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Getting the High Adventure 'Bug'

Tim, you and Peggy were very helpful when I took the Backpacking, Okpik, and Paddle Sports classes.  Thanks for the tips on affordable equipment, and planting the bug of canoe camping in our troop.  Thanks again.

Greg Rongley
Scoutmaster- Troop 389
Yuba City


From a Retiring HAT Team Volunteer

Ken, you and your predecessors have been great examples to thousands of young and not so young men.  Keep active physically and mentally.  Give to others of your time, talents, and possessions as long as you can.

Best wishes to all,


(Dave passed shortly after sending us this farewell.  Those of us that studied under him and volunteered with him miss his quite way and friendly smile.  We wish the best to his other friends and family - the GEC-HAT Team)


Thanks for the website!

I just wanted to say that, as a camp counselor, I've been using your site for a wilderness survival seminar I'm teaching. Thanks for making it; it's been helpful!

Thank you again for making such a nice's been very useful!


Camp Price, WI

(shared with permission)


On Basic Backpacking Awareness

Thanks, Ken, and a kudos to your team that took time out of their weekends to make it happen. 

I'm leading a crew to the Trinity Alps this summer, and feel that I am much better prepared now.  The Cronan Ranch site was perfect for what you had to accomplish this weekend.  I hope when you read my comments on my two evaluations (indoor and outdoor weekends), you know that I am very satisified with my experience.  I will consider doing the ATP course, for sure. 

Thanks for a great experience.


(shared with permission)



I just wanted to express my appreciation to all the trainers for the wonderful opportunities you provided and for your dedication to this program. You really are a great group of people! I feel I learned much and I know how much work you all put into making this program successful.

Thanks again, hope to see you all again!

Connie Halbach

(shared with permission)


Hi Ken,

Many thanks for a great Training. My overall evaluation was "excellent" in every category. I have no criticisms, nor suggestions for improvements etc. It was superb! I'll put all of the information and experience(s) to good use.
I have attached a number of photographs, including one of you!
See you again soon, no doubt!
L. Daniel
2007 Spring BBA Participant
(shared with permission)


From a backwoodsman 
Please pass this on to all the staff including the Winter Awareness and Wilderness First Aid:
Thank you for your time and commitment to this process.  It is a large task that you commit to and the knowledge you share is invaluable.  The hours away from family and non-BSA friends is a great sacrifice for this important course. I am a long time trekker and have spent countless hours in the backwoods.  You have shared your knowledge of larger group treks and I have learned a lot from all of the staff. I look at it this way, if you teach people how to avoid one incident, which inevitably will be avoided by this training program, you have done your job.  I am sure that this is the case, but in spades.
You have assisted me in better preparing for treks and how to share knowledge with the boys so that they may lead with wilderness safety first.
Thanks again,
Daryl Junnila
ASM Roseville Troop 11
(shared with permission)



The New Patrol

 Wow! What an amazing weekend. They were a new patrol. Some of them had camped together at other times and in different patrols but this was the first time all five had camped together as a patrol and in the snow no less. They jokingly called themselves the "Frozen Owls".

Everyone arrived at the campground early Saturday morning. After all the patrols had set up their camps the leaders came around for a gear check since the temperature that night would drop to around 20.

They spent the rest of the morning working on snow shelters. At lunch time all the patrols went to their camps. Each Frozen Owl had volunteered to provide food & cook a different meal while the others shared cleanup.

After lunch everyone finished the snow shelters then walked around as a group to see all the different types. They stopped at each shelter and with the leaders discussed advantages and disadvantages of each. Before they knew it, it was time for dinner.

Back in camp, one Frozen Owl again cooked and the others shared cleanup. After dinner there was a night hike followed by a campfire and generous cracker barrel. The Frozen Owls stayed and socialized for a while. They returned to their camp intending to go to sleep but stayed up joking; telling stories and talking about bargains they had found on gear.

After breakfast the next day all the patrols got together with the leaders to talk about their experience. Thanks to the well trained leaders the most heard complaint was having been too warm in the night. They all gathered in a circle and joined hands for a Scout's Own, and then there was a round of applause for the leaders.

The Frozen Owls were the last to get packed up that day, not because they were the slowest, but because they were becoming the best of friends and were reluctant for the trip to end. They left the campground that day talking about the next time they would camp together. It was quite a weekend for a new patrol.

 This is a true story, but it is not about Boy Scouts, it is about my experience at OKPIK outdoor, cold weather camping training. I had the good fortune to be in a patrol with two people who I met at Outdoor Leader Training last spring where we were also in the same patrol. The next camping trip refers to future training we plan to attend together.

The trained leaders are of course the OKPIK instructors, who were always available to us, helped us and answered all of our questions.

This story is not about Boy Scouts but it could be. You can be the trained leaders, making this type of outing and many more safe and fun for your Scouts.


Troop 21

(shared with permission)



Finding the Way

I had insisted that my twin sons take the Basic Backpacking Awareness Course with me as a part of our preparation for our Northern Tier Trek.  As 15 year old Life Scouts, they knew it all, or so they thought!

They hated to admit it, but they did share that after the BBA course, they finally understood and were comfortable using a map & compass to find their way.  During our 60 mile trek (to Canada and back!) I often saw them using fire building, cooking and gear maintenance techniques they had learned and/or had reinforced at the BBA course.  I suppose that the best recommendation for the BBA course is that, heading home at the end of our trek, both of my sons said that the Northern Tier Canoe trek was the best experience either of them had ever had and they both were surprised how prepared they were for 60 miles and 30 lakes in the wilderness of Northern Minnesota and Canada. 

I thought so much of the BBA course that I'm now volunteering to help with the HAT program!

Tim Smith

Troop 4

(shared with permission)



251 Commerce Circle
Sacramento, CA 95815

phone: (916) 929-1417

Hours of Operation:
8:30am - 5:00pm (M-F)
Closed Saturday & Sunday

River City Scout Shop

251 Commerce Circle
Sacramento, CA 95815

phone: (916) 649-1800

Hours of Operation:
9:00am - 5:00pm (Monday - Friday)

10:30am - 3:00pm (Saturday)
Closed Sunday

NorCal Scout Shop - Chico

3881 Benatar Way, Suite D
Chico, CA 95928

phone: (530) 809-0400

Hours of Operation:
11:00am - 6:00pm (W-F)
10:00am - 2:00pm (Saturday)
Closed Sunday, Monday & Tuesday

Order of the Arrow - Amangi Nacha