Thousands of Cub and Boy Scouts learned practical skills while having fun at this weekend's Centennial Council Jamboree at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas.
The event was a joint effort between the San Gabriel Valley and Verdugo Hills councils of Boy Scouts of America and held in honor of the 100th anniversary of Boy Scouting coming to United States, said Lou Schwing, vice president of the program for the Verdugo Hills Council.
The council draws boys from Glendale, Burbank, La Crescenta and La Cañada Flintridge and surrounding communities.
"It was a much bigger event than we anticipated, but all seemed to have a good time," Schwing said. "The kids were in good spirits, and so were their leaders."
The reason for the jamboree was to have fun, but it also gave Scouts a chance to mingle with others from different ethnic, economic and religious backgrounds, he added.
Competitions for fire building and citizenship, which includes knowing how to display the American flag and being familiar with the Constitution, took place Saturday.
Twelve Boy Scouts and four adult leaders attended the jamboree from Burbank Troop 210, said Scoutmaster Bill O'Leary.
The Boy Scouts participated in competitions for first aid, pioneering — which is knot tying — and cooking, he said.
"They learn how to compete not just amongst themselves but later in life when competing for jobs," he said. "I think the boys will end up doing much better."
On Sunday, Troop 210 joined other Scouts to plant 100 trees in commemoration of the 100 years of Scouting in the United States. The local troop laid out the water line and put a drip head at every tree.
"They enjoyed doing the work," O'Leary said. "Most of these kids were younger, ages 12 and 13, and I had two 17-year-olds there, but the boys really get into this."
Scouts also used kayaks they had built weeks before to race the plywood regatta on Saturday, Schwing said.
Scoutmaster Todd Neubrand, of Montrose, brought 25 Scouts and 10 adult leaders from his Troop 288, made up of boys from La Crescenta, La Cañada Flintridge and Tujunga.
His troop built a kayak and took second place for Best Expression of a Scout Theme for the decoration featuring an American flag on the bow, a field of green and the Boy Scout Fleur-de-lis logo painted in gold on the stern.
The artwork design was the idea of Boy Scout Matthew Ynda, who piloted the kayak to sixth place in his age bracket.
The group got a late start in building the kayak because the troop has had a growth spurt, with several young boys bridging over from Cub Scouts, Neubrand said.
Scouts could also complete their merit badges at one or more of the booths.
Neubrand's 17-year-old son Nicholas worked on the Pathfinder merit badge, one of the badges that was originally offered when Boy Scouting came to the United States.
"We had to locate within a two-mile radius the local livery stables and blacksmiths and learn the history of San Dimas and populations of cities around San Dimas, like Pomona and Claremont," Nicholas said.
Also on Saturday, Cub Scouts ages 6 to 11 participated in the Cub-O-Ree, organized by Shelly Rawlins, Cub Scout leader of Glendale Pack 106 and Cub Scout Roundtable commissioner of the Verdugo Hills Council.
Cub Scouts earned belt loops in seven zones, including skateboarding, nutrition, weather, marbles, chess, art and music and wildlife conservation, Rawlins said.
"For wildlife conservation, they had to explain what natural resources are and why it's important to conserve them," she said. "They had to make a poster that explains the food chain and what happens if the food chain becomes broken."
Her son Daniel, a third-grader at Verdugo Woodlands Elementary, learned to make a pan pipe flute out of bamboo and taught adults and children to play chess.
"It was fun building it, and after you were done you could blow it," Daniel said. "It was cool and really cool to make."
He said his favorite belt loop zone was for chess.
"I've played chess since I was 3," he said. "I got to play with people and got to help teach it."