During the recent Christmas break, Venturers of St. Paul’s LCMS Venturing Crew 1785 teamed up with Scouts of Mt. Zion UMC’s Scouts BSA Troop 1785, both of Mechanicsville, to head out to the Boy Scouts of America’s Northern Tier High Adventure Base in Ely, MN for a week of winter fun.
Originally planned for 2020 but rescheduled for 2021 due to the Maryland Governor’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, the crew of youth and adult advisors finally got to experience a variety of winter sports and activities out on the snow-covered forests and lakes of the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area, a mere six miles from the Canadian border. Scouts enjoyed snowshoeing, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, building and sleeping in quinzees (a kind of snow shelter), ice fishing, downhill sledding and broom ball iduring BSA’s Okpik Holiday Stay program. ‘Okpik’ is an Inuit word for snowy owl.
Temperatures bottomed out at -32F overnight one night and there were two continuous days where they remained below zero. Participants all brought basic cold weather clothing and gear and were outfitted with additional excellent heavy-weight cold weather clothing, gear and high energy food by the staff at Northern Tier to enable us to “Be Prepared” for the conditions.
After nearly two years of planning and fundraising, everyone was excited to finally realize the fruits of their labor and see in the new year on an adventure. “Cold but very fun. We didn’t feel cold because of what we did,” said Scout Brice M.. Scout John O. enthused “It was awesome to be out in such extreme weather. I want to go back next winter and work there.”