The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

January 27, 2013

Winter warriors: Boy Scouts Winter Camporee at Burning Rock

What they had to do for a Klondike derby

— Tony Wheby, Sophia scout master and derby organizer, explained that Klondike derbies are a traditional winter scouting event that highlights many of the skills scouts learn throughout the year.

A team of scouts must first create their own Iditarod-style sled, and the boys both pull and push the sled through a long course,

stopping to compete at 10 timed stations.

At the first station, the boys had to throw a rope around a log at 45 feet and pull it toward them where they then used a two-man saw to cut off a portion.

They then had to load a piece of the log onto their sled and continued on.

George Lechalk, scout master with Troop 179 in Fayetteville, explained that many of the exercises have a practical application.

“If someone were to break through the ice on a pond somewhere, someone would need to be able to throw a coiled rope to them,” he said.

Wheby explained that other exercises in the derby included lashing together a ladder to be able to climb a tree and ring a bell, start a fire and burn through a rope using only one match, and build a stretcher from a wool blanket and return an “injured” team member back to the finish line.

Wheby commented that some of the tasks that seem easiest for the team have been trickier while the boys were able to quickly complete other, more difficult tasks.

“You really never know how well they are going to do,” he said.

Among other surprises throughout the day, Wheby was surprised many of the modern-day scouts showed such proficiency with a two-man saw.

It’s hard to imagine spending a weekend camping in snow on frozen ground and dragging a sled around a course for 90 minutes, but Seneca District chairman Doug Proctor said these Winter Camporees give the boys “an appreciation of Mother Nature in winter.”

“The boys need to be out to experience the hard times as well as the easy times. Winter camping is just a different beast,” added Lechalk.

Wheby said he hopes the scouts will take away the understanding that physical activity and scouting are year-round.

“We are blessed to live in this wonderful state, and it has been part of my goal to get scouts to understand they can get out in January in snow and be physically active just as easily as they can in summer camp in June or July,” he said.

Most of all, Wheby said the Klondike derby, which became a popular scouting activity in the 1950s, is a team effort.

“They have to work as a team. It is not designed for one scout to complete. They have to work with each other’s individual skills and come together and make decisions along the track,” he added.

Proctor said the scouts would compete in a chili cook-off later Saturday evening.

“After that we will have a closing campfire and the kids will perform different skits and then hopefully they will snuggle down warm and sleep for the night,” added Lechalk.

The troops participating in the weekend Camporees at Burning Rock are Troop 75, Sophia; Troop 91, Mount Hope; Troop 1055, Beckley; and Troop 179, Fayetteville.

Webelos from Montgomery and Ghent were also attending.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • rock VIdeo: Experts dislodge precariously perched remnant of a rockslide

    A highly-trained crew in climbing gear hoisted chainsaws and other specialized equipment high above the road in Hinton Tuesday morning to remove a boulder that hung precariously above a busy intersection.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Preliminary hearing set for Bluefield ‘warlock’

    A Bluefield man who police say used a promise of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him remains incarcerated at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver on multiple sexual assault and sexual abuse charges.

    April 23, 2014

  • New River Gorge fire still burning

    Firefighters are still trying to control the fire at Fern Creek along the Endless Wall area of the New River Gorge, according to a press release from the National Park Service on Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • fff Experts help growing entrepreneurs

    John Yates wants to grow potatoes to supply Monroe County schools.
    He’s got a business plan, he can get the equipment and 3 tons of seed potatoes. The land for lease in Sweet Springs is farther from his Ballard home than he’d like, but with a little help, the active duty Army staff sergeant and his sister Rebecca are ready to begin.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rahall calls meeting on W.Va.’s drug problem

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall says he has arranged a roundtable discussion with federal and West Virginia officials on the state’s prescription drug abuse and trafficking problems.

    April 23, 2014

  • Arch Coal reports wider 1Q loss

    Arch Coal Inc. said Tuesday that its first-quarter loss widened as weaker prices and demand cut into its margins, prompting the mine operator to shave its outlook for shipments of coal used in making steel.

    April 22, 2014

  • Former Concord University police officer sentenced on sex charge involving juvenile

    A former Concord University police officer was sentenced Tuesday to a term of 10 to 20 years in prison on a single count of sexual abuse by a parent or custodian.

    April 22, 2014

  • Bly6bH3CYAA6Xdl.jpg-large.jpeg UPDATE: Ill. crew helps fight New River Gorge fire

    An Illinois-based firefighting crew has joined the effort to contain a wildfire in the New River Gorge National River.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thunderstorms, showers heading our way

    Today’s forecast lurches us a little further toward real spring weather, with scattered showers and thunderstorms possible after 2 p.m.

    April 22, 2014

  • State spring gobbler season to open next week

    The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says spring gobbler season will open Monday and run through May 24.

    April 22, 2014