WELLESLEY ISLAND About 2,500 Boy Scouts from Central and Northern New York, other states and Canada have arrived on the island to learn Scouting practices and exchange ideas.
Known as the World Brotherhood Camporee, the event is held every other year on the island to show international cooperation and support from communities on and surrounding the St. Lawrence River, according to a released statement from the Boy Scouts of America Longhouse Council, to which north country Boy Scouts belong.
They go primarily to exchange cultures, said Catherine N. Cullen, camporee publicity chairwoman. Canadian Scouting is coed, and the traditional program of Boy Scouting here is strictly for boys. They also like to trade patches.
The most popular way to get boys to communicate with one another is with the Scout Scramble game.
Mrs. Cullen said each troop member gets a random letter from Blue Jay, and they may work alone, as a troop or with any other Scout to see which person or team can come up with the correct spelling of Blue Jay first.
The boy or boys who first spell the word are awarded a patch.
What were doing with this from year to year is forming a totem pole, and thats a common denominator between the two nations, Mrs. Cullen said. We both have First Nations people that go back in our history.
She said Scouts arrived on the island Friday to check in, but Saturday was the main events day.
It makes my heart beat a little faster to see all those kids, and their flags are really impressive, Mrs. Cullen said of the opening ceremony.
Other events included Scouting tips; a trading post of Scouting memorabilia; solar-powered vehicles and assemblages from Clarkson University, Potsdam; archery and tomahawk-throwing skills; voyageur canoe excursions; a Dutch-oven cook-off; and a campfire and talent show, among other activities. The camporee ends at 10:30 a.m. today.
The camporee started in 1974. Scouts here and in Canada take turns hosting the event biennially.