I started downhill skiing when I was a Scout. I made my own snowshoes as an Explorer. Ten years later, as a Scoutmaster, I took up cross country skiing. Scouting was my excuse to go out and enjoy winter sports.
Last January, we posted a Safety Share on Winter Activity Safety. Since temperatures are dropping throughout the country, it’s a good time to review these procedures again. After all, with Christmas coming, Scouts and Venturers will be asking for new equipment to engage in winter sports. Both camping and outdoor activities present a risk you should PAUSE to think about.
BSA has this to say regarding activity safety: Beyond camping, a number of cold-weather activities present challenges to Scouts and leaders, such as alpine or cross-country skiing, ice skating, sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and snowshoeing. Essential ingredients for fun include skill training and an awareness of the hazards unique to these activities.
Here are a few key points that can help you be safe while having fun during your winter activities outdoors:
- Activities should be supervised by mature and conscientious adults.
- Participants should be aware of the potential dangers of any winter sport, and leaders should stress incident prevention by explaining proper techniques.
- Help participants understand the need for using appropriate personal protective equipment such as helmets for sledding, snowboarding, skiing, and snowmobiles. Be sure you follow local and federal regulations regarding the operating age or training for snowmobile use.
- Winter sports are more physically demanding. Leaders and youth should be physically fit and capable to participate.
- Be sure equipment fits each person properly.
- During sledding, make sure the hill is safe and free of obstacles. Keep sledding paths and participant return paths separate from each other.
- Talk about and gain support for the basic rules for the activity … before it begins.
- Skating merit badge pamphlet
- Snow Sports merit badge pamphlet
- Guide to Safe Scouting
- BSA’s Scouting Safely