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Scouts sleeping under the stars

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BISMARCK -- Corey Kleinsasser showed wisdom beyond his 9 years when he spoke of what this weekend's Boy Scout event at the state Capitol meant to him.

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"When I get older, I can look back to this and remember it because this is probably not going to happen again," the Dickinson Scout said.

What was his favorite part of the event? "Breakfast -- they had doughnuts," he said.

Both serious and fun times were available for the nearly 3,000 Boy Scouts and their chaperones who attended the weekend campout to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the organization.

The event brought together Scouts from North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana, said Tim Tello of Bismarck, event chairman.

"Beings scouting has (as) one of its central themes citizenship and service to the community, what better location than right here in Bismarck, North Dakota, at the state Capitol grounds?" Tello said.

Gary Butler, an assistant chief Scout executive from Dallas, was impressed with the event.

"To have it on the Capitol grounds, I think, is incredible," he said. "It's a strong example of the state of North Dakota's support of scouting."

Activities stretched from one end of the Capitol grounds to another on Saturday.

Rock climbing, tomahawk throwing, archery, cars races and candy cannons were among the activities. There was also a merit badge midway, visits to the Heritage Center and pinewood derby races.

Inside, various state officials were available to teach Scouts about state government. Scouts could sit in the governor's chair and take part in a mock legislative debate and Supreme Court case.

The "smoke house" activity with the Bismarck Fire Department was a popular attraction for the Scouts.

Jakob Schmidt, 13, of Dickinson talked about how fun the candy cannon was as he waited for his turn in the smoke house.

"He basically fills it up with candy. He fires it, and candy goes everywhere," Schmidt said.

Jim and Gwen Allred of Dickinson made the weekend a family event with their Scouts: Michael, 12, and Brandon, 10.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Jim Allred said of the event.

Les Praus of Dickinson also attended with his boys: Hunter, 13, and Dillon, 12.

Scouting "gives me an opportunity to do things with them," said Praus, who earned the Eagle Scout honor.

Cub Scout Wyatt Emond, 8, of Dickinson attended the event because he wanted to see the Capitol, which he described as "awesome."

The campout and all of its activities will end this morning after breakfast and a Sunday service.

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