What would it be like to be out in the wilderness of Alaska and dependent on yours and teammates' knowledge of how to survive?
Several Boy Scouts from the Minsi Trails Council got a chance to test their mettle at the Klondike Derby held at Camp Trexler in Jonas last weekend.
The Klondike Derby is an annual event held during the winter months and is based on the heritage of the Klondike Gold Rush. BSA units have been running Klondike Derbies since 1949.
The typical Klondike Derby consists of a series of stations where units must test their Scoutcraft skills and their leadership abilities, earning points toward a total score.
With a Canadian theme this year at Camp Trexler, the troops participating were broken up into patrols with six to eight boys in each. Each patrol had a dog sled that the Scouts made, which sits on skis with wheels. It carted their supplies of three to four-foot poles, ropes, an ax, a knife, compass, map and their knapsacks, all things they would need if they were out on the trail. The patrols pulled the sleds to eight different stations: Two Man Saw; Whiteout; Slingshot, Tomahawk; Tripod and Log Lift; First Aid; Fire Building; Log Lashing and Blindfold Teamwork.
At the White Out station, a team had three members blindfolded who had to pull the sled through an obstacle course, taking instruction from the other members who acted as navigators.
Sled No. 7 from Troop 131 completed the obstacle course in 4 minutes, 32 seconds and received 85 points.
Rabid Boulders, members of Boy Scout Troop No. 5 of Allentown, stopped to take a breather on a slippery icy trail. They had just completed their slingshot event and were headed to the tomahawk event. They said they were having an "awesome" time.
It was 'ready, aim, fire' at the slingshot station where each Scout had a chance to test their keen eyes to hit a tin plate target.
At the Tomahawk station, each Boy Scout got three tomahawks to throw at a wooden target in two rounds.
"It's pretty cool when you hit the target but a little unnatural throwing it," said Anthony Haring of Boy Scout Troop 140 in Allentown. Fellow Boy Scout, Christopher Boucher stood on the sidelines, waiting his turn. He said that this was his first time to Camp Trexler and can't wait to come back in warmer weather because he thought it was an awesome place.
Mike Bailey and Patrick Hughes of Troop 431 used a two-man saw to saw through a log, trying to cut as many one-inch thick pieces off as they could in 10 minutes. They shared the event with Ryan Beuttel and James Zody as Trevor Horn cheered them on. In this event, they had to ask permission to step inside the yellow caution tape, pick up the saw, saw off one piece, lay the saw down, ask permission to leave while the next team repeated the process. This event taught them respect and safety.
The Dreaded Majestic Mooseman (Kramer Christensen) and his Bandits – Blue Bandit (Erin Kloss,) Fuzzy Bandit (Alyssa Schoenberger) and Eskimo Bandit (Kelsey Stinner), members of Venturing Crew 120 – visited each station. Mooseman's and the Bandits' jobs were to approach unsuspecting Boy Scouts at the derby and ask them trivia questions pertaining to Scouting or Canada.
If they answered incorrectly, the Scouts had to relinquish a gold coin to Mooseman. If they answered correctly, Mooseman gave them a gold coin.
Venturing is a youth development program of the Boys Scouts for young men and women who are 14 through 20 years of age to provide positive experiences and help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults.
Tyler Yankey, district executive of Minsi Trails Council of the Trexler District of Boy Scouts of America, said the derby of team building exercises helps build leadership and communication skills.
"And the guys have a lot of fun doing it," he said.