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Holiday-time camping in Beavah-land

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We have had snow on the ground during about three trips that I can recall, though only one where it was actually snowing during the trip. (Specifically, the blizzard hit on Sunday morning, just in time for me and my car to try to negotiate our way down the little winding road out of the camp, with no visibility, without ending up sideways in a ditch along the (invisible) side of the road. That was fun.)


We have had some pretty cold ones. I think the record was 5 below -- and it had been well below freezing for more than a month, making that the one trip where we (adults and boys) walked out on a frozen lake (after getting the ranger's approval). That ice wasn't going anywhere. It didn't snow on that one though.


(I had another little story there, but I decided to keep that one within the annals of troop lore.)(This message has been edited by njcubscouter)

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I haven't bothered surveying out 40-some-odd troops/crews in our district. But I know most of them are active year-round. One of the exceptions is in the tiny Canadian border town of Jackman (and I've mentioned this before). They shut down from mid-December to mid-March. Not because of the snow--they see a lot more than we do here "down state)--matter of fact, their school system rarely closes for snow. So, what if they get a foot during the day--the high schoolers drive their snowmobiles to school anyway.


No, the reason they shut-down isn't due to holidays, nor the weather. They shut-down 'cause of basketball season--every troop member is on one of the town's teams. Between homework, practices and games (it's 50 miles to the next nearest American town (only 30 to a Canadian one), so away games take a LOT of travel time), there's hardly anyone around/available for a troop outing/meeting. Yet despite this shut-down period, they have one of the highest percentages of Eagle Scouts in the district.

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Can't speak for area. For "my" troop:

We don't camp during Nov & Dec. We don't go anywhere near the woods during hunting season (as a troop or patrol.

Time is taken up with Scout Christmas tree lot (not a big money-maker, but traditional & we believe it helps build character), planning & attending troop Christmas party potluck with all parents attending, community service projects (soup kitchen help at Thanksgiving, canned food & clothing drive, set up Christmas trees at retirement homes, help with toy repair, whatever). Troop does attend services in uniform on Christmas Eve.

We do have some day outings, depending on weather (tobogganing, ice skating, winter nature walk with park naturalist)

January is spent relearning Scoutcraft for the Klondike Derby, building new sleds for same, semi-annual planning & feedback session for PLC (weekend at council camp or similar), more skating & tobogganing, ice-fishing weekend (stay in cabin with working fireplace), more nature walks. Several patrols continue with their shovel the walks & driveways fundraisers. On call for community service projects. Work on classroom type merit badges. Help scatter used Christmas trees around nature areas

Feb: cabin camp while doing conservation projects. Work on classroom type merit badges, get in the last skating & winter nature walks

there doesn't seem to be much interest in our troop for camping in the snow. If district or council hosts an outside winter camp, then some will attend

Our day outings usually involve patrol cooking for lunch or snack (hot chocolate, etc) and winter fire-building practice where allowed. We also review symptoms & treatment for frostbite


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my son's troop camps every month. during these cold winter months we do some cabin camping at our nearby scout camp, we also do a lock-in at an indoor climbing place, and we have one at a nearby ski hill where they tent camp.


his troop does follow common sense when it comes to tenting outdoors - if the temps or windchills get way too low we will cancel the camping overnight part and just do the next day activities - but in the years my son has been involved they've only had to do that once.


his troops biggest issue is often getting enough adults to tent in the winter... we always have at least 3 adults go during normal camping, but we like to have at least 4 for winter tenting just to make sure if there are injuries or issues with the cold we have extra hands/eyes and can stay with safe scouting rules. There are 2 of us adults (me being 1) that will tent in the winter, there is 1 that refuses, and the others it just depends on the weekend. So with me being involved with Girl Scouts too I always try to make sure I'm not double booked on those weekends.

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Our Troop does something every month year-round. We do, however, take a break from regular Scout meetings while the guys are out of school for the holidays.


Just before Thanksgiving we take a backpacking trip. This year, we had two weekend trips back-to-back: one shorter, easier trip for the younger guys and a second 30 miler on the AT for the more experienced Scouts.


December is our annual trip to our Council Camp, Camp Old Indian. Even though we are in South Carolina, the weather can be quite varied in December. Some years we had 60 degrees, other years temps in the teens. Last weekend's trip saw a break in what had been temps in the low 20s for about a week. At least on Saturday when it reached somewhere in the high 40s during the day. Of course, the guys were very excited when they saw a bit of snow on the ground Sunday morning. Yes, our mild weather Southern boys have learned to be well-prepared.


Though the holidays are over, I'll add a few other winter outings. January is usually a snow skiing trip, although we don't camp for that one. February is another backpacking trip, usually very cold and most times raining. Again, the guys have learned to know how to pack and prepare properly.

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