DARIEN, Conn. – Darien Boy Scouts showed off their camping, fishing, campfire and rope-making skills to the community at Tilley Pond Park Saturday in celebration of 100 years of Scouting in Darien.
The Camporee brought together Scouts from Darien’s Troops 35 and 53, which operate out of the Andrew Shaw Memorial Scout Cabin on West Avenue. Scouting was first established in Darien in 1915, and the cabin was first built in 1926 to provide a permanent place for Scout programs.
“It’s amazing to see how vibrant Scouting is in Darien compared to other towns,” said Troop 35 Scoutmaster Kevin Granath. Darien has about 150 Boy Scouts, with an equal number of Cub Scouts. “The program is really cared for. The kids care a lot and their folks get involved as well. And we really get a lot of support from the whole community through our annual tag sale.”
The focus on community is really important for Darien Scouts. Boy Scouts perform community service projects for a number of organizations through the town, and each of the 319 Eagle Scouts who have come from Darien have designed their own individual service project to help the community.
“They learn a lot about citizenship and receive leadership training, and have so much fun in the process through camping, kayaking and adventure trips,” said Leslie Pennington, president of the Andrew Shaw Memorial Trust.
For some like Charles Scribner, Scouting is a lifelong commitment. Scribner first got involved in Darien Scouting in 1933 at the age of 9, and still attends weekly meetings.
“It keeps me in shape, and I like working with the boys,” Scribner said. “I’m going to stay with it as long as I can.”
Troop 53 Scoutmaster Grant Evans said the boys learn skills that stay with them for the rest of their lives beyond those one would typically associate with Scouting. He said that the boys learn about leadership, teamwork, teaching others, and building relationships.
“What’s unique about Boy Scouts is, these kids are learning tough management skills. If a 14-year-old patrol leader can get other kids to clean pots after dinner, then as a manager at 35 or 40 he can get his team to do anything” Evans said. “It really gets them started not only on leadership development, but on character development.”
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