With Alaska's temperatures dropping well below zero, many children can find themselves in hibernation during the winter months as their swing sets and go cart trails are covered in snow.
For a group of Boy Scouts who teamed up with Fort Wainwright Soldiers, waiting for the snow and ice breakup was not an option.
The Tanana Valley District Boy Scouts participated in a cold weather training session run by Soldiers from C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, March 11 - 13 at the Lost Lake Boy Scouts Camp on Fort Wainwright.
Their training focused on how to properly dress in extreme cold weather, provide first aid and how to build improvised snow shelters, also known as Quincies.
"It's important for the kids to understand the dangers of living in an arctic environment, but it's also important that they understand that with the proper clothing and training they can still go outside and be comfortable," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Fernandez, of 6th Squadron 17 Cavalry regiment, who is a volunteer Scout leader for Troop 6 Fort Wainwright. "It sets them up with the tools to be successful."
The Executive Director of the Boy Scouts of America Midnight Sun Council Clifford Crismore knows firsthand how important the cold weather training is to the Boy Scouts.
Crismore remembers an Idaho scout who, while snow machining, went off the back side of a mountain. For three days the boy used the skills learned through a Boy Scouts cold weather training class to make his way back to the top of the mountain. He said having the Soldiers share their expertise and cold weather training was valuable not only to the Scouts but to the council.
"It's been a huge help," Crismore said. "We wouldn't have had the money to pay someone to come in and give the same type of training."
Although the classes were designed to benefit the Scouts, many of the Soldiers, who volunteered, benefited as well.
"We had a lot of fun," Pfc. Xeev Yang, C Company. 2-8 Field Artillery said."It feels good to go out into the community and make a difference."
Soldiers looking to volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America can contact their local troop for any upcoming events, Crismore said. "We are always looking for volunteers." Although the Boy Scouts of America has a wide range of volunteer activities, it also has programs, such as Operation Purple, designed to help Soldiers.
The program aims to help children cope with the deployment of a parent by offering a variety of outdoor activities in a camp-like environment, said Sheri Crismore, director of the Midnight Sun Council's Outdoor Program.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16