As winter really takes hold all across the country and cold temperatures become normal everywhere, Scout units in many locations begin participating in an annual event many call a Klondike Derby.
A Klondike Derby is an opportunity for Scout patrols to hone their skills at various winter survival activities (first aid, sled construction and racing, outdoor winter cooking, snow cave building, etc.), and the cold temperatures add to the fun (and the difficulty) of completing those tasks.
Many of the skills events are preceded by a night of camping in the cold temperatures. Depending on the weekend and the part of the country where the Klondike Derby is taking place, some Scouts might camp in very cold, snowy conditions, while others might get more mild temperatures.
It’s something a lot of Scouts really look forward to each year.
Recently, Scouts in Wyoming and Scouts in Massachusetts were featured for their participation in Klondike Derbies.
In Wyoming, the Scouts simulated first-aid assistance for “victims” who might be found out in the remote wilderness with no easy access to help. The Scouts were tasked with locating these “victims” in the snowy woods, then finding ways to assist those individuals to safety.
“You can’t call 911,” said one Scout leader. “You can only work with what you have. You have to be creative.”
The Scouts use what is around them to build sleds and other devices to help complete the task.
In Massachusetts, the Scouts also practiced first-aid skills, along with shelter building and other problem-solving activities. Many of the events are timed, and Scouts must work together efficiently to accomplish their tasks quickly.