Posts Tagged ‘sledding’

It is winter in Minnesota. That means it is time for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 to spend a weekend at Camp Stearns for their annual winter outing. It is a tradition that began over 15 years ago.

Seven Members of Troop 68 attended the weekend outing near Fairhaven this year, along with two adult leaders. They left Melrose January 20th, a foggy Friday night, and returned on a much less foggy Sunday morning. The forecast for the weekend was for the weather to be damp and above freezing, which was not the best forecast for a winter activity.

The Troop had reserved the Whitewater Lodge which allowed them to have a warm, dry place to sleep and relax. Their schedule would keep the Scouts outside for a good portion of the weekend. Their are plenty of activities at Camp Stearns if a troop decides to take advantage of them.

Once the Troop had checked in with the camp master, and the Scouts had unpacked the gear, it was time to do a little exploring. The first stop was at the quartermaster’s building to check on gear. The next stop was the sledding hill. Camp Stearns has a great sledding hill which has lights for evening fun. The Scouts were hoping that there would be enough snow on the hillside after the warm weather we had had during the past week. There was plenty of snow. The boys went back to their Lodge, changed clothes, and had fun sledding before calling it a night.

The Troop had a full schedule Saturday morning which included time older Scouts helping the newer members work on their advancement. Most of the boys participated in an orienteering course and hike. Then it was back to the sledding hill for another hour of racing down the hillside.

Camp Stearns has two nine-hole disc golf courses so you can probably guess where the Troop spent a portion of the afternoon. They discovered it takes longer to play a round in the winter time because it takes longer to find the thrown discs in the foot deep snow. The Scouts did not mind. They were having too much fun playing the game and talking smack at each other.

After supper, the boys had a short religious service and relaxed with a game of Catan and a movie. They also had the chance to surprise their Scoutmaster on his birthday with a song and cupcakes baked by one of the boy’s mother.

The Troop was on their way home by 9:00 Sunday morning after a quick breakfast and cleanup of the building. Plans were already being discussed for next year’s trip to Camp Stearns.

The weather forecast did not give the impression that this month’s troop activity would be much of a winter outing. The temperature had been above freezing for most of the week. A lot of the snow cover had already melted before we left for camp on the evening of Friday, March 18. The forecast for Saturday had temps in the mid 40’s, with rain Saturday night into Sunday morning. It was looking like the Boy Scouts would have to change a few of their planned activities.

The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 arrived at Camp Stearns about 7:30 Friday night. Five deer greeted us as we rode through the camp. The campmaster surprised us when he told us that the sledding hill was still open, but that is was very icy. The boys were happy to hear they could use the hill because that was one of the highlights of the weekend.

We did not have much daylight left when we arrived at camp so we quickly unpacked the vehicles and walked to the sledding hill to check out the snow conditions. They hill was still snow covered but it was extremely icy. The Scouts were able to slide down the hill on their belly, without the use of any sleds. They looked like a group of penguins. They returned later in the evening, after organizing their gear, with sleds for a proper sledding activity. The evening ended with the boys watching the movie “Dragonheart” in the lodge.

The older Boy Scouts worked with the younger Scouts on their advancement requirements Saturday morning. After lunch, the boys picked up snowshoes and frisbees from the camp staff, and walked to the disc golf course. A couple of deer greeted the Scouts on the fourth hole. The troop usually plays nine holes while at Camp Stearns, but since the broomball field was a mud pit, they decided to play the entire eighteen holes. This was the first time that many of the Scouts had worn snowshoes so that added a new experience to the game.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with rest, relaxation, and board games. Following a supper of steak, potatoes, and corn, the Scouts went back to the softened sledding hill for another hour of fun. The evening finished with the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.

The troop awoke before 7:00 Sunday morning. By 8:30 am they had finished breakfast, had packed their gear, and had loaded the vehicles. It was time to go home and relax from a fun filled weekend.

100 Days of Scouting: Days 39-41.