October 15, 2007


Scouts learn how to survive  outside

Lime Hollow hosts weekend campout that tests boys’, girls’ survival skills.


Bob Ellis/staff photographer  
David Lampman, left, and Mark Durkee, of Boy Scout Troop 24 in Dryden, hike out of the woods with their troop Saturday at Lime Hollow nature center.

Staff Reporter

Nearly 100 Boy Scouts from Tompkins and Cortland counties roughed it in the “wilderness” of Lime Hollow Center for Environment and Culture Saturday as they learned survival skills such as making a fire without a match and how to build primitive shelters.
Many of the boys attended so they could earn their wilderness survival merit badge, but Austin Smith, 13, from Boy Scout Troop 79 in Homer, said he already has the badge.
“It’s always fun,” he said about the camping. His favorite survival skill is making the shelters.
“I love camping and it brings you closer to the outdoors because you’re sleeping out in the woods in natural material.”
Sean Butterworth, district executive of the two-county Taughannock Boy Scout District, said Friday night many of the Scouts camped out in tents but Saturday night the Scouts would put their primitive shelters to the test.
The district is part of the Baden-Powell Council, which covers several Central New York and Southern Tier counties as well as counties in northern Pennsylvania.
Butterworth said the campout is an annual event, but the themes and locations change based on what an activities committee decides. He said there will also be a camping trip in January at Camp Barton on Cayuga Lake.
Butterworth said the Taughannock District includes 42 units of Scouting from Cub Scouting to Venturing, which is open to girls from age 14 to 21.
Gretchen Gross of Dryden is one such participant and is part of Crew 88, based at Lime Hollow. Gretchen explained that her mother has been a nurse at Camp Barton since she was a baby.
“I joined Venturing so I could work at the camp,” she said.
During a cool, breezy and cloudy Saturday, the Scouts rotated through six survival stations learning how to make fire, give first aid or get help, make a personal survivor kit, filter water to make it drinkable and make a shelter.
They also could watch a demonstration on how to tan animal hides.
Even lunch became a learning experience for some Scouts from Homer’s Boy Scout Troop 79. They each had a brown plastic sack with dehydrated food in it called a Meal Ready to Eat. These MREs baffled some of the boys.
“My dad was in the military,” Austin said as he opened his with confidence. “It’s good,” he said of his meatloaf after he had warmed it up. He also had a sack of mashed potatoes with his meal and each boy had some sort of dessert.
Another boy called out for help opening his plastic sack.
Freideric Handelmann, 11, pulled out his pocketknife. “I can open it,” he said, as he opened his own with the knife.
Austin was already opening his fellow Scout’s meal.
Michael Swenson, assistant scoutmaster of Troop 79, said 15 boys were participating in the camping experience. He kept telling the boys to read the directions to the rations, which now come with a separate bag that heats the meal after adding water to the bag. The boys had a variety of meals.
Marc Stammer, an assistant scoutmaster for Groton’s Boy Scout Troop 77, said eight of his Scouts participated. He was leading the station that taught what to include in a survival kit. As a joke he had brought a can of “dehydrated water,” which instructed the user to add water to hydrate it.
“There’s lots of stuff people throw in their backpacks that they don’t need,” he told a group of Scouts.
One of the useful survival tools was a plastic compass that twisted apart and had a mirror on the inside. At the first aid station the Scouts learned how to signal for help using foil or a mirror.
Scoutmaster Richard Vaughan, of Troop 48 in Lansing, demonstrated different ways to make a fire, including using potassium permanganate, which is also used for water filtration, plus brake fluid or sugar.
“This is not a game,” Vaughan told the Scouts, who tried to crowd in closely to the demonstration. “You still have to have your fire stuff ready … your fire built and ready to go.”
Vaughan said the six stations were all about what each Scout could do to be prepared for survival. He told them about the family that got lost in the Rockies and how the woman and child survived but the man had left the car to get help.
He said if they had known how to make a fire from what they had and had stayed in the car, the man would have survived also.
“You can go weeks without eating,” Vaughan said, but shelter, fire and not getting nervous are key things for survival. He said his troop members collected ice off their tents Saturday morning and melted it for water.
Alec Saari, 14, of Brooktondale and Ellis Hollow’s Troop 55, said the camping was fun and he needed to get the merit badge.
He said he liked the fire station the most.
“Fire is interesting. Some of the stuff we learned is pretty cool,” Alec said. “Everyone has to light it using a battery, steel wool and this stuff,” he said, of the piece of rope he was unraveling.
Austin said he had been Scouting since he joined the Cub Scouts in third grade. “I joined here to make friends and have fun,” he said of Troop 79. Glenn Reisweber, executive director of Lime Hollow, is the scoutmaster for this troop.
“Scouting is very strong — in the Cortland area, especially,” said Butterworth. “A lot of towns have a pack or troop.”



Fundraisers planned for proposed Dryden community cafe

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — With a recent $3,000 donation from the town and several fundraisers planned, the vision of coffee brewing and pastries baking at a community café downtown is closer to reality.
This spring Wendy Martin, a village resident, came up with the idea of converting Charlie’s Diner at the corner of South and West Main streets into a nonprofit community center and café. Martin and about 30 volunteers are working toward opening the café by Feb. 1.
The building is already being used as a community center. The group’s weekly 7 p.m. Tuesday meeting is held there now and three fundraisers planned for this fall will also be held there, at least in part.
A membership drive will also start after the first fundraiser on Halloween night. 
The money from the town will go toward purchasing as much kitchen equipment as possible, preferably used. Martin hopes the café would serve ice cream and baked goods initially, as well as beverages. Soups, salads and sandwiches would be added later, she said.
She said the group does not have a fundraising goal and is still researching costs associated with running the café.
Martin thought of the idea of converting the diner into a community center and café in the spring, in part because of all the businesses that had moved off Main Street.
She said the corner location was the only place she considered because of its visibility.
Her vision includes one wall of gallery space where Dryden student artwork could be displayed. “All the school art teachers are excited,” she said.
A portion of the opposite wall would display postings of community calendar events.
“The problem with a lot of organizations is people are getting older and they’re having problems recruiting new members,” Martin said. “I want to find out everything that is going on in Dryden.”
Tables and a stage would be at the front of the building. The center would have the kitchen and the back of the building would be reserved for community group meetings, such as a book club.
Martin, 50, said she would like to see senior citizens get involved in perhaps an after-school tutoring program.
Students could also teach the seniors, she said. Her idea is to have them teach computer skills if she can have computers donated to the café. Wireless Internet accessibility is also a goal.
“The purpose of the café is to draw people in, and once in to learn about the community,” said Martin.
She said another goal of the café is to generate income. Eventually, she would like the café to support paid employees.