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This past weekend our Troop participated in the District's Klondike Derby. We had two sleds participate.


Two years ago we had one sled drop out and its participants reprimanded by the Derby's organizers for disruptive behavior. This resulted in some disciplinary action by the Troop committee, but that's not the point of this note. Last year we had two sleds participate and both finished in the bottom 10% of the participants, but they both finished the Derby without incident. The adult leadership considered it a minor success.


This year we had one sled finish second overall in the Derby out of 35 sleds and the other was in the top third. The second place sled was awarded trophies and the scouts were thrilled. Our troop has not had a finish this well in a Klondike as long as any of it's current members can remember and we have some adults that have been with the troop for 15 years. The best part about this, is both sleds were completely led by boys. I worked at one of the event stations and was somewhat suprised at the number of patrols/sleds that showed up with adult escorts. Our guys were completely on their own. The sled that finished second was led by a patrol leader that really wanted to do well and made a point of working with his patrol the weeks before the event to brush up on their skills. His efforts really paid off for him and his patrol.


To some of you that are involved with troops that really have their act together this might not seem like a big deal. But to see where this troop has come from in the last two years has been really satisfying. I just had to share.



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We just had our Klondike this weekend, and had a similiar experience. After two or three years of very poorly run Klondikes, our Troop volunteered to organize this year's event. Our SM recruited one of our boys to be SPL for the event, and the SPL recruited an ASPL and much of the youth staff that developed the stations and ran the event. With few exceptions, adults had very little to do with the outcome of the event, which I believe most of the participants would rate a 9.1 to a 9.3 if we had asked.


Of course, there were some things that didn't come off well. The boy who was charged with creating a map used a draft map as the final copy. The SPL didn't review and approve a criteria for stations to score participants, which led to some inequeties in how nuggets were awarded. And he failed to develop a plan for check out and campsite inspections. As these problems began to show up, the SPL was quite upset with himself for these omissions. Somehow we failed to show him that his effort was intended to teach him how to run a project, not necesarily to be perfect at it on the first try. Once he understood that in the framework of Scouting, mistakes are learning oportunities, not failures, he felt better.


So many of the SMs and other adult leaders who were witness to the event coming together, including the DE, refused to believe that this could work. In almost every case, these adults recognized that the event was successful. Sadly though, at the District Committee meeting last night, as I hear, the spring Camporee will be going back to the same old adults, planning things that don't really interest the boys, being run by "the good 'ole boys", and finalizing the plans in the parking lot on the Friday of arrival. Seems like lessons even when the student recognizies the value, are harder to implement than I had hoped.


But congratulations on your outcome. If the results are a renewed enthusiam from your guys- If they can't wait to show themselves off again as a self sufficient unit- Then you and your Scouts should be proud!



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