With temperatures hovering in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the weather was unusual for a Boy Scout winter camping experience. However, warm temperatures did not slow down the activities at the 2017 Klondike Derby held at the Frank Childress Scout Reservation the weekend of Feb. 10-12.

With temperatures hovering in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the weather was unusual for a Boy Scout winter camping experience. However, warm temperatures did not slow down the activities at the 2017 Klondike Derby held at the Frank Childress Scout Reservation the weekend of Feb. 10-12.
About 300 young men from the surrounding scout district attended. While they were looking for sunscreen instead of an extra sweater, they were challenged both mentally and physically during Saturday’s events.
Prior to the derby, each scout troop built a sled. They were modeled after the working sleds used in Alaska. The sleds looked like they should be used to haul firewood or 400 pounds of moose meat, instead of being pulled over dusty and rocky Ozark hills.
Some of the sleds had steel runners, and all had rope or cord harnesses for the troop members. Acting in the roles of huskies the scouts pulled the sleds from post to post. There were 15 posts that challenged both the scouts’ leadership and physical skills.
Some of the posts required the use of the sleds, such as the post called “Kodiak.” At Kodiak, the scouts had to mount a platform with their sled. The platform was laying over a huge log. The scouts had to balance themselves and the sled so no part of the platform touched the ground. It was like crossing a narrow ice bridge.
Other challenges, such as the "Anchorage" snow ski stop, did not require a sled. Here, four scouts stood on two 2x4’s which had small ropes attached. By holding the ropes, the four had to work in unison to walk down a slight knoll and back without any part of their body ever touching the ground.  
To do so, the leader had to call a cadence. He would call “Right! Lift! Down!” and then “Left! Lift! Down!” The four scouts worked in unison, like marching in perfect step, all tied to one ski.
Although they did not have to walk in unison very far, this was a physically demanding stop that taught teamwork.
Another post was “Porthole,” where each member had to go through a porthole (tire) while wearing blindfolds. The leader was not blindfolded and had to guide his “blind” comrades through the porthole to safety.
The scouts also shot .22 rifles, started fires with flint and ball, tossed tomahawks, splinted a broken leg, and had archery competition.
Mark Thompson, scout leader of Troop 55, said, “These courses make the young men physically strong and teach them leadership. They are taught that following the leader makes each task easier.”
He added, “The best leaders are also the best followers.”
Aaron McCully, scout leader of Troop 34, agreed that the events were a “good challenge” for the scouts.
Besides the 15 challenging posts, the scouts also had opening and award ceremonies. They set up and slept in tents and sat around campfires. This year, though, they did not need to fight the sometimes below zero temperatures that usually accompany the winter Boy Scout derby.
Most of the boys and their leaders were wearing real sweat, not sweatshirts.