Scouts preparing to hit the trail to the campsite.
Photo by Nathan Hermsmeyer and Bill Florence
Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 1849 from Springfield recently enjoyed its annual Freeze-o-ree campout at Catoctin Mountain Park, Md. With temperatures in the low 20s during the day and nighttime low of 5 degrees and a wind-chill of minus 15, fourteen stalwart Scouts - some as young as 11 years of age - and 12 adults embraced the challenge. Troop 1849 has been doing this mid-winter campout at Catoctin Mountain Park nearly every winter for over 30 years. The Troop enjoys the beauty and unique challenges of this mountain location (no water on site) as well as the elevation resulting in temperatures at least 10-15 degrees colder than the Springfield area. Attesting to the severity of this challenge, Troop 1849 rarely encounters other BSA Troops during these winter outings. Scouts learned woodcraft, navigation, and cooking skills, but the big hit was the homemade donuts provided under the guidance of Assistant Scoutmaster Bill Florence. All participants received a special Polar Bear Freeze-o-ree winter camping patch. Troop 1849 is sponsored by Saint Andrews Episcopal Church, 6509 Sydenstricker Rd, Burke and Steve Kmiecik is the Scoutmaster.