News: Maryland Defense Force provides support for 100th anniversary camporee
Story by Joseph P Cirone
BALTIMORE - The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) provided vital medical, communications and general support to the 100th anniversary camporee and celebration of Scouting in the Baltimore, Md. area.
Sixty-six volunteer MDDF personnel temporarily attached to Task Force Scout, successfully executed “Operation Rock the Ridge,” Oct. 5–7, at the Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md.
Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturing Scouts, ages 7 to 21, from Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were among the 3,500 male and female Scouts and 100 adult leaders that camped in tents during the two-night, three-day long Rock the Ridge event.
Hundreds of additional Scouts and their leaders made a day trip to join the celebration and enjoy the many age-appropriate and varied fun and educational activities throughout Saturday.
Saturday’s activities began with an opening ceremony, featuring the MDDF Band and capped off by a Battle of the Bands; a concert; exhilarating laser light show, spectacular fireworks display and the playing of Echo Taps, by six Scouts spread throughout the rolling hills of the park’s landscape and led by MDDF’s renowned Band leader, Maj. (MDDF) Jari Villanueva.
Scouts participated in sports; knot-tying; bb gun and archery target shooting; architectural, computer-aided design and robotics; search and rescue training; model rocketry; geocaching; cardboard boat races; physical fitness and signaling activities.
They viewed and interacted with Baltimore County Police Helicopter and SWAT vehicle displays and personnel; an Indian Village; MDDF Cavalry Troop personnel, Horses and a Saber Demonstration; and Maryland National Guard personnel and an interactive display.
“The MDDF horse soldiers enthralled the Scouts with their precision riding capabilities,” said Jim Krempel, Boy Scouts of America Baltimore Area Council assistant commissioner for Special Events.
Most of all, the Scouts learned and had fun, while Scouting adult and MDDF volunteer personnel ensured their safety and well-being.
Krempel reported, “The Scouts drew on the extensive capabilities of the Maryland Defense Force.”
MDDF’s TFS provided 24-hour emergency medical support from three Aid Stations and two All-Terrain Vehicles, utilizing physicians, nurses, allied health and emergency medical services professionals, many of whom are prominent in their fields, with years of training, education and experience; all of whom are volunteers.
Other MDDF personnel provided safety patrols around the 33-acre site and around-the-clock radio communications and command post operations, to ensure proper coordination with Scout event leaders and the Baltimore County Police Department; and the necessary command and control of MDDF personnel and their operations.
MDDF personnel from various MDDF units were temporarily detached from their units; assigned to TFS and operating as an effective team, ensured the professional and timely medical treatment of 88 Scouters for various medical emergency situations, including one that required movement to a hospital by the local EMS ambulance provider.
An untold number of injuries and other emergency situations were prevented by MDDF personnel working in concert with Scout personnel to eliminate or mitigate potential hazards or unsafe practices that may be present at a large event attended by youth.
During the operation, MDDF TFS personnel volunteered a total of 839 man-hours. Many additional hours were volunteered by MDDF personnel during the operation’s planning, which began two years earlier.
“The Rock the Ridge Centennial Anniversary of Boy Scouting in Central Maryland cemented an enduring partnership between the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, and the Maryland Defense Force,” Krempel concluded.
The Maryland Defense Force is the State’s uniformed volunteer military unit providing professional and technical assistance to the Maryland Military Department. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 450 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland. For more information: www.mddf.maryland.gov.