WILKES-BARRE – Jack Frost does not hold the title on fun in the snow, at least not during the 9th annual Boy Scouts of America Winter Fun Day at Kirby Park on Saturday.
Despite the cold and the snow, Kirby Park was hopping with activity as 1,000 parents, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts came to develop winter surviving and leadership skills and partake in some family enrichment activities.
Mark Diefenderfer, district chairman of the Boy Scouts of America, Northeastern Pennsylvania Council, Two Mountains District, said the goal of the event is to have fun outside.
“It is a wholesome family event,” he said.
The event was open to Boy Scouts of all ages. Registration began at 11:30 and the event lasted until 3 p.m. Hot dogs, chips, soup, hot chocolate and coffee were available.
Diefenderfer said funds raised through the event would be used for Cub Scout Camp Acahela in Blakeslee and Boy Scout Camp Goose Pond Reservation near Lake Wallenpaupack.
Dressed in layers and pulling sleds, families and area Scouts made their way to 13 stations set up through the park. Stations were designed for fun and personal enrichment. Stations included freeze tag, parent vs. Scout dodge ball, paint ball sling-shot and ice fishing.
Other stations such as the disability awareness stop and the snow shoe challenge were designed to develop understanding of others and leadership skills.
John Sepcoski, event chairman, said the disability awareness station was one of the few new activities.
At the station there were clear plastic eye glasses with Scotch Tape on them. Sepcoski said wearing these simulates the vision of someone with cataracts. The boys had to wear the eye glasses and try to navigate through a maze.
Helping the boys learn a new appreciation for those living with a disability, Don Havard of Troop 60 in Mountaintop had the boys wear the eye glasses and then try to tie a rope around their boots.
“I’m trying to show them how a simple task could be made challenging,” Havard said.
Cub Scouts from Pack 155 of Dallas struggled with the task but were able to complete it.
Another new activity was hula hoop archery. Scouts took turns trying to shoot a bow and arrow through a stationary hula hoop.
Brian Cragle with his grandson, Evan Brown, 8, of Plymouth, tried the hula hoop archery. Brown said it was his first time trying archery.
“It was hard,” he said. “I did not get a single one through the hoop.”
On the other side of the river dike, along the Susquehanna River a separate program was held for the Webelo Troops, boys in fourth and fifth grade, on outdoor survival skills.
The Scouts were given a scenario of an approaching winter storm and they had to make survival shelters with materials found around them. The boys would be judged on how prepared they were, shelter construction, camp fires and the Boy Scout principal of Leave No Trace.