NISSWA-With temperatures about 20 degrees below zero one would have to be either brave or crazy to choose to sleep outside, but a dozen Boy Scouts did just that this past weekend at Parker Scout Camp.

"Central Minnesota Council's Alpha Lupus program prepares scouts to sleep outdoors in the winter by training them how to build a shelter, select proper clothing, select food and more over the course of the weekend," said Tim Sundberg, Alpha Lupus lead trainer, Venture Crew 2005.

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There were two groups at camp this past weekend; Alpha Lupus and Kota. The Alpha Lupus Scouts came from Crosby, Foley and Becker. The Kota Scouts were all from Foley. The two programs differ slightly. The Alpha Lupus campers have indoor class the first night and outdoor classes on the second day and they sleep outside that night, while the Kota campers spend the whole weekend outside.

"The council has been providing winter camping training for over 35 years," Sundberg said. "The Scouts learn a lot about teamwork, learning how to look out for one another, and the buddy system is important with winter camping."

Before the Scouts sleep outside, they have to learn what to do and how to be prepared for it.

"We train the Scouts on selecting a site, preparing their sleeping area and making sure they have proper protection from the cold," said Noah Klinker, 17, a Life Scout with Troop 29, Becker, who was one of the youth staff members. "We also instruct them on what they need to do before they crawl into their sleeping system. It's important they empty their bladder, eat a snack and have on the proper clothing; too much and they will get too warm, but not enough or the wrong type and they will get cold."

For most of the Scouts, this is the first time they will ever sleep outside in the winter.

Nathan Wind, 12, a Star Scout from Crosby, said, "When I told people I was going to do this they told me I was crazy, 'cause it's so cold, but it was a really fun experience and one I am proud to say I tried and completed."

The Boy Scouts have a special recognition for a Scout who sleeps outside when the temperature is below zero degrees.

"I really want to earn my Zero Hero," said Tristan VenNevel, 11, a Tenderfoot Scout from Troop 10 in Foley.

When the Scouts woke up on Sunday they had earned their Zero Hero for sure with the thermometer reading 21 degrees below zero.

A great deal was learned over the weekend and had the Scouts had fun doing it, the organization reported.

"You have to be prepared when it is cold outside," said Brady Millsop, 10, with Troop 100 in Crosby.

Go to www.BSACMC.org for more information on camping opportunities and scouting in Central Minnesota.