Scouts Canada, the country’s leading youth organization, offers challenging programs for boys, girls and youth age 5-26 in thousands of individual groups in most cities and towns across Canada.
Day 3: Scoutcraft Skills
Rover Scout, Youth Spokesperson
Getting outdoors is one of the main components of Scouting but it also comes with its own set of risks and challenges. Minimizing the risks and being prepared for whatever your adventure brings will help everyone have the best experience they can! Learning simple Scoutcraft Skills can minimize risks and help your Section, Group or family experience great, safe Scouting adventures.
Check out the below Scoutcraft tips to help you experience safe outdoor adventures:
Make sure you inspect your campsite before you set up, and don’t forget to look high and low! When camping in forests, inspect the tree cover for any dead branches that could fall if blown by a heavy wind. Try and pick a campsite with an established fire pit, and check for tripping hazards around the campfire area. If they’re calling for rain, think about where the water could collect.
Clothing and Gear
Having the right type of gear can make or break a trip. Different materials have different characteristics which should be considered when packing. Cotton is comfortable but doesn’t dry quickly or wick moisture which can leave you feeling cold and wet. Other materials such as wool, polyester and other synthetics are better suited to outdoor adventures.
Your gear is important too! Having gear that is suitable to your adventure can make the trip easier. Test things before you use them – buying a new pair of backpacking shoes before a hiking trip could result in blisters and uncomfortable feet if you don’t break them in first.
If you’re not sure if your gear or clothing is suitable for the type of activities you have planned, try asking a local expert at ScoutShop or book a Gear Night – a free service provided by the ScoutShop for Groups or Sections interested in learning more about great gear.
When cooking on stoves, make sure you inspect them before lighting to ensure no damage occurred during transport. If cooking on the fire, don’t forget that the handles may have heated up too. Consider using cookware with non-conductive handles or keeping oven mitts in your gear box. Keep a fire extinguisher next to your stoves and water next to your fire in case something happens.
Be mindful of how you store your food while camping. Wildlife could be attracted to your campsite if scraps are left around. Make sure all your food is secured if your campsite is empty or if everyone is in bed. Food can be stored in bear resistant barrels, or strung between trees in a pack.
Make sure your first aid kit is well stocked and includes things that might be appropriate for your activities. Insect after bite and sun products are useful things to add in summer months; hand warmers are useful in the winter months. Make sure you have lots of band aids before hiking trips and make sure everyone is aware of what is in the first aid kid and where it’s located. Make sure you have people on your trip that have first aid training. If planning a backcountry adventure, consider having at least two people take a wilderness first aid course.
Wilderness Survival and Orienteering
Knowing how to survive in the wilderness in case something happens is important. Consider how you’d find shelter, water and food. Tarps, ropes, matches, food and water filtration devices can make being lost less dangerous.
Leave a copy of your trip plans (including campsites, travel routes and anticipated start end dates) with someone responsible at home so people know where you should be and when you’re supposed to be back.
Familiarize yourself with the area by looking at maps, looking for unique landscape features, and reviewing which trail markers you’re supposed to be following. Consider packing a GPS and having a communication device (such as a cell phone or a satellite phone) to get help if needed.
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