For the Scout interested in animal life, the book of the snow
holds valuable information: how the wild creatures find shelter against the cold,
what they eat and how they obtain it, and many other details of absorbing
interest. Plenty of drama can also be found, with all the thrills and suspense of
the most exciting adventure story. Here you may learn how jack rabbit by use of
strategy as well as speed made the pursuing dog a ridiculous figure.
There, you see the
hen pheasant that proved just a little too alert and swift for B'rer Fox. By his trail, the bear writes his record
of his last-minute search for a home, the various unsuccessful attempts
constituting a veritable comedy of errors. Often the climax of the drama of the
chase is written in the blood of the hunted.
There are fewer obstacles in winter
to following tracks wherever they may lead, if the trail is plain. The frozen
ground is easy to cover. Frozen streams are no barrier. The dense underbrush of
summer no longer bars your passage. Even marshes and swamps are now firm under
foot, particularly if you are wearing snow-shoes. There is much less to obstruct
the view through the woods and the quarry may be seen at greater distance than
at any other season (see also, Wild
Animals in Winter).
Winter Advancement Hints:
Knot Tying: Patrol
holds an outdoor meeting to tie knots with and without mittens or gloves on.
Have Patrols supply themselves with materials that will make it possible to tie
each knot as for a particular purpose.
First Aid: demonstrate treatment for
bruises received in sledding, or an ice accident. Show the proper use of the
triangle bandage, and how to carry the injured, placing especial emphasis on the added
element of cold weather. Demonstrate advanced First Aid under severe
conditions, either on the ice or in deep snow. For example, rescue a boy
supposedly fallen through the ice and on the point of death, give him
necessary first aid treatment, build fire or improvise a shelter, or make use
of nearby building for shelter, observe proper time for results of
treatment. Demonstrate how, when he is able, the victim would be transported
out of the woods. Assume the accident occurred at a distance from home, on an ordinary sledding or
skating party not supplied with any technical first aid materials. Do the same
sort of activities also with first aid equipment at hand. Demonstrate
treatment for hypothermia or frost bite and let Scouts meet all the requirements
under winter conditions.
Tracking: what better sport than tracking, in mud or in the snow! For trailing,
conditions in the winter woods are ideal. The tracks are written with the
greatest distinctness and detail on the clear recording page of the snow. Whole
histories of fox and rabbit lie in full view, ready for anyone versed in bird
and animal lore to read.
The Five Mile Hike: shoe shoes and skis are allowed. A
good objective for this hike is to find a suitable winter camp-site for the
Use of Knife, Hatchet,
and Axe: knife work for long winter evenings is a great pastime. Axe work can be
made essential in the winter camp. For Second Class requirements, choose
as wintry a day as possible, preferably a windy day, and select a very snowy
site in the woods, or one that is exposed, so as to train Scouts to meet safely
the necessities of such weather.
Building: winter gives the Scout a chance to display various fires: for heating, for cooking, on the snow and
from wet wood. After a model shelter-building contest for knife and hatchet work
in the cold, hold another using same wood to build a fire in the open, using not
more than two matches, and demonstrate care for it and in putting it out. Do it
again on a windy day, and carefully instruct in prevention of the spread of fire or embers.
Of course the Scoutmaster will carefully instruct the Scouts how to distinguish
between living and dead timber.
Cooking: winter appetites lend zest. Everybody
likes a place near the fire. Use this in connection with the ax and
Compass Work: in connection with meeting any of the
above, practice compass work in the open, or mark out the principal points of a
mammoth compass on a snowy field, and play the Compass Game. The absence of
trees make winter an ideal time to hold a "compass hike." The Scouts
can fix in their minds certain landmarks to serve as guides in the summer, when
they can no longer see so clearly through the underbrush.
Swimming: select a day when
there is plenty of snow on the ground and demonstrate swimming methods in the
snow. Or hold Patrol Contest races, each Scout "belly whopper" on a
sled, to propel it over a given course, using any swimming strokes he chooses,
and absolutely confining all methods of locomotion to the swimming motions,
taking no undue handhold or foothold upon the snow or ice.
Judging Height and
connection with any of the above activities, practice judging
size, distance, etc. under wintry conditions.
Map Making: surfaces are easily described because they
are more exposed. Although no longer a requirement, this activity gives the Scout a chance to map some thick
woodland that is difficult to explore in summer because of the underbrush or a
Nature Study: trees are
more difficult to study, but they offer the opportunity for many other winter
activities. Scouts should learn to identify trees in the
Study: many birds remain in the north all winter and others come
down from the Arctic regions. Study their appearance and habits, set out feeding
stations near the camp, and try to tame them.
The winter habits of
constellations: the long, clear nights are ideal for star study.
Merit Badge Program has much to stimulate the interest of the winter camper.
Don't overlook this chance for advancement.