It sounds like a chapter from the Worst Case Scenario handbook, but for children living in Rim country, knowing how to survive the night in a snow-covered forest could mean the difference between life and death.
Nearly 100 Boy Scouts, leaders and parents participated in the 2004 Klondike Winter Camp-out on the Mogollon Rim last weekend.
"The purpose of the Klondike is to give boys the opportunity to demonstrate their Boy Scout skills in severe weather conditions such as snow, wind and extreme temperatures," said Roger Kreimeyer, local Boy Scout Commissioner and camp director. "There have been numerous examples in the news of boys being lost in winter forests but who were able to survive because of their scout training."
Some of the skills learned in scouting include constructing a snow shelter, building a fire in wet conditions, using a compass, first aid, rope skills, marksmanship and handling knives and axes.
During the 2004 Klondike, most of the boys slept in tents on 10 inches of snow. But Kreimeyer said some of the boys took the polar bear challenge.
"We had several boys who actually built and slept in snow shelters," Kreimeyer said. "These are basically cave-like structures built with snow. They actually keep you quite warm."
But Kreimeyer says survival skills aren't the only things scouts are learning.
"These boys are facing a world where character and leadership skills are vital," he said. "They are learning to provide service and build a better nation."
Boys ages 11 to 16 can contact Kreimeyer for placement in a local Zane Grey District Boy Scout troop. Call (928) 468-1365.