Daring Derby: Klondike Derby Teaches Boy Scout Troops Winter Skills | News

WILLSBORO — With snow on the ground and sub-freezing temperatures, conditions were great for five area scout troops to compete in a Klondike Derby at the Willsboro Fish and Game Club.

Troops from Gabriels (Paul Smiths), Keeseville, Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake, and Westport competed in seven events where they were judged on spirit, participation, problem-solving skills, and success.


Activities were those commonly associated with Scouting such as first aid, knotting, building an emergency shelter, building a fire, and orienteering.

The scouts had to carry all the necessary equipment, including firewood and kindling, sleeping bags, a stove and fuel, a shovel, ropes and five-foot poles on a large wooden sled propelled by them. through the hilly wooded trails.

At the aid station, the scouts had to show off their knowledge as they were given scenarios such as battling frostbite, spurting blood and having foreign objects in their eyes.


Another event was a scavenger hunt which was completed in conjunction with their other efforts. The twelve items included needles from conifers, leaves from deciduous trees, moss, deer droppings, and the hardest to find in nature; bird feathers. However, for the latter, some scouts have been ingenious and bypassed cleaning by obtaining a feather from a down jacket or vest.

At noon, each troop was to stop where it was and cook a hot meal. Small camping stoves could be used. While a troop was preparing their chicken cuisine, they had an extra treat. A pine martin with its dark fur was seen waving against the white snow as it made its way through the forest.


District Scouting Committee member Margaret Tallman, who has been involved in Scouting since 1981, attended the event. “I love working with young people and watching them grow. It’s so great to see them open their minds. Unfortunately, the local kids don’t get out into the woods much.

Larry Carroll, Westport Scout master and event planner, who started out as a Cub Scout and has over 50 years of Scouting experience, added, “Kids today live too much on the computer.

Afterwards, Carroll commented, “As the first Klondike in two years, I found the attendees to be upbeat and fun. The leadership volunteers were all ready to help with activities and events. My overall impression was a success.

Scouts alone

As well as the traditional Derby Boy Scouts, there were several Lone Scouts, who in this case are female. The Lone Scout Plan is a way for any youngster between the ages of 7 and 10 to become a Lone Cub Scout; or aged 11 to 17 to become a member of Lone Scouts BSA.

In the past, young men were Boy Scouts and women Girl Scouts, but this new classification has been incorporated. Basically, a young person can apply for membership as a Lone Scout only if they cannot easily join a Cub Scout Pack or BSA Scout Troop. They can complete the requirements for badges and ranking either by attending meetings or participating in group activities or on their own.

Email Alvin Reiner at: [email protected]