Snowball Winter Skills Challenge Camp – 2024

Feb 2-4, 2024 – Camp Manitou, 7484 Twiss Road, Milton, Ontario

Greetings Scouters, Guiders, Rovers, Youth, and other interested parties!
This is one of many pages, hosting the details of the 11th annual Snowball winter skills camp, a program element and design that dates back to the early 1980’s for some of us. It began in this region in 2012, with the simple goal of supporting each other in a return to true outdoor Winter Scouting, survival skills, and personal development for all of the youth involved… if you can make it 2 days in the true Canadian Winter, you can do anything!
And as always, the Scouters are there with the invisible safety net, to support the youth and each other.

Inclusive Event
This has been, and continues to be an open and inclusive Scouting (& Guiding) event.
Around the world, Scouting is inclusive of anyone who “wants to Scout”… we welcome those who are registered as part of a nationally incorporated & insured Scouting body.
We’ll take some Q&A on that at the end of everything else that’s important to know, but if you have questions, please contact us and ask. Please don’t assume facts not in evidence.

Where is Camp Manitou, and can you tell me about it?
– Camp Website:
– Camp Addres & Directions, including two nearest hospitals, for those of you filling out ERPs:
And… don’t try and come up Twiss from the south in the winter, go around…
– Camp Internal Map, handy as we refer to site #’s and buildings: (also has downloadable PDF versions)
Plan to hike/walk/carry from the parking lot, using muscles or sleds.
Our 24 hour warming building is McLaughlin Lodge, we have heated washrooms there too in addition to the Kybos throughout the camp, and there is certified drinking water avaialable on the back of Rotary Lodge.
One of the reasons we prefer Manitou, is that it offers treed forests for camping in (bottom part of the map), that protect us from winter winds & storms, and is located in a natural valley along the Niagara Escarpment, and adjacent to the Bruce Trail. It’s also cared for, by one of the most dedicated and fantastic team of volunteers you will ever meet – thank them when you see them!

Plus … we offer the added potential option to build snow/tarp shelters, on the Saturday preceding it if you like, survey the sites, get the lay of the land, get your youth comfortable with the site/camp, in daylight ahead of time. (ie: more will attend when you do this, just give us the heads up that you are coming please!)

The objective of each year’s Winter Skills Camp, is to build on the excellent success of your Fall Scout Skills & Basics work, on our Spring Competition Camps, and on our past experiences with Winter Camping, together. Patrols and Troops, supporting each other. Challenge each other to take home the Snowball Cup, and while we will never “program fun”, many times it is the naturally occurring by-product of good Scouting program.

Giving youth the chance to challenge themselves in a safe way, but in a way that they come away with serious bragging rights… “OH Yeah?! While you sat on your Xbox, I spent 48 hours outdoors this weekend with my friends, and not only did I survive, but I did well at it!”

Whether you have one patrol, two patrols, or seven patrols – we all work together and support each other!
Troop/Patrol twinning most welcome! – Day visitors also most welcome, for those not quite ready THIS YEAR to overnight experiences!

Our objective, as a collection of average Scouters, is to support each other in the delivery of a good quality program-supportive event, where the youth are challenged as a patrol, take care of themselves, and meet the Winter Scouting elements of our collective Programs, using the International Scout Method.

Bring one! (and if you need budget, let us know)
A number of events have already been spoken for out of personal interest, but we would like you to bring something you like to share during a winter camp — please get in touch.
As Scouters and Leaders, we plan and run the challenges, many times with help from our Rovers and Venturers – feel free to engage them now, and plan something.

And… through those challenges & events, and others, the Snowball Cup, is up for grabs! (comes complete with the original snowball, and your patrol has to take care of that until next year!)

Documents – hopefully these help spell out more details:


Questions & Answers
Yes, it would seem that post-pandemic, we are getting more questions than ever!
Here are the answers we have – and realistically we want you to know how much we believe in transparency – so just ask, and we’ll add!
Zero to hide.

Q: Who is running this camp?
A: You are. No, seriously, you are.
The best Scouting in the world, runs on the power of youth empowered by local Scouters, who have a passion to see the world become a better place, through our youth.
So, bring your passion, your skills, your sense of adventure…. and we’re all here to support each other.

Q: Ok, so then who is coordinating everything? Who booked the place? Etc?
A: It’s a shared exercise, between 1st Winona and 1st Binbrook.
Each group has booked a selection of facilities.
Binbrook is supplying the website, and Winona is handling the cash.
(if you want to see the breakdown afterwards, please ask when all is said and done)

Q: Who keeps the profits?
Profits? At best, we hope to break even, as we usually lose money. It’s not about the money.

Q: Whose rules and policies is the camp following?
A: Canadian Federal Laws, Ontario Provincial Laws, and anything Municipal that might apply.
Next, are the Camp Manitou Rules.
Then it’s the rules of your group – which have more in common with each other, than you might think!
Common sense applies here too, we all have two-deep leadership, a lengthy screening process for leaders, and some add the BSA ‘buddy system’ to that as well.
As noted above, you run the camp. No matter what else is said, if you run into something that concerns you, speak to Ian or Andy, maybe it’s just a misunderstanding. But you have final say, without reservation or judgement by anyone else, on what your youth and volunteers participate in.

Q: Along these same lines, what else should I know?
A: Here’s some simple answers. Common sense, but let’s say it out loud.

– All those in attendance, will be current registered & insured members, within the criteria of your organization. Some of us have $2mil insurance, some have $5mil, but the precise amount is not important.
– Adult/Scouters/Leaders, will be similarly registered & insured, and fully screened and PRC/VSS checked, per your organization’s policies.
– Your youth, will be your responsibility, at all times.
– Outside of Event instruction, Adult/Scouters/Leaders, will not give direction to youth from other groups, except in situations of immediate urgency or emergency.
(let’s not be stupid about this, we simply agree that the kids come first in all of our organizations)
– Other unattached adults, unregistered members, etc – are not welcome.
This is not a public event.