Cold doesn#8217;t stop Boy Scouts

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 3, 2008

For most living in Lawrence County, it was too cold to venture out for more than to get the morning paper off the front walk a couple of weekends ago.

But that weather didn’t deter 145 Boy Scouts from Lawrence, Scioto and Adams counties plus Maysville, Ky., from coming out to the latest camp out adventure called an “Okpik.” That’s the Inuit word for snow owl that is used by the Boy Scouts as the name for their winter base in Minnesota.

Starting on Friday, Jan. 18 after school until that Sunday, these Scouts and leaders including 60 from Lawrence added to their skills that weekend.

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“The goal is to give them more confidence in the outdoors, especially in the winter,” explained Phil Malone, Tecumseh District Commissioner. “We provide them with a safe environment to learn what their personal limits are in camping in temperatures ranging from 35 to 0.”

Basic classwork took up most of Saturday morning, but in the afternoon the Scouts got to show off their competitive skills in a variety of tests.

But it was the camping that the boys really came for.

“They like the fact that it is a challenge,” Malone said. ”It is a special brotherhood. They suffer whatever the weather throws at us.”

The choice of “lodges” depended on the boys, who could pick either cabins or tents, to which are added layers of cloths. The Scouts had to add layers to themselves as well, putting on fleece and wool before they got into their sleeping bags.

“It’s really more comfortable than a cabin,” Malone said.

All this happened in Camp Oyo, deep in the Shawnee Forest, Ohio’s largest forestland. The land came from what was once known as Roosevelt’s Game Preserve so named for President Theodore Roosevelt, known for his love of hunting and the outdoors.

No matter what the weather brings this weekend’s event is definitely warmer. It’s Scout Sunday, where Scouts attend church in uniform.

“A Scout is reverent to God,” Malone said. “Scouting is not specific faith-oriented. It’s respect for all religions.”