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Winter Camping

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With winter starting on December 21st(yesterday), How many units winter campand do you get the scouts motivated to do it??

 

BT

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We winter camp - usually the motivation is needed for the first time winter camper - those that have gone before know how much fun it is and are more than ready. The motivation for the new campers comes from the older ones who share the chilling tales of yesteryear (last year it was -6 degrees). Obviously, preparation is the key - if a scout (and his parent) thinks he is well prepared and so will not freeze to death then that is the primary de-motivator that is eliminated. Think SNOW!!!

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The Troop will be going on their Eskimo Overnight next week. It is a yearly activity that many look forward to. Hopefully the weather will be accomodating!

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We go camping once in the winter (Dec-early Mar), usually the district Klondike. We may go cabin camping if we get the opportunity. To keep things going, we supplement with other activities (snow tubing, MB workshops, JLT, indoor climbing, etc.).

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Our troop camps out in January in northern Minnesota. If its below zero while sleeping outside, scouts earn the 'Zero Hero' patch. No motivation needed from adults with these guys!

 

Paul

 

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We usually do at least one serious winter camp in northern New England in Jan or Feb each year. Serious means we typically encounter sub-zero temperatures on these trips.

 

Heck we've encountered snow on our camping trips in every month between October and May over the years so when one says winter camping to me, that means plenty of snow(> 2 ft) and cold(at least single digits). Otherwise its just regular camping.

 

The real motivation that is needed for us, more often than not, is the parents of the younger scouts. They just don't believe their little one could survive a night outside in the winter. Eventually most come around. But the winter campout is not popular with everyone. Some like it and others don't.

 

We usually rent snowshoes or cross-country skis. Sometimes there will be a hill nearby and the scouts will bring something to slide on. Build igloos, snow sculptures. A must have... a roaring fire with bottomless pots of coffee and hot chocolate.

 

The thing I like about winter camping is it really hits home the need for planning. But there is nothing like looking up at a cloudless, mid-winter sky at night, when the air itself seems like its frozen and seeing the stars.

 

SA

 

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Yup. We sure do, every Feb. We spend the preceding meetings discussing layering, equipment, hypothermia, food, etc. Great subjects for Skillbase.

 

Last year, we went to Grover Hot Springs State Park out here in Calif, where after a chilly night, we got into the pool facility where they have both a hot mineral water pool and a regular swimming pool ( heated all winter ). Kids had a blast.

 

 

 

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Gosh, we camp at least once a month, rain/shine/snow...trouble is in Virginia sometimes we have late January days with brutal 73 degree afternoons! and fifty degree nights...such abuse is hard take...Seriously though, we love winter camps and many of us pray for snow! ( My wife says I am simply training to be homeless after she tosses me out!)

COLD weather is good to reinforce the need for planning and good execution. (And if it snows the guys have a tradition of making a hugh snow ball (or two)and blocking the Scout Masters easy escape from his tent the next morning)!

The older boys still talk about the winter trip, long ago, when the water bladders froze so hard it took three days to thaw them out!

we usually tie one of them into a ten/fifteen mile hike or a cave crawl so its not all just building fires and drinking cocoa (though that can be fun, too).

I agree that newer scout parents can be the biggest challenge. Even though their sons have had oportunity to camp 14 to 20 nights by December they still feel 'Junior'is too young...(these are the same parents who remind adult troop leaders that there are poisonous snakes in the woods of Virginia)...Many boys do not like the cold temps, and while my #2 son does not like 'cold without snow', the 'now annual' Klondike has seemingly captured his imagination!

Keep the coffee and coca flowing!

anarchist

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In my troop, it's the adult leaders who need motivation! The scouts often suggest having a winter camping trip, but the adults always end up discouraging them.(This message has been edited by 9muckraker7)

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9Muckraker7,

 

It only takes a couple of leaders to have a campout! (and that is for transport!) Ya wanna do it?... make it happen.

