I believe scouting teaches boys some important values skills and I agree with them all except for the cheers and the heavy emphasis on camping. The prior scoutmaster I was replacing had done an excellent job for many years. He was dedicated and took them on camp outs every month regardless of the weather. They already had camp outs planned for the winter months when I took over so I figured we'd go ahead and do them. It had been a while since I had been camping in the cold so I had forgotten what it was like, or possibly suppressed those memories in the deep recesses of my brain filed in the "suffering memories" compartment.
First of all I was totally unprepared for the first camp out. I knew I should have taken better gear than my boy's Anakin Skywalker sleeping bag but it was light weight and easy to pack. I think the temperature rating on that sleeping bag indicates that it is dangerous to use even at room temperature. Then there was the tossing and turning all night because I didn't take any padding. I woke up 15-20 times in the night just praying that the sun would be coming up any minute, but each time I'd check my watch only several minutes had elapsed. Once you get your feet cold you are doomed to suffer. I have since remembered that the key to enjoying yourself is being prepared with the proper equipment. Now that I think about it, I recall something about preparedeness being mentioned somewhere in the scouting program.
I have quickly learned that to enjoy camping you need to be warm and have enough food. I am trying hard not to be a party pooper because I am working with some great boys and I don't want to spoil their fun or spirit of adventure since I'm such a home body. I've decided that I will enthusiastically go winter camping again next year...if all of our homes just happen to burn down and we have no better options. Nobody could be happier for Spring to be here than me.
Addendum-Maui just sent me an awesome link in the comments section and I have to include a picture of the Tuantaun carcass sleeping bag he told me about. I wasn't lucky enough to have one of these or I'm sure I would have stayed warm.