Despite the frigid cold Madison County faced this weekend, Boy Scout Troop 2014 braved the weather and camped out in the snow.
The troop set up their camp at the Richmond Church of Christ and spent Friday and Saturday night bundled up in layers and sleeping bags to fight off the chill.
“If I had to use one word to describe it, it would be cold,” Titus Gustafson, senior patrol leader of Troop 2014, said.
Drew Jordan, a troop member, agreed with Gustafson.
“It was a new troop record… I’ve been out in the cold before but never single digits,” Jordan said.
David Meade, committee chair of Troop 2014, said the campout trip was planned before the weekend was predicted to have such cold temperatures. The scouts talked it over and considered canceling the weekend. However, Meade said there were enough boys interested in going on the trip despite the cold.
So, Troop 2014 braved the weather.
“The whole thing with scouting is to be prepared,” Scoutmaster Eric Helton said.
As long as the adults could keep the scouts safe, the cold temperatures weren’t an issue.
The troop leaders made it clear to the scouts before they arrived, they had to be prepared, or the scouts would be sent home.
Gustafson explained being prepared meant having multiple layers and multiple sleeping bags to help keep the scouts warm at night. Helton explained one of the reasons the troop camped at the church was to have an emergency heating source. If one of the scouts got too cold at night, they could go into the building. However, none needed to.
“All digits accounted for,” Helton said with a laugh.
Meade explained one reason the boys were interested in spending the night in such cold temperatures — he said it got to 2 degrees at night — is because they got a special award for collecting frost points. These points are accumulated when scouts sleep in frigid temps.
Friday night, Troop 2014 was able to rack up 30 frost points. Meade said if scouts accumulate up to 50 points, they get a special patch. Because of the weather, Troop 2014 hasn’t been able to do much “cold camping,” Meade said.
“This was a big deal for them to be able to camp out in two-degree weather,” Meade said.
In total, 12 scouts spent the night Friday, while 20 were able to spend time during the day at the campsite on Saturday. Meade explained some of the scouts didn’t feel equipped enough to spend the night in the cold, but the troop didn’t want it to stop them from having fun during the day.
Scoutmaster Eric Helton explained the trip wasn’t just to get frost points, however.
He said some of the scout members are going for their Life Rank — to do this, they much reach EDGE (educate, demonstrate, guide, and enable).
In order to accomplish this, Helton said scouts must pick a skill set and explain and demonstrate it. Then they must guide and enable the other scouts to do the skill. After they have done this, the troop performed fun events to make sure they knew how to correctly perform the skill. Helton said one scout taught the skill of fire building. Another one lashing, or how to lash rope to build a structure, while another taught first aid.
The trip wasn’t just work and no play.
Helton said all the scouts still had a good time.
Some chose to play capture the flag. Others brought their sleds and went sledding. There were snowball fights.
Surely the weekend camping trip for Troop 2014 will not be one they forget.