In the forefront, Samuel Kolesar, of Troop 43 from West Decatur, throws a tamahawk during the Boy Scouts’ Polar Bear Weekend.

PENFIELD — An event in its 50th year will take place in Penfield next week, celebrating Boy Scouts’ fellowship, competition and the skills they’ve acquired.

Scouts and their parents can enjoy the “50th Anniversary Polar Bear Weekend” from Jan. 18-Jan. 20, where good old-fashioned sled rides and knot ties will turn up the competition.

For 50 years, the three-day weekend has been a way for Scouts to come together and sharpen their nature skills.

The campsite on Mountain Run Road in Penfield is the hub location for Scouts summer programs and other forms of recognition, like the “Order of the Arrow,” or Boy Scouts honor society, and the Cub Scout open house in the summertime.

Boy Scouts of America Bucktail Council District Executive Sheri Price said the “Klondike course” involves pulling a sled filled with supplies through Camp Mountain Run.

“Boy Scouts enjoy this annual event where skills are tested,” the event description says. “They will compete in events like knot tying, building fires, map and compass reading and much more.”

Several area troops participate, from areas like DuBois, Reynoldsville and Brockway, as an annual tradition.

In light of the Polar Bear Competition’s 50th anniversary, the BSA is “going back to the basics” — fire building, rifle shooting, first aid, sled races, tying knots, tree and animal identification, and others, Price said.

Troops can camp in the winter weather cabins, or just participate in the competition.

“Stoltz Family Dealerships has partnered with the Bucktail Council this year to sponsor this annual skills competition,” she said.

But Polar Bear weekend isn’t just for youth — adults can test their scouting skills, too, in the “adult sled competition” or “dutch oven contest.”

“The only differences are that the adults will run the course in the opposite direction as the youth, and can be from multiple troops to make up a sled,” the description says.

The dutch oven contest allows each troop to enter one main course and one dessert, with judging taking place at 3 p.m. in the dining hall.

For more information about BSA programs or to join, call 814-371-5650 or visit or

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