HILLSBOROUGH: Zombies invade mountains, but Boy Scouts fight them off

Kids rave about theme of annual recruitment outing

By Tyler Obropta, Special Writer
    To an outsider, it would have appeared as if ravenous, brain-hungry zombies had invaded the Sourland Mounains.
    But it wasn’t an invasion – it was an orientation.
    Hillsborough Boy Scout Troop 489 held its annual recruitment campout at Girl Scout Camp DeWitt. Every year, the troop selects a different theme for the camping trip.
    In 2011, the theme was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with Cub Scouts launching water balloons 100 feet into a French tower.
    In 2012, the Scouts participated in arrow-shooting, knife-slinging preparation for the Hunger Games.
    This past October, the Scouts were tasked with surviving a zombie invasion. The Cub Scouts abandoned their bows and arrows, instead sticking with the old-fashioned way of surviving a zombie apocalypse: running as fast as possible.
    The Boy Scouts organized four “safe zones” for the Webelo Cub Scouts along their trek through the woods. The Webelos began at the knife and axe-throwing station and then stealthily crept down a zombie-infested trail in pairs, making as little noise as possible to avoid waking the dormant zombies.
    From there, the Webelos ran up a hill with zombies in hot pursuit. Once at the cooking and fire-building station, Webelos built a smoky signal fire for prospective rescuers while also working in shifts to prepare apple pie, peach cobbler, crescent rolls, and chocolate and marshmallow-stuffed bananas.
    After being chased out of the inaptly named safe zones, the Scouts raced through a hiking trail, where zombies lurked behind trees that had been uprooted by Hurricane Sandy.
    The next assuredly safe zone was the shelter building station, where the Webelos were put to work constructing wilderness survival shelters akin to those that might have been built by survivalist Bear Grylls.
    After a zombie attack on the station, the Webelos were left to dash to the first aid station, carrying a wounded Boy Scout and seeking medical help. The Boy Scouts at the station helped the Webelos to construct a splint for the wounded boy’s broken leg and then told the Webelos to get back down a hill to base camp.
    Unfortunately, the zombies were starting to come out of the woods and now blocked the path to base camp, prompting the Webelos to zombie-walk down to the final station. Liquid latex and face paint were used to convert the Boy Scouts into zombies at the base camp and, once the initial run was over, the Cub Scouts had the option to be converted into zombies themselves. They could also revisit any of the other stations or pick up deep-fried food at the new deep-frying station.
    Every Webelo had an enormous amount of fun. Many reported that this was the most fun they ever had on a campout. Troop 489 was pleased with the turnout; more than 35 Webelos had shown up to the event and none left disappointed.
    What will Troop 489 do next year to meet the expectations they’ve set so high? Until then, the Boy Scouts can sleep soundly knowing that, should there ever be a zombie apocalypse, the Webelos of Hillsborough will be more than prepared.
    To find out more about Scouting, contact Scoutmaster Will Athanasiou at wc.athan@comcast.net.