Scouts brave cold weather to learn survival skills

| 26 Feb 2015 | 01:53

Several local Boy Scout troops participated in the annual Klondike Derby on Saturday, Feb. 21. The Malibu Dude Ranch in Milford hosted the event which tests the skills and endurance of Boy Scouts as individuals and as a group.

The Klondike Derby was co-hosted by Boy Scout Troops 76 of Shohola and 77 of Matamoras. A Klondike derby is an annual event held by some Boy Scouts of America and Scouts Canada during the winter months. The event is based on the experiences of the Klondike Gold Rush. Boy Scouts of America have been conducting Klondike Derby's since the 1949.

Participating troops must traverse and complete a course consisting of numerous stations. Along the way Boy Scouts' outdoor skills and leadership abilities are put to the test. The troops earn points towards a total score.

All of the Boy Scouts' supplies were transported on sleds that were constructed by them. Sleds were also graded on how they were constructed and the amount of essential gear carried on them. The troops used team work to push and pull the sleds through rugged terrain. Food, firewood and backpacks were among the survival items hauled.

The Klondike Derby can be difficult but fun too. Old Man Winter was particularly grumpy over the weekend. But that is part of the purpose of conducting an outdoor activity such as this. The adventurers during the Klondike Gold Rush had to be hearty individuals to survive harsh living conditions.

The men and women who experienced the Klondike Gold Rush learned to survive and thrive in the environment they were in. As the saying goes "only the strong survive."

The Boy Scout troops in the latest Klondike Derby experienced similar harsh conditions albeit on a very limited basis. The troops had a certain amount of time to complete each graded station. Building fires quickly from sticks and boiling water were some of the activities at stations. Putting together a makeshift shelter to provide protection from the elements was at another station. Boy Scouts used available fallen trees and logs to construct shelters.

A medical treatment station was part of the derby course as well. A simulated rescue was part of a test. A participant was selected as a patient while fellow Boy Scouts would administer first aid.

Despite brutal cold with the temperature hovering around zero the troops completed the entire course.

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