As we get into serious winter camping again for this season, we reinforce with our Youth leaders and other adult leaders some of the principles that make for a successful outing. In developing Youth leaders we put a lot on their shoulders and give them responsibilty. When they accept that responsibility it is then that we hold them accountable for leading. In doing this, they practice what they know, they show by their example that they can be trusted as a leader, and they Do the right thing.
Here is an outline of some of the Winter Leader skills training that we do within our Troop.
Winter Camping Leadership Tool box
Winter camping is like no other camping. It requires skills, smarts, and the right attitude. It also requires strong leadership. Leaders that accept responsibility and leaders that understand that the group comes before the individual.
Here are some items for a leader to have in his tool box for camping in the winter.
1. The right attitude. You must demonstrate a positive attitude in the winter. The people following you depend on it. As you go with you attitude, those that follow you will go.
2. Be an example of right. The leader must possess the skills and attitudes that make winter camping successful. The leader must demonstrate those skills and teach others to use them. The leader can not take short cuts and look the other way. The leader must set an example by doing the right thing.
3. Skills. There is a list of skills that make up a good winter camper. Here are some that the leader must use and teach.
Gear– use the right gear and use it properly. More importantly taking the right gear with you and packing it right. Every item in the pack or SECURED to the out side and covered with a pack cover.
Staying dry. – Wet kills in the winter.
In camp routines. Camp set up.
Getting in and out the tent without dragging snow in.
Storing gear. Everything stays packed unless needed.
Gathering and “Making” water.
Gathering fire wood and making the fire.
Setting up camp. Looking for best placement of tents/shelters. No widow makers. Building up snow walls. Cooking areas. Designated BIO area.
Anchoring of tents/shelters.
Morning routines. Get up and cook right away. Get things cleaned and stored. Pack un used gear. Hang anything that is damp to dry.
Cooking. Have a plan.
Store food in bags in order they will be eaten.
Repackage meals to reduce trash.
Hot meals always
3 good hot meals and lots of snacks.
Clean up as you go and never leave dirty dishes laying around.
Pack it all out. Do not dump uneaten food in the snow.
Just because you can bury it does not mean it is right.
Monitor water use and stay ahead.
Watch fuel consumption. No flame without a pot on it. NO empty pots.
Don’t be lazy. Cook and eat well.
Sleeping. Dry equals warm. Stay out of wind and wet and you will stay dry and warm. Open your sleeping bag as soon as your tent is set up. Get the loft going. Make sure to have insulation under you. Closed cell pads work great in the winter. An extra blanket works too when used with a pad. If nothing else your jacket should go between you and the pad or under your feet.
Your boots go in the tent and under your sleeping bag (foot end). Do not wear anything wet to bed. Change your socks and clothing before you go to bed if you are wet. ALWAYS change your socks before you get in your sleeping bag.
Avoid condensation in your sleeping bag. Wear a hat and keep your face out of the bag. Short guys. Fold unused portion of sleeping bag under you.
Take a trip to the pee tree before you go to bed. Relieve yourself and then get comfortable. You do not want to hold it till morning. You won’t sleep and you won’t stay warm.
4. Be a Good example. Yes, we say it twice. This will get you farther as a leader than anything else in the cold weather. If you do things right and maintain a positive attitude, those that follow you will to.
IMPORTANT. Leaders are responsible. You are the last ones in the sleeping bag after everyone is checked. You are the last ones to eat or eat before the rest. This way you can check, assist,and monitor the rest as they prepare and eat.
Leaders. You are the key to success. You have been given the responsibility to teach and coach. Use it.
Build your tool box. Fill it with those things that make you a great leader and you will be. Collective knowledge and a willingness to learn, practice, and share is the success of all leaders.
Have a Great Scouting Day!