*** EDIT NOTE: This post was scheduled for today (12-14-12). I contemplated “pulling it” in light of the tragic events that have shaken us in Connecticut. Our hearts go out to those families. The reason I did not “pull” this post is simply this.. We must go on. I am sorry about the devastating events of today, but as our thoughts and prayers flow to those victims, we can not live in fear and can not let the actions of a few dictate how we live our lives.
I am sorry if this is ‘too soon’.. but this coming Monday our Troop will still meet and we will be getting ready for not only Winter Camping, but Troop Junior Leader Training and we will go on.
God Bless. ***
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. In my Troop Training for winter camping is a significant part of the process. We make certain rules on participation in winter camping events such as; You must participate in the 4 meetings that lead up to the camp out. This way you get all the necessary training. This is important as your buddy is counting on you to be there, understand what he is looking for, and is a part of the team when it comes to the in camp routines that are unique to winter camping.
A lack of discipline will also get a Scout “Uninvited” to a winter outing. There is no room for a lack of discipline when it comes to camping in cold weather and high risk activities.
Part of the training that our Scouts receive are from the older Scouts. They are given the training and the tools to ensure that proper training is being conducted. I have given them the following to add to their Leadership Tool box. The following is directed at the Leader and speaks directly to them so they can properly set the example, train their Patrol’s and have a great winter camping experience.
You are welcome to all of this information, feel free to copy and paste. If you have questions, please feel free to ask. You can always send an email or drop a note in the comments section.
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 outside 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 lying 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, 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!