Troop 300 survives chilly conditions during Igloo Campout and Klondike Derby

When the going gets tough, the scouts get going.
Well the going was tough on the weekend of Jan. 17 at Camp Wopsy along state Route 253 for the annual Penn Woods Council, Chief Logan District’s annual Igloo Campout and Klondike Derby, but the scouts from Troop 300 in Tyrone were ready and willing and do whatever it took to survive.
“It seems that it gets colder each and every year that we go up there,” said Scoutmaster Pete Kreckel. “But the scouts were prepared and did a fine job in the harsh temperatures.”
With mercury on thermometers reaching under the zero mark, many scouting troops decided not to brave the night on Friday, instead choosing to return on Saturday for the competitions.
But that wasn’t the case for Troop 300.
“One thing our scouts learned was that if they are prepared, they can handle anything,” said Kreckel. “They all handled the cold pretty well. It wasn’t an exercise in discomfort. It was an exercise in preparation and our scouts did a great job in that aspect.”
The troop arrived at amp Wopsy in the dark at 7 p.m. on Jan.. 17 and began pitching their canvas tents. Kreckel said because of the extreme cold weather, the boys scattered a bale of straw and pitched their tents on top.
After huddling around the campfire and swapping stories the scouts and leaders headed off to the bed, wrapping themselves in mummy-style sleeping bags and extra blankets before waking up to a temperature of six below.
“We were cold, but who wouldn’t be,” said Kreckel. “The scouts were well prepared and they knew what they were going to be in for. It was a good time and the kids learned that preparation is the key to make themselves comfortable in an environment like that.”
The morning breakfast consisted of hot chocolate and oatmeal. Kreckel said it was the perfect meal ticket for the days’ upcoming events.
“Proper nutrition is key in those type of conditions,” said Kreckel.
The scouts, along with other local troops from Troop 20 from Church of the Good Shepherd, Troop 1-3 from Bald Eagle United Methodist Church and Troop 104 from Warriors Mark United Methodist Church, had their skills tested at nine various stations and achieved a score of 86 out of a possible 90 points.
These stations tested the scouts’ skills in basic first-aid, knots, an obstacle course, fire building, shooting and archery and lunch preparation on an open fire.
“Our troop really cleaned-up on the fire building,” said Kreckel. “And the lunch they made was pretty good too.”
Kreckel said the boys made foil packs, which contained meat, carrots and potatoes, that were tossed into the fire for cooking.
Perhaps the toughest event was the Klondike sled pull, where scouts were required to pull their sleds through 8-inches of snow in the chilly, mountain air.
“The kids and we scoutmasters had a pretty good time and we’re already looking forward to next year,” said Kreckel. “I think everyone in the troop took a lot from this experience.”
According to Kreckel, one of the most important lessons, excluding the preparation, was the leadership skills.
“Me and Mark (Raffetto Sr., assistant scoutmaster) had to man some of the stations so we had to leave the scouts attend the competitions on their own,” said Kreckel. “We had a couple of older boys that really stepped out and helped things along. I’m sure they took a lot from that experience.”
According to Kreckel, 24 patrols from all over Blair and Bedford counties participated in the event.
“The scouts thoroughly enjoyed the fun and competition of the day, where the most important lesson they learned is that with adequate preparation, any kind of adversity can be handled with a positive attitude,” said Kreckel.