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Camping 9B - Plan and carry out an overnight snow camping experience.

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What would you expect to see as completion of Camping 9B - Plan and carry out an overnight snow camping experience? Any insight is appreciated so I can guide our Scouts. Thank you.

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I'd say that the experience:

  1. May be taken in any location.
  2. Campsite must be snow-covered.
  3. Prepare at least two meals in camp.
  4. Minimum of one night of camping.

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This time of year in these parts we call that camping most weekends.

 

Have you read what the MB pamphlet says? Talked to a MB counselor your boys are likely to use?

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I'm a Camping MB counselor as well as a SM, and we always camp through the winter here in Northern OH.  We always do cold weather camping training before the first weekend.  We train on the differences that you have to be prepared for in clothing, cooking, sleeping gear, behavior, and cold specific health and first aid.  We emphasize how to dress and how to stay warm, ie wicking, insulating, and shell layers from head to toe and sleeping at night.  We talk about special equipment like removable boot liners if possible, things like the importance of staying as dry as possible and the critical importance of extra dry clothing in case you get wet.  We go over all the cold weather illnesses like frostbite and hypothermia.  And we cover problems that might arise with different stove fuels depending on the temperature.

 

So really, it's about planning your campout but understanding and planning for the unique features of camping below freezing or worse.  As far as signing off the requirement one strange tick that might come up is that although it's going to be in the teens this weekend, we had a huge rainstorm yesterday and there is no snow and it's iffy as to whether there will actually be any  this weekend.  In that event if any of my scouts needed or wanted to use the weekend to satisfy the requirement I would sign it any way with a clear conscience; it's the preparation for and working in the cold that are at the heart of the requirement.

Edited by T2Eagle
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Thanks for the input. I have read through the pamphlet and as the SM/MBC I am just trying to figure out the heart of the requirement. If the majority of people feel it is more the planning and the preparation then I feel that many of my Scouts have done it. We annually do a cold weather prep meeting and then go on our cold weather campout in December which is preparation for a campout in January that usually is in the 30-10 degree range. Sometimes it snows sometimes it does not. Last year it snowed but not enough to accumulate. If the expectation is a snow covered campout then they have not. 

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I'm looking at mertibadge.org and 9B says something different. I'm now confused as to what the current/correct requirement is. 

 

9. Show experience in camping by doing the following:

a. Camp a total of at least 20 days and 20 nights.* Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. The 20 days and 20 nights must be at a designated Scouting activity or event. You may use a week of long-term camp toward this requirement. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent. *All campouts since becoming a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may count toward this requirement. b. On any of these camping experiences, you must do TWO of the following, only with proper preparation and under qualified supervision: 1. Hike up a mountain, gaining at least 1,000 vertical feet. 2. Backpack, snowshoe, or cross-country ski for at least 4 miles. 3. Take a bike trip of at least 15 miles or at least four hours. 4. Take a nonmotorized trip on the water of at least four hours or 5 miles. 5. Plan and carry out an overnight snow camping experience. 6. Rappel down a rappel route of 30 feet or more. c. Perform a conservation project approved by the landowner or land managing agency.

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From reading the requirement, I would conclude that if the requirement said something about "winter camping experience" those in Florida and California would have no problem meeting the requirement.  But if one wishes to go with the intent of the "snow" meaning cold, experience, that would make a difference.  Now, in Wisconsin we have snow on the ground with temperatures hovering around zero or below at night.  5 years ago when I was married on January 7th, there was no snow on the ground and the temperature was hovering around 32-freezing.  In the high country of Yellowstone, there is still snow in the passes in June.  But I have enjoyed snow in the mountains of San Diego County California as well.

 

Right now on that outing we would not be able to snowshoe or cross-country ski.  There isn't enough snow and what we have has had major rain on making it more like an ice field than a snow pack.  There are those in the area that are still kayaking on the open waters of the faster rivers around here.  It's a crap-shoot as to what one gets for weather around here.

 

I would think the intent of the snow camping is not to have snow, but to deal with the sub-freezing and sub-zero temperatures on an outing.  That means the San Diego scouts get off the beach catching rays and head for the higher elevations for the possibility of catching some snow.  If not, the scout can still learn what it takes to "winter/snow/cold" camping.  I can guarantee one thing, the outing that does NOT have snow but has sub-zero temperatures is really difficult.  Snow makes a great insulator and without it, one is at the mercy of whatever they can drag into the woods.  Good luck with that, it's a great learning experience and sub-zero camping with no snow is a lot more difficult than if they have snow.  Learn what it takes to deal with the cold, not the snow.  To me this is what I think the requirement is going after.

