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WHY WINTER CAMP?

WHAT ARE THE RISKS? (RISK ADVISORY)

HOW DO I PREVENT PROBLEMS?

WHAT ARE THE POLICIES?

OTHER GENERAL INFORMATION

WHY WINTER CAMP?

Many people do not know how to enjoy the winter, finding it an unpleasant season to be survived only by the grace of the hefty insulation of a house. However, for the initiated, winter is one of the best seasons to be outdoors.

For those intrepid enough to brave the icy conditions, greater solitude awaits. The crowds of the summer ebb out, and lakes become quiet and intimate. One doesn’t hear the hum of the bugs in the winter (some claim the lack of mosquitoes is the best part of winter). Instead there are the howling of the wolves and the silence of the snow-dampened wilderness.

New activities abound in the winter and permit access to areas of the wilderness that are rarely visited in the summer. At OKPIK, scouts snowshoe over swamps and bogs, cross-country ski on our groomed trail system, dogsled far out into the wilderness or build their own warm, insulating structure out of snow. Almost everyone tries something new at OKPIK – and almost everyone develops a new fascinating and thrilling skill.

We believe that every participant in our OKPIK program will be entranced by the glittering light of the sun on the snow, of the brilliance of the night stars, by the clear cut tracks of the moose and wolf and by the simplicity and quietude of the still winter world. The OKPIK program is designed to introduce anyone to these joys, and to teach them how to thrive in perfect comfort as they navigate the exciting challenges of winter camping.

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WHAT ARE THE RISKS? (RISK ADVISORY)

The Northern Tier National High Adventure Programs have an outstanding safety record. The Boy Scouts of America and Northern Tier emphasize safety through education and strict adherence to established policies and procedures. The safety of your group is dependent upon your attention to these procedures as well as being physically fit, properly equipped and trained for the rigors of cold weather camping.

Northern Tier and the Boy Scouts of America’s policies and procedures, if followed, will minimize these risks as much as possible. Parents, leaders and participants should be advised that despite our best attempts at risk management, it is not possible to remove ALL risk from a cold weather wilderness expedition.

• Possible risks include (but are not limited to) motor vehicle accidents; severe weather conditions such as extreme cold temperatures and high winds; medical conditions such as heart attack, appendicitis, hypothermia, dehydration, frost bite, severe allergies and asthma or diabetes related conditions; accidents such as cuts, embedded fish hooks, burns or falls; risks associated with being on frozen lakes and encounters with wildlife.

• Medical evacuations and search and rescue services are coordinated by Northern Tier in close cooperation with local authorities.

• Please carefully read the information in this OKPIK Advisor Planning Guide and share it with your crew(s), leaders and parents. If you have any further questions about risk management contact Northern Tier by phone 218.365.4811 or email info@ntier.org

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HOW DO I PREVENT PROBLEMS?

• KNOW FIRST AID - Make sure your crew is trained in First Aid and carries the required first aid kit. At least one advisor in each crew must be currently certified in CPR and Wilderness First Aid.

• PURIFY ALL DRINKING WATER - All water from natural sources must be purified by bringing it to a rolling boil or through use of a water purification filter. Chemical treatments are less effective in the cold.

• TOBACCO - It is strongly suggested that adult participants limit the use of tobacco on the trail. Smoking is not permitted in the presence or vicinity of youth, tents, Northern Tier buildings, BSA vehicles or near maintenance areas; only in designated areas on base.

• ALCOHOL AND DRUGS - Possession or use of alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs or the misuse of prescribed drugs is prohibited. Groups or individuals found in violation of this National BSA policy will be sent home, as arranged with the council office or parent.

• ABUSE - Physical, sexual or emotional abuse (including hazing) of a camper by his or her peers or by an adult leader is unacceptable anywhere. Local, county and state authorities as well as the BSA council representative will be contacted if abuse is suspected.

• PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND MEDICATION - If an advisor or crew member is on regular medication, their physician should be consulted. Be sure to consult your physician to determine the effect cold weather may have on your medications (i.e. inhalers or epinephrine) or effects your medications may have on you in cold-weather conditions.

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WHAT ARE THE POLICIES?

ADULT LEADERSHIP - A minimum of two adults (one of which must be at least 21 years of age and registered with the BSA) is required for each crew. There are no gender restrictions for leadership except for co-ed Venturing crews, which must have both male and female leadership 21 years old or older. All youth participants in the WOW (WEBELOS OKPIK Weekend) Program are required to have a parent/guardian partner.

ADULT LEADERSHIP TRAINING – All adult participants are required to present proof of BSA Youth Protection training upon arrival at Northern Tier. At least one adult in each crew must have proof of current CPR, Wilderness First Aid and Weather Hazards training. WOW crews may substitute First Aid training for Wilderness First Aid.

BSA HEALTH AND MEDICAL RECORDS – All Northern Tier participants must present a current (within one year of the end date of your trip) BSA Health and Medical Record, signed by a doctor, upon arrival to base. Youth must have a parent or guardian signature as well.

YOUTH PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS - All youth must be registered as a WEBELOS (WOW only), Boy Scout, Varsity Scout or Venturer.

AGE REQUIREMENTS – Age requirements vary for each OKPIK program option.

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OTHER GENERAL INFORMATION

CAMPERSHIPS – Youth with extenuating financial circumstances who are participating in an OKPIK program may apply for funding assistance to attend OKPIK. Camperships. The completed application form(s) and other required documents must be returned by mail to Northern Tier no later than November 15. The camperships are reviewed in November with notification given to the crew advisor prior to the final crew payment due date.

INSURANCE - Northern Tier fees include accident and sickness insurance coverage. This applies for your travel to and from the Northern Tier base as well as your Northern Tier Expedition. This policy is secondary to a family policy. All participants with family insurance should include the insurance company name and policy number on their BSA Health and Medical Record form and should also submit a copy of the insurance card with the medical form. A BSA Camper's Accident and Sickness Insurance pamphlet will be sent in the Advisor packet.

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About Northern Tier

Come to Northern Tier for a whole new level of adventure, up north! From incredible canoe journeys to wild winter wilderness camping, Northern Tier promises the Scouting adventure of a lifetime in the Great North Woods of northern Minnesota and Canada.