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ADVISORY Play Safe in the Snow

As winter returns, Scouters’ thoughts turn to sports such as skiing, tobogganing, and sledding, which means it’s also time to review the basics of winter safety. Richard Bourlon, Health and Safety team leader, stresses the danger of collisions in winter sports. “Impacting something else is the leading cause of injury,” Bourlon notes. “It could be another Scout, a leader, hidden debris, or tree stumps.” Bourlon also cautions that inner tubes and saucer-type sleds

are difficult to control. “Steerable sleds have a better safety record than other devices, unless you’re on a course designed for a tube.” Mark Dama, Risk Management team leader, emphasizes appro-


Large Group, Small Footprint

Camping in groups—or sometimes, very large groups—has been part of Scouting’s ethos from the beginning. As BSA continues to integrate the principles of Leave No Trace, there’s a growing awareness that large groups can have a profound impact both on the environment and the camping experience of others. But Ben Lawhon, education director for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in Boulder, Colo., says that just focusing on mere numbers is not enough. “We try to stress it’s not so much the size of the

group; it’s really more the attitude and the knowledge of the group about the impact they have on the envi- ronment,” Lawhon says. Lawhon emphasizes the importance of

knowing the rules and regulations of a given property. For example, if the group size limit is 10, your participants should never congregate in a group larger than 10. As proof that even the largest groups can

leave small footprints, Lawhon cites the yearly Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock desert, touted as the world’s largest Leave No Trace event. “They bring 40,000 people out there, and when they’re gone, you’d never know they’d been there,” he says.

WANTED: READER FEEDBACK Do you have comments on an article appearing in this issue? Or perhaps you’re curious about what other readers are saying. Either way, head to to take a look at letters to the editor we’ve received in response to the Sept.-Oct. issue. You can also share your thoughts on the current edition.


priate personal equipment in winter sports, including helmets required for downhill skiing, snowboarding, and operating snow- mobiles. Scouting does not require helmets for sledding, though the Health and Safety committee is reviewing the matter in light of a tragic accident last year involving Pennsylvania 12-year-old Ian Joshua Miller—known to most as Joshua—who died after his saucer-shaped sled struck a ski-lift tower. Holly Wastler-Miller, Joshua’s mother, advocates that helmets be required during sledding, citing a recent study that reports about 20,000 kids suffer injuries each year in sledding accidents. Before participating in outdoor winter activities, review the Winter Sport Safety guide- lines in the “Guide to Safe Scouting,” found at



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