Scoutmaster Musings - Winter Camping

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Scoutmaster Musings

Winter Camping
I've heard that some troops don't camp in the winter. I've also seen posts on the 'net from troops down south exclaiming that they got a patch for camping outside when the temperature dropped below freezing.

Now, up here in Minnesota we don't usually make a big deal about cold weather, but I admit that we also have awards for cold weather camping.
At Northern Tier you can earn a patch for sleeping outside as a participant in their Okpik (snoy owl) program when it gets below 0F degrees.
The Northern Tier program is excellent, with dogsledding, snow shelters, snowshoe hikes, and everything you'd expect in deep winter.

Many councils have their own cold weather camping award and the requirements range widely, depending on the locale.
For example, in Minnesota, there is the Zero Hero patch from Viking Council (now Northern Star Council) which you can receive for camping out in sub-Zero fahrenheit temperatures.
Like most council awards, this one is awarded on the honor system and sometimes its awful hard to show scouts that the thermometer says 3 degrees. :-)

Philmont has a cold weather camping program also. Philmont is the only BSA National High Adventure Base where you might experience 'winter camping' year-round - due to their altitude. Kind of strange, considering most scouts think of it as a hot, summer camping location.
The Philmont winter camping program is called Kanik (snow flake) and they teach a lot of useful cold weather camping skills.

So, don't let the cold weather stop you from camping. Enjoy the snow, if you have it. Experience freezing waterjugs, frosty grass, or cold rain if that's all that mother nature sends your way. Whatever you do, do it safely and it can be fun. There is an excellent book available through your local scout shop that is the BSA guide for winter camping. It is titled, 'Okpik: Cold Weather Camping' and currently costs $10.
Posted: 18:42 12-12-2006 102
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