OAKWOOD — An annual Boy Scouts camp event has several inches of snow on the ground this year for added fun and adventure.

Saturday, Feb. 20, marks the 51st Klondike Derby at Camp Robert Drake, southeast of Oakwood.

This year’s theme is “Ready the Sled.”

“The derby consists of challenge stations set up throughout camp, where the boys will pull their Klondike sleds and gear through each station testing their skill sets for the various challenges, consisting of first aid, knots and lashings, teamwork, fire building and so forth,” according to Randy Coffey, with Camp Drake.

“The patrols are scored on the challenges and the winning patrols for each challenge receive top honor for that station, and the overall best scoring patrol wins an overall best,” he says.

Following the day’s challenges is a Klondike sled race on the Camp Drake plateau.

“The boys will race pulling their sleds against the other patrols across a finish line for the top sled trophy that they hold onto for a year. The trophy has the names of the past winners on the back,” according to Coffey.

The ages of the boys range from 10-17.

They average around 35-40 patrols of boys (which can vary from four to eight) and around 15 troops, 25 to 300 scouts. Some of the troops also camp out for the weekend.

This year with COVID, the numbers will be down. All are expected to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, social distance and wear masks, Coffey said.

The event starts roughly at 9 a.m., with the winner announcements and sled race at around 3 p.m.

Prairielands Council of the Boy Scouts of America provides character development and value-based leadership training to youth in nine counties of east-central Illinois and west-central Indiana.

The council is based in Champaign. It currently offers more than 2,800 youth a program of responsible fun and adventure: training them in citizenship, service and leadership; instilling lifetime values; and developing ethical character as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law.

Its mission is to serve communities and families with a quality, values-based program.

More about the Klondike Derby trophies:

  • The patrol with the highest score at the Prairielands Council Klondike Derby is awarded the “Pan of Gold Trophy,” an actual gold miner’s pan, marked with the history of the past winning patrols through the years. It takes quality leadership, strong teamwork, plus excellent Scouting skills and knowledge to earn the top honors amongst the other Scouting patrols competing in the event. The youth who earn the “Pan of Gold Trophy” exhibit the best talents for winter preparedness, complicated problem-solving and team spirit
  • The Yukon Jack Plaque is awarded to the fastest sled racing team at the Prairielands Council’s annual Klondike Derby.

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