Introducing the Grand Columbia Council Polar Patrol! The Polar Patrol recognition is presented to scouts or adult leaders in the Grand Columbia Council who accumulate 50 or more “Polar Points” while camping under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America. Qualifying scouts or adult leaders can apply for recognition using the Polar Patrol Application form, and this can be awarded at any event including a Court of Honor.
One polar point is awarded for each degree below freezing recorded during an overnight council, district, or unit campout. The weather bureau station nearest the campsite (or that most closely represents the conditions at the campsite) determines the degree of temperature; however, a leader's thermometer reading can also be accepted. For example, a recorded overnight temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit would equal 22 polar points (32–10=22) towards the required 50 Polar Points.
The accumulation of Polar Points for this recognition follows these guidelines:
- Polar Points are accumulated by overnight camping (the entire night) in a tent, snow shelter, in the open, or other method. This does NOT include sleeping in a cabin, travel trailer, vehicle, etc.
- Methods to keep warm in tents, snow shelters, and such include appropriate layering of clothing, sleeping bags, and other traditional methods including hand or foot warmers. Other methods such as stoves or heaters are not permitted for safety considerations.
- If in the open, fires are permitted as long as they do not constitute a hazard to the scouts or the surrounding area.
- "Under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America” means that appropriate adult leadership must be present, the guidelines in the Guide to Safe Scouting and Youth Protection guidelines must be followed, the campout must be under the direction of the scout unit, and the principles of Leave No Trace must be followed.
- Within the climate of the Grand Columbia Council and depending on the year, it may take several camping seasons for scouts to qualify for this recognition, so Polar Points can be accumulated over more than one season of camping. Therefore, units are encouraged to track and record Polar Points as these records will be required to apply for this recognition.
- Polar Points accumulated in seasons prior to the introduction of this recognition will be considered. A resource to determine historical temperature data can be found at www.wunderground.com/history.
- Cold weather camping should not be attempted if appropriate preparations for safety have not been planned out in advance. Neither scouts nor adult leaders should ignore appropriate safety measures in an effort to receive this recognition. This is cool, but not that cool.
The application for the Polar Patrol can be found here.
This patch will be presented to the first recipients of this recogition at the Columbia Basin District Winter Camp on January 20-22 at Scout-A-Vista. Scout leaders who will be attending this camp are encouraged to determine which of their scouts and/or leaders may have qualified for this award. To assist with this, the following table includes dates of previous Winter Camps and an estimate of the polar points earned at each camp. Leaders are encouraged to complete applications and notify camp staff in advance to prepare for this awards ceremony.
Columbia Basin District Winter Camp Polar Points 2012-2016:
2012 - 23 points
2013 - 20 points
2014 - 10 points
2015 - 9 points
2016 - 9 points