On the weekend before “Snowmageddon” Boy Scouts from Berkeley Heights’ Troop 368 enjoyed their annual Winterfest campout at Camp Lewis in Northern NJ. They also played host to several Webelos Cub Scouts and their parents who were trying out Boy Scouts.

Cabin-optional camping allowed Scouts who wanted to experience cold-weather tent camping to try it out, whereas others could relax in a cozy, heated wooden cabin. Over the weekend the Scouts and visitors enjoyed team-building games, Dutch-oven cooking over a fire, a scavenger hunt, Ax-safety, and learned a number of creative ways to make fire without matches! Later they shared brownies cooked in a cardboard box oven created from scratch by Life Scout Louis Pitingolo.


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For dinner the Boy Scouts cooked copious quantities of chili, prepared from scratch under the direction of head chef and Life Scout Arun Chundru. Somehow a few extra habaneros found their way into the “special” bowl for Assistant Scoutmaster Howard Lee.

“Untouched by adult hand!” commented Lee after he had gulped down some water. “It’s a marvel when a group of teenagers plan, budget, shop, cook and clear up a meal for 40 people! There are many adults who would be daunted by that, but these young men pulled it off again. It’s what we do in Scouts – challenge them in ways that prepare them for adult life.”

As a testament to the quality of the food, most went up for more, even the Scoutmaster! Dessert was deep fried Oreos (again with habanero added for the Scoutmaster!).

Skits and leadership

The highlight of the evening was a campfire program led by MC Joey Rosencrantz, replete with punny skits and raucous songs that had the audience laughing and groaning in equal measure. The entire weekend was put together by Senior Patrol Leader Matt Sylvester, assisted by a team of Scouts of all ages.

“Many adults have a hard time delegating effectively,” said Lee. “Here Matt, can’t do it all himself so he has to delegate. And if someone doesn’t perform we make it Matt’s problem, so he has to ensure his team works effectively. It’s not easy, but skills honed here will serve these young men for the rest of their lives.”