Teaching the Girl Scouts How to Snowshoe

John S., Family Ambassador

As a “Family Ambassador” it should come as no surprise that I have kids. The two oldest are both Girl Scouts. Since their Daisy days I’ve been waiting for the signal that we’ll be heading out on scouting expeditions to learn about survival and adventure. But those days never came. Instead, there were lots of crafts and other lessons.

Lucky for them, I don’t give up easily. And I can get large quantities of snowshoes from Tubbs. So come one, come all to an introduction to snowshoeing outing!

I planned a very short, easy trip just over the mountains. We lucked out with what was probably the last mid-elevation snow of the year so instead of rain we were treated to flakes that made everyone’s eyes sparkle. Amidst the falling snow Mrs. Ambassador and I helped the scouts (and some of their siblings) get into snowshoes. Most of them opted for FLEX Jr, but a few of the older kids went with the Storm. The adults were all outfitted in a variety of FLEX models from the TRK to the ALP.

Before we left the parking lot at the base of the mountain there was concern about how snowshoes worked. I anticipated I’d need to give a quick primer on their use, but before I could they were off. The girls led the way and the adults chased after them. No lesson needed. After all, it’s just walking.

Our destination was a small (mostly) frozen lake. In the summer, there are picnic tables and barbecues near the shore, but they were buried under the snow. We found one and set up our “base camp” there.

We talked about the different parts of the snowshoe (one of my Ambassadorial duties) and the dangers they could face in the snow. While I was describing a tree well and how it could trap a snowshoer one of the kids stepped a little too close. I couldn’t have set it up better. The kids took off their snowshoes and postholes a bit, then we dug snow caves. We cheated and used the pre-made void under the picnic table to shorten the exercise.

As we returned to the trailhead, the sun came out for a final lesson. Never forget your sunglasses in the car! We squinted our way back into the trees.

All the kids and adults had a great time and I expect we’ll do it again next year. And even though I have a pretty decent selection of snowshoes in my garage, we couldn’t have done it without Tubbs’ help. We have a virtual merit badge with your name on it!