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Camping trip ends well after missing Scouts use outdoor skills

by Timothy Martinez Jr.

Few people are more equipped to handle survival situations than Scouts (and, of course, their Scout leaders). So, when a group of young Boy Scouts became lost on a camping trip on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin, I wasn’t the least bit surprised to learn they were found safe and sound.

Sometimes what makes a story notable is the fact that it’s a non-story. It’s pretty easy to think that had these boys been non-Scout members, things could have ended much differently, even if it was simply getting stranded out in the cold for much longer.

Here are the details of the actual story from the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Journal Sentinal:

After a lunch stop, the Scouts portaged their canoes and continued downstream to Sugar River Park. By the time they got to the park, the troop noticed the last two canoes with four 12- to 13-year-old boys from Mendota, Ill., were missing.

The troop waited for half an hour and the boys hadn’t caught up, so the Scout leader and another canoe went back upstream on the winding river to look for them. The Scout leader soon returned to the rest of the troop, thinking the boys may have gotten ahead.

When troop members got to their destination in the Winnebago County Forest Preserve in Illinois where they planned to camp, they realized the boys were still missing and contacted the Winnebago County authorities at 7 p.m.

Once authorities were called, the boys were found safely at 1 a.m. by the side of the river and had made a fire to keep warm. They did exactly what they were supposed to. They stayed in the area where they had gotten lost and made a fire to be spotted more easily and keep warm. Others might have wandered away to find a campsite and might not have had the know-how or capability to make a fire.

Although camping is a fun and relaxing activity, there’s always the risk of something going wrong. Helping the youth engage with nature on a different level is a great way to teach them sensibility and responsibility. That’s why nothing beats the educational value of the Scouts.