Almost 200 Boy Scouts from all over Western Washington converged on Camp Delezenne near Elma for the Coastal Waters District Klondike Derby to tie rope, zip line and figure out balancing techniques, among an assortment of activities.
The Klondike Derby has been on the schedule at Camp Delezenne for more than a decade and has outgrown even what event organizer “Klondike” Mike Stamon could have imagined. Back when he first became involved, he received an email from one of the other leaders asking him if he thought a camp would even be possible at the site.
“I got pumped,” Stamon said. “I sent him back a 17-page email with a few ideas.”
Members of 35 patrols had the opportunity to participate in any one of 40 stations varying from building a fire in a 70 mph wind to tying seven different knots as fast as you can.
Ask any one of the scouts at the camp if they enjoyed the three days and they responded with much the same answer.
“It’s really fun,” Jeremy Thomason of Montesano said.
Ask them why it was fun and most couldn’t exactly put their finger on an answer. It could have been the rock wall, constructing a tower or suspended flag pole or maybe the Dutch oven cookoff.
“We have some troops that have really embraced this to where we are now in their whole annual program,” Stamon said. “They know the stations we have and they practice. We have one troop that you have to tie the seven knots (of our knot gauntlet) to get into the meeting.”
The event could not be done without the almost 100 volunteers who give their weekend to help the scouts. As a show of appreciation, Stamon has special ghost patches made with all white thread that he gives to individuals whom go above and beyond in their volunteer effort during the weekend. The reactions of the individual upon receiving the patch is one of what Stamon calls “Klondike moments.”
“You get people crying and they get totally emotional because people actually said thank you to them,” Stamon said. “We have people that don’t go to sleep from the time they get here Wednesday or Thursday through Friday and Saturday.”
For Louis Cozar of Aberdeen, the best part of the camp was the zip line.
“I like the adrenaline when you were going down,” Cozar said. “At first you just think you are going to fall and then you go back up and you start to go down again.”
Thomason liked the tomahawk throw just a little bit more than the zip line.
“It is just fun throwing tomahawks,” Thomason said.