Scouts show off their survival skills at annual Klondike Derby

Hundreds of Scouts and Pathfinders gathered at a camp near La Barriere Park Saturday to show off race sleighs full of food and supplies through an intricate obstacle course in the forest.

Event tests children's use of tools, teamwork and problem solving

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      Hundreds of Scouts and Pathfinders gathered at a camp near La Barriere Park Saturday to race sleighs full of food and supplies through an intricate obstacle course.

      Teams of six to eight children between 10 and 14 balanced over rope bridges, built makeshift shelters and showed off their knot and fire-lighting skills.

      The course is 2.5 kilometres long and winds its way through valleys and dense forest to wrap up at Camp Amisk headquarters. At the end of the trail, everyone got bags of buttery popcorn and hot chocolate.

      "It's competitive but it's also a fun event," said cub leader and Scouts Canada youth spokesperson Emily Gartner.

      Adults supervise but kids are in charge. Using teamwork they have to figure out how transport themselves and their sleigh through obstacles like inclines and uneven turns, a pulley system over a gully and a rope bridge.

      One of the traditions of the Klondike Derby, in its 47th year, is coming up with unique team names. This year competitors included the Fire-breathing Marshmallows, the Green Stop Signs and Sled Zeppelin, said Gartner.

      "We have two teams of cubs running from my group and we decided to be the Sthipid Gamers [pronounced stupid gamers] and the Blue Taco Cats," she said. "I don't pretend to know their logic."

      You can build anything with a rope and 2 sticks

      The 19-year-old ran this year's lashing station where Scouts tied two staves, or wooden poles, together with a rope. In the past Scouts have made ladders and shelters using the lashing technique.

      On Saturday kids made a travois, a frame structure used for dragging heavier items, and had to use the travois to transport kids pretending to be injured to test first-aid and rescue skills.

      "With lashing it's a survival skill. If you have a rope and you have two sticks you can build anything," Gartner said. "It's a very useful skill, surprisingly.

      On Sunday Scout Canada members will gather again at Camp Amisk to challenge younger cub members. Participants compete for a coveted plaque on a trophy.