Winterness Survival Campout


Identifier: 20050129-WinterCamping
Purpose of outing: Winter Camping
Advancements: 10 Mile Hike (Hiking MB), Compass/Orient Map/Map Symbols (second class requirement), 1 Mile Orienteering Course (1st class requirement), Camping
Mode of travel: Car
Planning horizon: Weeks
Capacity: 14 youth, 8 adults
Fees: $25 campsite fee ($1 per participant) and grubmaster costs
Distance: 10 mi, 30 min
Location: Ft Belvoir Camping Area
Contact: Troop 1501
Dates: 2005-01-29 - 2005-01-30
Description: This is the second campout we’ve been to in the past year at Ft Belvoir. The camping area is set in back of the exchange/commissary and is rustic and wooded. There is a composting toilet and water outlet within an easy walk. Open fires are allowed with a fire permit from the base fire station, though there is not a great deal of downed wood available, we ended up bringing some in and suggest that for future campouts. This was a one-night campout, which was just as well as the temperature got down into the single digits Friday night and then warmed up considerably Saturday. Some of the younger boys might have had difficulty with too low temperatures, though we did have light rain/sleet Sat evening and heavy ice weighing down the flies and tents by reveille Sun morning. We met at the church at 0700 Sat AM and were at the campsite by 0830. Return was Sunday to the church by 1030. The theme for the outing was “Winterness Survival”, with main events being a 10 mile hike, orienteering, firebuilding, and shelter building. All were accomplished with the exception of shelter building. The boys were largely split in two groups between the hike and map/compass/firebuilding instruction, which together took up a large part of the day. Adults taught map/compass fundamentals while adults and older youth set up a 1 mile orienteering course for those boys who did not go on the hike. Other adults led the 10 mile hike.
Assessment: 1. Ft Belvoir continues to be a good close location for a light weekend campout. Lots of woods and an open field for sports and play. 2. A campfire was held Sat night, but there was not a lot of enthusiasm for skits/songs. The campfire area was not ideal and weather probably played a role. 3. The shelter building idea is a good one, and with some pioneering practice (which the boys have had lately) and more careful planning, it could still be a good main activity to build an outing around and help the boys meet partial requirements for the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge. 4. For many of the boys, this was a first 10 mile hike and they definitely seemed to feel a sense of accomplishment on their return. 5. "Winterness Survival" is an example of a game with a purpose, invented by an Eagle Scout of Troop 1501 in 2003. The game combines "Wilderness Survival" with "Winter Camping"; Scouts learning skills in tough circumstances so they can thrive with pride, knowing they've been there and done that.