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Cub Scout dies sledding at Andersen Scout Camp (WI)

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Seven year old Simon Caquelin of St. Paul (MN) had been at the Fred C. Andersen Boy Scout camp in Houlton, Wis., for one night when his family received the devastating news that there had been an accident.

No one was there to see exactly what happened that night, but investigators for the most part were able to piece together a series of events--seven-year-old Simon had gone sledding, authorities believe, at some point veering off the hill and striking a tree head-on without a helmet. He spent seven days fighting for his life at Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul, and took his last breath just after 4 a.m. Monday.

...

The silver lining for Matthew, his wife Jennifer and Simon's two older siblings, however, lies in the fact that he was able to donate his organs. So far, they say he's helped save at least four lives, with a flag currently flying outside the hospital in his honor.

"I would love for everybody to realize that we had our miracle for seven years," Matthew Caquelin said. "He was an angel that was devoting time to us--and that miracle did happen."

Simon's family described him as a budding outdoorsman, a true Minnesotan who had never been camping alone or sledding at night before. He had only been a member of the Boy Scouts for several months before the accident, though Simon's family says the organization has been incredibly supportive throughout the entire ordeal. 

http://www.fox9.com/news/seven-year-old-dies-after-sledding-accident-at-boy-scout-camp

Scout Salute and farewell.

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Upsetting he had to fight and (probably) suffer for 7 long days. 

May he Rest In Peace.

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Assuming all G2SS guidelines were followed, and not really up to speed on Cub camping, it has been a while.  I was under the impression (thought??) that Cub camping and overnighters were all family camping.  Should he have been there without parents?  Can they have another leader / parent be responsible?

Just curious on how that should work.

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Two issues:

(1) Yes, something is amiss. I am surprised a 7 year old could sled alone, much less without a helmet but I assume this was an "unauthorized" activity. We can barely do a derby down a hill around here with all the safety precautions. At that age you really have to keep an idea on them a lot...while they lack judgement they can move pretty fast and be impulsive. If it was like a camp I have been to I would think a sledding area would have a wide wide margin of error. But I am from warm country and this is all abstract.

(2) Terribly tragic at such a young age and a terrible burden for all those around him to bear. I feel for the leaders especially. Very, very sad. Forever young. I am glad the organ donation gives the family something else to hang on to.

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2 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

Assuming all G2SS guidelines were followed, and not really up to speed on Cub camping, it has been a while.  I was under the impression (thought??) that Cub camping and overnighters were all family camping.  Should he have been there without parents?  Can they have another leader / parent be responsible?

Just curious on how that should work.

For pack campouts, they prefer you to be with your parent(s) but the firm requirement is that all cubs must be under the direct charge of an adult and a non-leader adult can be in charge of one kid who isn't their own. We had a couple of dads at our winter campout with son and best friend.

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2 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

Assuming all G2SS guidelines were followed, and not really up to speed on Cub camping, it has been a while.  I was under the impression (thought??) that Cub camping and overnighters were all family camping.  Should he have been there without parents?  Can they have another leader / parent be responsible?

Just curious on how that should work.

Pertinent sections of the g2ss https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss03/:

Overnight camping may include.

Quote

Tiger Cubs, Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts may participate in a resident overnight camping program operating under BSA National Camping School– trained leadership and managed by the council.

This is not family camping, which is defined (emphasis mine) as:

Quote

Family camping is an outdoor experience, other than resident camping, that involves Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, or Venturing program elements in overnight settings with two or more family members, including at least one BSA member of that family.

If staff were National Camp School trained, they should have known about the winter sports helmet recommendation https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/alerts/winter2009/:

Quote

“Appropriate personal protective equipment is required for all activities. This includes the recommended use of helmets for all participants engaged in winter sports such as sledding and other sliding devices. The use of helmets is required for the following activities: downhill skiing, snowboarding, and operation of snowmobiles (full-face helmets).”

What's unsaid is what staff did, if anything, to set up a safe-sledding area.

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2 minutes ago, qwazse said:

What's unsaid is what staff did, if anything, to set up a safe-sledding area.

Do we know this was on the camp hill?

When we were at Andersen last winter the cubs did some sledding on the path outside our cabin with only pack oversight. This year at Stearns  the south facing camp hill was unsleddable but the boys used the camps sleds sitting around our cabin to sled on the hill the cabin was built into and another hill nearby.

On the helmet front... they are recommended not required. My kids sled in gym class at school and noone has helmets. The parks and rec people don't have helmets. On the local hills and at troop outings my kids wear their skating helmets but I've seen maybe 3 other kids in helmets in the last few years. Helmet use for sledding is where helmet use for skiing was 20 years ago. This will speed up that change in Scouts, which is a good thing, but I wouldn't be too hard on the leaders in this case.

 

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42 minutes ago, oldbuzzard said:

For pack campouts, they prefer you to be with your parent(s) but the firm requirement is that all cubs must be under the direct charge of an adult and a non-leader adult can be in charge of one kid who isn't their own. We had a couple of dads at our winter campout with son and best friend.

For this very reason we required a parent or legal guardian to be present on all overnight trips for Cubs to manage/saveguard their Scout.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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Awful news, RIP Simon :-(

IMHO, I don't know how having the parent there would have helped prevent this accident.

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9 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

Awful news, RIP Simon :-(

IMHO, I don't know how having the parent there would have helped prevent this accident.

Who knows. Maybe they didn't know the activity was going on. Maybe they would have said no.

The point is that having the parents there helps to cover the leaders since their presence makes them complicit in any activities their child participates in.

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Each year in the U.S., 25,000 children under 15 are admitted to emergency rooms for sledding injuries, according to the Mayo Clinic. But sledding deaths are rare.

In Minnesota, a teen, Katelyn Hank, died in 2014 in a sledding accident in Le Sueur. Two years earlier, a 10-year-old girl from North Carolina died while sledding in Dassel.

While there are no special helmets for sledding, kids can use ski, bicycle or skateboard helmets.

That’s a message the Caquelins are now spreading, hoping it will help prevent another family from going through such heartbreak.

While wearing a helmet may not have prevented his son’s injuries, Matt Caquelin said, “it may have saved his life.”

http://www.startribune.com/st-paul-boy-dies-after-sledding-accident-at-boy-scout-camp/473005893/

Edited by RememberSchiff

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I’ve seen several kids hit trees (not scouting) while sledding... luckily no ER visits.  If you are not careful you can easily misjudge your speed (and thus length of run at bottom) or your ability to control yourself going straight.  My heart goes out to this family and it will make me think twice when I send my kids out sledding without helmets (we’ve never used them for sledding or seen them used).

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