What Is Okpik and Why Should I Attend?
Okpik (Ook’pick) is a Cold Weather Camping Training Course, and the word “okpik” is the Inuit word for “snowy owl” which is the Okpik course mascot.
Why should you take Okpik? Because it will not always be summer!
Cold weather camping mistakes can be dangerous, or even life threatening. The purpose of the Okpik course is to provide participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to properly plan for and successfully conduct a safe and fun outdoor, cold-weather camping experience. Participants are expected to take back and share this knowledge with their units so that all their scouts can benefit from a year-round camping program – regardless of the season!
What Should I Expect?
The Okpik course consists of three training days and an overnight practical.
Topics covered include:
- Different types of cold weather
- The science behind why your body gets cold and how to keep it warm
- Proper clothing needs, including high tech and low cost options
- Winter nutritional needs and food prep methods
- How to adapt your tents and sleep systems for winter camping
- Snow shelters, travelling over snow, and fun snow activities
- Cold weather first aid issues
- and so much more!
Most of the course is interactive and hands on, and all of the instructors are knowledgeable and fun! And since the course uses the patrol method, you’re bound to make some great new friends too!
Upon completion of the course, you’ll receive an Okpik patch, neckerchief, and cubes, as well as an Okpik certificate. These items will identify you to others as someone that has completed this advanced training, and will also serve to remind you of your ongoing commitment to service within the Scouting program.
Who Can Attend Okpik?
Okpik is open to any BSA registered adult or mature youth, age 14 and up.
- Be a registered and active member in the Boy Scouts of America with Youth Protection Training valid through the end of the course.
- Have completed position-specific training for your current position.
- Be physically capable of functioning safely in an outdoor environment and have a complete BSA Medical Form valid through the end of the course.
- Have a positive attitude, be able to work well with others in a patrol, have a desire to learn something new and to challenge yourself, and be ready to have a great experience!
Uniform / Clothing / Equipment
Okpik is held during the winter months and includes many outdoor training segments, so you will need to have access to cold weather outerwear including, but not limited to snow boots, snow pants, winter jacket, mittens/gloves, etc. A Field Uniform (Class”A”) should be worn to the first training date, at which time you will be taught about appropriate cold weather clothing layers which you should then be wearing to the remaining training dates. A Field Uniform will be required to be worn again for the graduation ceremony at the end of the practical weekend.
As for equipment, standard camping equipment will be needed for the practical weekend, and again the course will cover how to adapt your tent and sleep system for the cold weather, along with high tech and low cost options. Some items discussed can be made at home, others can be borrowed, you do not necessarily need to own or purchase everything.
Okpik is taught outdoors, so cold and snowy weather conditions are likely to be encountered, and walking through hilly and possibly snow covered ground is also expected. Therefore, all participants must provide a complete BSA Annual Health and Medical Record with Parts A, B, and C (Annual Physical signed by a doctor) that is current through the end of the course.
For More Information Contact
Derek Coleman, Okpik 2023-2024 Course Director at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Elston, Okpik Course Coordinator at: email@example.com
Register Online for the 2023/2024 Course
The course fee is $135
Attendance at all of the following dates is required for graduation:
11/9/2024, 8:30am – 3:30pm (Indoor / outdoor classroom training)
12/14/2024, 8:30am – 3:30pm (Indoor / outdoor classroom training)
1/11/2025, 8:30am – 3:30 pm (Indoor / outdoor classroom training)
2/1/2025, 8:00am – 2/4/2024, 10:30am (Practical – outdoor campout)
The Okpik course is held at the following two locations:
BSA Camp Lowden Christ Lutheran School
4418 South Scout Road 2000 18 Ave.
Oregon, IL 61061 Sterling, IL 61081