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Scouting: Winter Games


This article is from the Scouting FAQ, by Bill Nelson nelsonb@nospam.aztec.asu.edu, Soaring Golden Eagle eagle@rangernet.org and Alan Houser troop24@emf.net with numerous contributions by others.

Scouting: Winter Games


Native American winter game, reached highest levels of sophistication
among the nations and tribes near the Great Lakes. Seneca tribe of the
Iroquois Nation called it Gawasa, I believe. (Also the name of the
oldest winter training program in the BSA I believe, now well over 50.
In the Land of the Oneidas council upstate New York)

On a long, 1/4 mile or more , level surface, build a long pile of
snow, 2 feet high, 2 feet wide. This will occupy a winter camporee of
about 100 scouts for an hour or so. Make a V shaped trough in the
pile, smooth and ice it thoroughly.

All contestants have previously carved a snow snake. It should be 5 to
7 feet long, about 1 1/2 inches high at the 2 to 4 inch long head. The
eyes of the snake are where it is weighted. The snake should never be
wider than 3/4 inch and is usually only a 1/2 inch high, behind the
head. The bottom is rounded, the top, behind the head is flat. The
underside of the head should curve up like a ski. Decorations and
carvings should be done on the non-sliding surfaces.

The snow snake is held in the throwing hand with the index finger at
the end of the snake, like a sling. The snake is supported with the
non throwing hand during a running head start. The arm movement is a
crass between a baseball side-arm pitch and a bowling delivery.

Using these directions, at the defunct Iroquois Council's 1973 Gawasa,
a 14 year old scout threw a snow snake more than 1/4 mile down the
trough. I have seen the Huron Nation build troughs on Lake Michigan
over 3 miles long, and one year saw a television report of a Huron
throwing a snow snake over 2 miles down a trough (about 1978).

The younger scouts get really impressed when they see what they are
capable of.


I have seen all sorts of things done at winter camps, and while I have
no specific suggestions as to games, there are variations you can use
on other sports/games, such as: Golf (use tennis balls coffee cans and
expect to lose a few balls), volleyball (careful, the ball gets quite
hard, but playing this game knee or waist deep in powder is not to be
missed.), campfire building and so on. As I type this I remember
building kitchen areas with tables and seats by digging into the snow.
Wide games are a lot of fun in the snow (see other thread) and I
imagine "stalker" would be trickier on snowshoes... One winter camp
here in BC (Rovent for you BC'ers who have seen a lot of this before)
also features a gateway contest and snow-sculpture contest.

In general I think that you can do a lot of things at a winter camp
that you can do in the summer, you just have to remember to stay dry.
One final note, Hot Chocolate tastes GREAT at -20 C!!! Enjoy!


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