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Published: Sunday, 6/3/2007

Boy Scouts of every age retrace steps across Miakonda's past

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Tyler Coutcher, 11, gives it his all on one end of a two-man bucksaw at a camp demonstration. He is a member of Troop 100. Tyler Coutcher, 11, gives it his all on one end of a two-man bucksaw at a camp demonstration. He is a member of Troop 100.
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Six-year-old Zachary Wenzke of Sylvania wanted everybody to know he started the small fire that burned near his feet.

"I made a fire," he repeatedly said as he pointed to the flames.

Seconds later, he stomped on the pieces of burning twine and then begged his mother, Sarah Moomey, to let him start another fire.

"I want to do it again," the first-year Tiger Cub said excitedly.

Zachary was one of hundreds of people who took part yesterday in the last of three days of celebration in honor of Camp Miakonda's 90th anniversary.

Activities started Thursday with a VIP reception that featured guided tours of the camp and exhibits by the Erie Shores Council staff and continued Friday when 100 Eagle Scouts from the area were honored and an alumni reception was held for current and former camp staff members.

With a steady hand and a steely eye, Matt Mochon, 14, pauses before sending an arrow flying to the target during archery lessons, one of the many activities at the celebration. He is a member of Troop 154. With a steady hand and a steely eye, Matt Mochon, 14, pauses before sending an arrow flying to the target during archery lessons, one of the many activities at the celebration. He is a member of Troop 154.
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The celebration concluded with yesterday's Heritage Day Expo, when starting a fire by striking steel against flint rock to produce sparks was just one of the many activities visitors could participate in during the six-hour event.

Others included log sawing, model planes and trains, a blacksmith shop, live buffalo, and rock climbing.

Tucked in the woods along Sylvania Avenue, Camp Miakonda is Ohio's oldest Boy Scout camp and the sixth-oldest in the United States, according to David Eby, historian for the Lake Erie Shores Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Mr. Eby said being a scout is something that stays with people their entire lives.

They may not always realize it, but the values and responsibility scouts are taught "become ingrained in you," he said.

Paul Rich, Austin Rife, Billy Van Der Laar, Hank Van Der Laar, and Scout Leader Denny Setzler, from left, of Fremont Troop 339,
make rope on the rope machine, using twine and rope. Scouts performed many activities at the 90th Miakonda celebration. Paul Rich, Austin Rife, Billy Van Der Laar, Hank Van Der Laar, and Scout Leader Denny Setzler, from left, of Fremont Troop 339, make rope on the rope machine, using twine and rope. Scouts performed many activities at the 90th Miakonda celebration.
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"When they recount their lives, many say everything they did came from Boy Scouts."

Mr. Eby has been involved with the Boy Scouts for 45 years and said the organization teaches children character and the importance of responsibility.

Being able to walk through the camp, located on the DeVilbiss Scout Reservation, and reminisce about their days as a Boy Scout is what drew so many people to yesterday's festivities, Mr. Eby said.

"Times when you're in this camp with the stars shining down, sitting around a campfire with friends is something you never forget," he said. "It allows people to come back and relive their youth."

Sitting atop a hill near the Miakonda Scouting Museum, Don Sorg of Oak Harbor recalled his time as a scout, proudly wearing his silver beaver award - the organization's highest honor bestowed for volunteer service.

Scouts of all ages and sizes were in action at the Camp Miakonda event. Cub Scout Jared Thornton of Pack 332 walks across the monkey bridge under close supervision of older scouts. Scouts of all ages and sizes were in action at the Camp Miakonda event. Cub Scout Jared Thornton of Pack 332 walks across the monkey bridge under close supervision of older scouts.
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Mr. Sorg, with his wooden walking cane resting on his leg, was a 1937 Eagle Scout and a World War II veteran, who served in five campaigns during the war, including one at Normandy, he said.

He also served as a Cub master and a Scout master and used the skills he learned during his more than three years in the war.

"It was very handy that I knew how to camp," he said.

Rod Cundiff of Whitehouse started his scout career as a Bear Scout, then became an Eagle Scout and is now a Tiger Cub den leader. His wife, Lori, is a Girl Scout leader and his two children are both involved in Scouts.

"I really love every aspect - the core values, Scout laws, and the Scout oath," he said.

Mr. Cundiff has accomplished a lot during his life, but said becoming an Eagle Scout was one of his proudest moments.

"We really are strong in the beliefs of Scouts," he said. "I try to keep passing it on."

Contact Laren Weber at:

lweber@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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