Scouts get lessons in teamwork, survival


March 3, 2023

Jana Peterson

Jonah, Oliver, Keith, Daniel, Grady and Finn of Superior's Troop 221 practice walking on thick ski-like planks in groups of three during Sunday's Beargrease Derby at the Cloquet Forestry Center. It takes teamwork.

It was easy to tell which group hadn't been to the Beargrease Derby before, as two sets of scouts made their way down the trail on three-person skis. It was the group that kept falling over that was obviously new to the exercise in teamwork.

All six scouts were part of Troop 221 out of Superior, but at opposite ends of the age spectrum. Finn, Grady and Jonah were the youngsters. Teenagers Oliver, Daniel and Keith had been there before, and had mostly mastered the art of walking in unison on skis.

The Superior group was one of more than a dozen teams of scouts from northern Minnesota and Wisconsin that descended upon the Cloquet Forestry Center Sunday for a day of teamwork and building winter camping skills.

Jana Peterson

Members of a Scout troop from Proctor cross a (pretend) raging stream using a sapling and some rope during Sunday's Beargrease Derby at the Cloquet Forestry Center. The annual daylong event teaches teamwork and outdoor skills.

As the day wore on, the troops traveled around a 3.5-kilometer trail, pulling and steering a dogsled between various stations, each one named after a stop on the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon that ran a month earlier. Among the participants were kids from Cloquet and Barnum.

All of the scouts learned how to build fires at "Billy's bar," and use a map and compass to navigate in "Grand Marais" (the parking lot). At other stations, they learned first aid, walked across a raging (imaginary) 20-foot stream on a sapling, climbed a net and an up-and-over wall, and figured out how to move a bucket using just ropes and teamwork.

Daniel liked the new pulley system station.

"They had a challenge where you use a pulley to elevate a bag from bears," he said, stressing that teamwork is a big part of every task.

Each event is scored, but winning isn't the most important goal. Working together is.

"You have to cooperate so you can get the job done," said Finn.


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