Try some of your senior scouts...ask the SPL to 'float' it at the PLC...if that does not 'fly', help organize a Patrol level campout...'less drag' anyway... AND HELP THE BOYS MAKE IT HAPPEN...

monitor their planning, do some behind the scenes 'worst case' planning and let 'er rip! It can be (almost) the best camp of the year! (I am partial to our canoe camps...guess, I'm getting old)

anarchist

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1. Our troop camps every month except in August. Those Scouts (and Scouters) who don't like to get cold in the Spokane, WA area don't go on winter campouts. Those that have warm-enough gear seem to have an OK time. If people don't want to go on winter campouts, then don't pressure them to go. It only takes one "bad" campout experience to turn a Scout off to camping entirely.

 

2. As Scoutmaster, I'm expected to go on all campouts. Although I must admit that I don't really enjoy camping in the snow, it's OK if there's a BIG campfire with LOTS of firewood. I tend to "sleep cold," so I heap lots of blankets on top of my zero-degree sleeping bag. Some Scouts don't bring enough stuff, so they have trouble sleeping.

 

3. I think that the LONG winter nights (with over 15 hours of darkness) present more of a challenge than the cold. People are confined to camp, sitting around the fire long before they're ready to hit the hay. You can't really go sledding in the dark, and the tents are too cold for card games. It's a challenge to keep the Scouts happy and busy during those dark, cold evenings.

 

4. Unless you're at some "Klondike Derby" or "Winter Camporee," I'd keep winter camping limited to one night per month. That way, Scouts and Scouters who are too cold don't have to endure TWO nights of freezing temperatures.

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dluders,

 

"as Scoutmaster I'm expected to go on all campouts"

 

expected by whom??? Get a life and get some help!

While it is nice to have the Scoutmaster around (ours is an RGG {Really Great Guy}), ASM's can 'fill the bill' nicely and in our troop do so regularly!

 

We generally plan two outdoor activities each month except July Summercamp and Seabase/Philmont etc. and August usually 'off' except for planning...even a saint could not be expected to give up 26-28 weekends and summercamp and seabase... Our Troop assigns a different adult 'point of contact' to help with the planning and transport and then attend each campout...We routinely have an ASM (one of about 7 ASMs) running the program side of each event.

 

Our troop committee is filled with folks who like camping and can help in many areas...don't like to winter camp? find an ASM who will tolerate it better or flip a coin for 'cold duty' and swap-off the second cold camp.

 

Keeping busy? Friday night after set up and a small 'cocoa and campfire' activity we hit the sack. Saturdays are filled with hiking, scout craft, if snow...snowball fights and snow shelter fabrication...sledding, though 'good' snow in Virginia is rare...more likely its lashings, bridge/lean-to building, capture the flag and cooking big meals... dinner is usually late...well after dark! Coupled with making camp gadgets for competitions, then a couple of large camp fires (adult and some times two scout fires)more cocoa and coffee and most are ready after a few fireside games, joke/skits, 'scary story'- time etc. to hit the sack...

 

Afraid of scouts not being prepared....use your last meeting before the campout to do a pack/equipment inspection. Require 'camper' attendance with gear! (If the program is good they will come) Use a good check off list for each scout... not the Patrol Leader's or SPL's memory. Your SPL can make a list of everything the scouts missed the first time and do a 'show-me' inspection Friday night before leaving 'home'.

 

Need more blankets? Our Troop trailer has four large emergency blankets (disaster-relief style) in sealed plastic bags...SPL is given chemical heater packs to distribute to 'cold' scouts during his evening 'rounds'. Layering, good planning and follow through make 'cold scouts' at least a rarity (and we have had camps with four inches of new snow and/or over an inch of ice/freezing rain deposited over night... and most of the kids have to be dug out of their warm snugglily bags in the morning.

 

In reality its usually a marginally prepared adult (newer parent(?)) who is cold on our winter camps...and the extra troop blankets... are used if someone is still cold.(funny no?)

 

the chills and thrills of winter camping!

anarchist

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