McEntire hosts 2015 Swamp Fox Boy Scouts Camporee
By Airman Megan Floyd, 169th Fighter Wing
/ Published December 11, 2015
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- More than 700 Boy and Cub Scouts from more than 60 different Boy Scouts of America troops, camped here, during the Indian Waters Council 2015 Swamp Fox BSA Camporee, Dec. 5-6.
The event was hosted by the South Carolina National Guard to allow Scouts the opportunity to interact with Guardsmen and compete and earn various merit badges.
"We don't always have a venue with the availability to spread out and accomplish things that we'd like to at other campsites, so they're really going to learn a lot of stuff this weekend that they wouldn't learn in other camporees," said Larry Parrish, district executive for the Indian Waters Council.
The event was held at the pond site and allowed the campers and staff to set-up different events and camp sites with plenty of room to spare.
"McEntire is a great venue," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Glen Boatwright, deputy director of plans and exercises at Joint Forces Headquarters, S.C. "We've got plenty of space, and it's mutually beneficial. It gives the opportunity for the base to do something to specifically support the community, and the scouts get exposed not only to the military members, but they get to see the aircraft fly, the ground static displays and learn more about what the Army National Guard and Air National Guard do."
Military members were present throughout the camporee offering demonstrations and allowing the Scouts to interact with the static displays, which included a UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter, a Light-Medium Tactical Vehicle and an F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet.
"There will be a lot of interaction between the Guard and the Scouts, and we think that it's a great opportunity for the Scouts to see what the military does," said Parrish. "They get a chance to learn, and that's what it's all about."
The Scouts participated in various activities that tested their knowledge of the Scout Handbook and gave them an opportunity to engage in hands-on competitions, such as the tomahawk throw, archery, fire building and first aid. They also competed in the Liberty Bell Challenge, where teams had to devise a plan to ring a bell that was 12 feet off the ground without using any equipment.
"I always try to emphasize to the boys that Scouting is fun, but we also want the boys to have a learning experience at the same time," said Bruce Holmes, a scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 737. "I enjoyed running the Liberty Bell Challenge because it taught the boys how to think outside of the box and how to work together to accomplish a goal."
The camporee ended with an awards ceremony recognizing all of the Scouts for their many accomplishments, and the Indian Waters Council awarded both the Air and Army National Guard with plaques in appreciation for their support during the entire camporee weekend.
"I really want to thank everyone for having us out here," said Parrish. "Both the Army and the Air [Guard] have been wonderful. I see the relationship growing between the Boy Scouts and the military folks here at McEntire and I'm looking forward to doing this again."