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I am not sure what "different" means in post #6.  The Boy Scouts of America requirement says:

 

9. Show experience in camping by doing the following:

 

a. Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events. One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.

 

b. On any of these camping experiences, you must do TWO of the following, only with proper preparation and under qualified supervision.

(1) Hike up a mountain where, at some point, you are at least 1,000 feet higher in elevation from where you started.

(2) Backpack, snowshoe, or cross-country ski for at least 4 miles.

(3) Take a bike trip of at least 15 miles or at least four hours. 

(4) Take a nonmotorized trip on the water of at least four hours or 5 miles.

(5) Plan and carry out an overnight snow camping experience.

(6) Rappel down a rappel route of 30 feet or more.

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I would think the intent of the snow camping is not to have snow, but to deal with the sub-freezing and sub-zero temperatures on an outing.  That means the San Diego scouts get off the beach catching rays and head for the higher elevations for the possibility of catching some snow.  If not, the scout can still learn what it takes to "winter/snow/cold" camping.

 

The items that I posted above:

  1. May be taken in any location.
  2. Campsite must be snow-covered.
  3. Prepare at least two meals in camp.
  4. Minimum of one night of camping.

are the items needed to receive the Greater LA Area Council's HAT badge for Snow Hiking. The Los Padres Council HAT team has a "Polar Bear" award that requires an area covered with snow. The Desert Pacific Council's HAT team has a "Snow Camper" award that requires 2" of snow or more.

 

At least in Southern California, the various council HAT groups all tie "snow" to actually camping on snow. I can't see why the camping merit badge wouldn't actually require snow if they specify it. If you can't get to snow, then you can satisfy the requirement via the other options.

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Right now, the area of Wisconsin I'm in doesn't really have snow.  A ton of ice, but no real snow.  White ice doesn't count and the weather moving in is more rain and ice. 

 

Yet the lessons learned from a camp out this weekend or next would far outdo any "snow on the ground" camping I have experienced in the past.  More than once  our spring or fall camporee had a "dusting of snow" but I wouldn't call it winter camping by any stroke of imagination.

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snow camping experience.....

I can imagine a lot of folks checking that off even when there's just a dusting of snow...... or even a few inches.

Maybe that it the intention....

 

or maybe it's more like what I'm picturing....

deeper snow, where it's not really practical to build a fire on the dirt.

deeper snow, where it's conceivable that one could build a snow cave or igloo type shelter..... or dig down a bit and set up a tent in and on the snow, perhaps banking the snow around .... a bit different than setting the tent up on the ground with just a few inches of snow

 

With just a dusting or just a few inches of snow, i would tend to think of that as just messy cold weather camping.

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In our neck of the woods, cold weather/winter camping does not have a fire.  If one heats up one side the body and leaves the other side cold, it confuses the body's natural mechanisms and doesn't know whether to heat up because you're cold or cool down because you're warm.

 

1" of snow at 32o camping is nothing compared to no snow and -5o camping.  Whole different skill set going on.

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I either case, it's about overcoming challenges.   Ambiguities should be resolved in favor of the Scout.  Not his fault the language is not crystal clear or otherwise defined.  

 

30's and raining is pretty challenging.

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We are losing the forest for the trees here. The point is not an extreme weather experience. The point is to add variety to one's camping experience. By golly, if the snow ain't happening, do something else creative with the conditions you're given.

 

A nephew is coming to visit because his kids are hankering to see snow for the first time. Hopefully the weather will turn for them. But if it doesn't, I'll find them (the boys, at least) a 1000' climb to hike and camp in. (FL is shy on hills as well.) I'm taking time off to ensure the opportunity.

 

I'll leave it to their MB counselor to decide if following your crazy great uncle crew advisor into he wild meets the standard for "scouting activity". Nobody cares if it doesn't. There are four other ways they may check off that requirement with their patrol.

Edited by qwazse

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It's all relative. The goal is to try something different.

 

Look at the list and notice that you have to do two things and, if you don't have a mountain nearby, nothing else matches going snow shoeing or skiing. The list really is do one of go on the water, go biking, go in the mountains, or go in the snow.

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