Published On: Wed, Jan 29th, 2014

Boy Scouts brave frigid temps in Cranberry Wilderness

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A National Guardsman with the 2nd Battalion 19th Special Forces Group shows Boy Scout Troop 289 of Madison how to build a fire with limited materials during the Winter Camporee last weekend. S. Stewart photo

A National Guardsman with the 2nd Battalion 19th Special Forces Group shows Boy Scout Troop 289 of Madison how to build a fire with limited materials during the Winter Camporee last weekend. S. Stewart photo

Nothing tests survival skills better than freezing temperatures, several feet of snow and no cell phone service.

Boy Scout Troop 289 of Madison and Troop 31 of Charleston held the annual Winter Camporee at Cranberry Glades last weekend where scouts learned how to survive in the frigid wilderness.

On Saturday, three members of the 2nd Battalion 19th Special Forces Group of the National Guard spent the day teaching the scouts to build a fire, shelter building and other survival skills.

“We spent an hour on hypothermia and winter-time injuries and then one of the national guardsman built a fire with natural materials, and showed them how to do it,” Troop 289 leader Chip Shaffer, of Madison, said. “Their challenge is to do what he did with the same materials.”

The national guardsmen also demonstrated several types of emergency shelters including a tree fall and lean-to.

The weekend also included entertaining events like a hot chocolate relay and cardboard sled challenge. Plans to have a hunt for the abominable snowman were canceled because the GPS trackers did not work under the cloudy weather conditions.

The Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America holds camporees or jamborees every season and has had several camporees in Pocahontas County during the winter and spring.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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