One of the biggest obstacles in winter camping with Boy Scouts are worried parents. The Scout is being placed in a “High Risk” situation, and parents get the willies when they are faced with the prospect of their little precious getting frost bite and having his cute little nose fall off.
So how to sooth the worried parents heart. Skills and Training.
Ok so let me back up just a bit.. where do those skills and Training come from. You won’t find what you need to know in the BSA Field Book.. well, Chapter 13 has some good information about Cold weather travel and camping, but it really falls short in the practical exercise of a cold weather adventure. Now I am not trying to be critical here, but as much as the Scout Handbook stops at Basic First Aid, the Field book is a nice place to start in developing an interest in Cold weather camping.
So skills and training at the unit level is very important to build confidence in the Scout… and the adult leaders charged with their safety.
But what about Mom and Dad? I still have not soothed their trembling heart.
Skills and Training need to be something that Mom and Dad see. They need to see competent trainers, they need to see an SPL or Patrol Leader, or the Troop Guide carefully sharing his knowledge of the skills required to be successful in the cold weather environment. A resume` of safe trips, of competent leadership, of well planned adventures and a lack of goofing off when it comes to camping in the cold.. that is what Mom and Dad need to see.
They need to know that their Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters are skilled in the cold and have the know how to teach, coach, train, and mentor their young man. They need to know that over many nights of camping in the cold no injuries have occurred. They need to hear the great stories from the gang that went last year.. how much fun they had and that they look forward to hitting the mountain again… and again.
Parents have every right to worry.. Scoutmasters have an obligation to remove any doubt they may have.
I am a cold weather expert.. I am not shy about telling the parents that their son is in good hands.. why.. because I trained the youth leaders and they are competent in this skill set.
Soothing the parents worried heart is an important and reasonable task of the Scoutmaster.
A Scout is Trustworthy, and that starts by being someone that can be trusted…
Have a Great Scouting Day!