Just before the turn of the last century, gold prospectors used dog sleds to travel the sub-zero reaches of Alaska. Because they often camped out in harsh winter weather they needed exceptional survival skills.
The Boy Scouts of America have incorporated this theme into the annual Klondike Derby. This winter adventure requires scouts to put their scouting skills to work in the field, and demonstrate teamwork and scout spirit, and to have fun outdoors on winter days.
Scout patrols act as huskies and pull specially designed homemade sleds through woods and fields, up and down hills, and stop at different activity stations where they must demonstrate a variety of scouting skills.
This year’s Cape and Island’s Council KlondikeDerby was held on January 20 and 21 at Camp Greenough in Yarmouth in tough winter conditions. The derby incorporated nine separate scout challenges.
Martha’s Vineyard Troop 91, the “Spartan Patrol,” was accompanied by two scouts from Troop 2 in Yarmouth toform a sled team. After camping out in 16-degree weather, the team pulled its sled through six hours of trials while a winter storm dumped eightinches of snow.
Throughout the day the Spartans embraced the spirit of their patrol yell: “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome!”
The Spartans finished first overall in a field of 13 participating troops. The team also received the Mayor’s Award for First Aid and Rescue skills.
Troop 91 is sponsored by American Legion Post 257 in Vineyard Haven.
Jamie Craig is scoutmaster of Troop 91. For more information on the Vineyard scouting program, contact Ewell Hopkins at 508-696-0943. The Times welcomes contributions to community news. (firstname.lastname@example.org).