campgrounds.
Campers began setting up on Friday evening, before breaking down their sites on Sunday afternoon. In between, there were numerous activities including games, skits, a cooking contest and a nighttime bonfire.
There were also several learning opportunities relating to the theme. Representatives of the Tanglewood Preserve talked about endangered species, while members of the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary presented “Birds of Prey.” In both situations, campers got to meet animals. Home Depot provided materials so scouts could build birdhouses.
Gerardo Cavaliere, Cubmaster of Pack 367 and a member of the planning committee, said leaders wanted this year’s theme to be reflected in the activities. “We brought a little different taste to the Camporee,” he said.
The campsites were also “green.” All scouts were asked to bring reusable water bottles instead of plastic disposable bottles. There were also recycling bins placed throughout the grounds.
Planning for this year’s Camporee began in January, and the committee was led by Liz Fogarty and Elizabeth Stevens of the Valley Stream Association of Girl Scouts, which had a large presence at the Village Green.
The Girl Scouts have returned to prominence at the Camporee. This year there were 88 scouts in attendance, about the same as last year and double the turnout from two years ago, Fogarty said.
She added that the Camporee is the only opportunity for all the different units of the Valley Stream Association of Girl Scouts to get together each year. There was a mix of age groups, from daisies to seniors. “For some of these girls,” Fogarty said, “this is the only camping that they do.”