You can learn a lot from a 12 year old

Never a statement more true.
We spent the Labor Day weekend wandering the Mt. Hood National Forest. 17 young men from the Troop dared to hike 25 miles of an absolutly gorgeous Historic Barlow Road. Lots of History and some real challenging climbs. We split the Troop into three groups the first day and then into two groups the second and third days. I hiked with the younger boys most of the time… and so my lesson began.
Now you might think it is something negative that I am about to write… no.. on the contrary.
I learned (what I believed all along) that these boys have the ability to do whatever they want.
I learned that they learn and all at once in a blaze of glory it comes out.
These guys really showed what they had deep inside.
They never gave up and in fact at one point wanted to finish the trek on Sunday rather than finish up on Monday.
Just when you thought we had lost a generation to Video games and TV I learned that the simple fix is a backpack and some willing adults to get them to the trail head.
They led the hike, making decisions on when to stop and rest, reading the map to determine where to go, and how camp was going to be set up.
They pumped the water they drank, the cooked the food they ate, they carried the gear they needed.
Now this is nothing new to Scouting, but you would be amazed at how few Troops hit the wilderness and take advantage of what Scouting and the Northwest has to offer.
I went to a Roundtable a few months back when the topic was backpacking. I was shocked to hear Scoutmasters and committee folks saying that the boys are too young to do it… or that their Scouts would never want to do something like that… or worst of all… and I qoute “They will never make it”.
I learned from 12 year olds.. they will make it.. they will push themselves and each other… they can do it if you teach them and encourage them.
Our oldest Scout is 14, our youngest is 11.. and they all made it.
They accomplished something that they will remember for along time, and they won’t hesitate to do it again.
The pay off. They saw a piece of Oregon history… walked where the Pioneers walked. They learned a lot about themselves and their Patrols, and they learned that there is nothing better to heal sore feet after a long backpack trip than Milkshakes at Dairy Queen.

You can learn more about the Barlow Road by trying some of these links.

Happy Scouting!
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