By Lydia Kautz

Junction City Union

The first-ever Konza District Boy Scout show took place Saturday in Manhattan, with a total of six troops from Junction City and Fort Riley attending.

Konza District Executive for the Coronado Area Council Pam Beal said local troops performed well.

In total, about 50 youth total from Junction City and Fort Riley attended the event, three troops from each community.

A girls' troop from Junction City took part in a demonstration using ropes.

“They were teaching the younger scouts how to tie different knots,” Beal said. “We just had a we had a mixture of a bunch of different things.”

The pack-level winner of the pinewood derby was an 11-year-old boy from Pack 64 of Junction City named Nathan Vosburg. Vosburg has been a Cub Scout for three years.

Nathan Orchard, age 15, of Troop 60 from Fort Riley, demonstrated for attendees how to make cobblers outdoors in dutch ovens with several other members of his troop.

Among other things, Scouts also took part in a pinewood derby, a rainwater regatta utilizing recycled materials, cooked dutch oven cobblers and doughnut holes, and using a catapult and bottle rockets they made. Scouts did crafts and educated attendees about bees, their importance to the environment and how to behave around them. One of the units brought a llama named Como Se Llama for participants to meet.

The pinewood derby would normally have taken place in May, but COVID-19 stopped it in its tracks.

“We usually do it at the mall there in Manhattan. But even now, the mall couldn't have any kind of activities,” she said. "So we had to go with a plan B, and it ended up being pushed out quite a bit to August, obviously.”

Changes aside, she said, the children and their families enjoyed the outing.

The event was a chance to reignite excitement about scouting, according to Beal. She said Scouts members’ interest had flagged somewhat due to the pandemic and the restrictions it had caused.

Saturday’s event helped them shake off any apathy that may have grown since COVID-19 struck the Konza District.

The hope was initially to inject some new blood into the local troops. In fact, recruiting was the original purpose of the show, according to Beal.

Because of the pandemic, the event almost didn’t happen. It was originally meant to take place two weeks after the beginning of school this August.

Because COVID-19 is still spreading in the community, the plans — and intent — of the event changed.

It took place outside instead of indoors as usual, she said, because there are fewer restrictions on outdoor events than ones that take place inside.

This is, in part, owing to Scoutmaster of Troop 41 Pete Paras of Junction City, who has been stressing outdoor events and keeping local scouts active with such events since the start of May, according to Beal.

“They went on a midnight hike a couple weeks ago,” she said. “So that was fun for the kids.”

Coming up Saturday for Scouts in Junction City, there will be a drive-thru recruitment event. This Saturday, from 3 until 6 p.m., people are welcome to stop by the United Methodist Church at 804 N. Jefferson St., Beal said. Participants will be expected to wear masks and sanitization will take place, she said, so potential recruits and their families need not worry.

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