By: Bruno Matarazzo
September 7, 2014

PLYMOUTH — A Boy Scout is friendly, courteous and kind, and members of Troop 158 in New Milford lived up to those Scout laws this weekend when they hosted residents from a Southbury assisted living facility at Camp Mattatuck.

The weekend trip was an intergenerational campout, pairing 10 Scouts with eight residents who have some form of dementia and live in an assisted living facility at The Watermark at East Hill. Staff members accompanied the elderly residents during the weekend.

“Our philosophy is living in the moment, creating moments to reinforce memories they had from a long time ago,” said Denise Julian, director of health services at Watermark, who attended the weekend.

Julian said she hopes the residents recall some of those memories they had from their childhood, “even if it’s just for the moment.”

This isn’t the first time the Boy Scouts and Watermark have partnered together. The New Milford Boy Scouts held campfires at Watermark where many residents there attended. But this weekend trip was a first.

Former Troop 158 scoutmaster Jim Bain said he wanted to expand on the campfires at Watermark by creating a weekend retreat for the residents in conjunction with a camping trip.

Bain, who is director of food services at Watermark, said he thought of the idea while driving to work one day. Many staffers volunteered their time to help out, he noted.

Current scoutmaster John Norcross said the boys planned several activities with the seniors, including basic knot skills, a compass course and campfire songs at night.

The Scouts arrived Friday night and prepared the camp for the Watermark residents on Saturday morning.

Camping at Camp Mattatuck is nothing new for the Scouts, but this weekend’s outing was different. Kurt Jonke, 15, of New Milford, said their usual camping trips are spent outside and involve sleeping in tents, but this weekend had them spending most of their time inside the air-conditioned lodge.