The Competitive edge

There are those out there that would suggest that competition is bad… Everyone is a winner.. you must make everyone feel like they won the game.
I say HOG WASH!

Those that spout that psycho babble have never been 12 year old boys and live in a bubble.
Boys need to compete.. its what they do.
Competition breeds success and in life, success means everything.
Now lets define that.
Success may mean many things to many different people.
Success may mean a big house and a nice car, it may mean healthy children, it may mean having the ability to backpack across Europe or annual trips to High adventure bases.
Success may mean that you have a modest house, a happy family, strong faith, and valuable relationships.
So success comes in may shapes and sizes. It is up to the individual to define his success, but one thread that remains common to all is Competition. And competition makes us stronger, it makes up better sports, it challenges us to do better, it asks of us to “DO OUR BEST”.
And it also makes for fun times.

This past weekend we went up to Camp Cooper and tried competition of a different sort.
We held our First Annual Champions of the Kamping Kulinary Kraft. We held a cook off.
Patrol v. Patrol in head to head cooking.

The 4 Patrols and the TLC all participated and let me tell you what I learned.
I learned that boys love to compete. In the four years that we have been a Troop I have never seen the boys get so serious about cooking.
They were judged in 4 areas.
1. Preparation. Menus, Keeping the cooking area clean, having menus and duty roster posted etc.
2. Presentation. How the meal looked.

3. Taste and Creativity.
4. Patrol dining. The Patrol had guests and they ate together.

They had to cook Breakfast on Coleman Camp stoves, Lunch using Backpacking stoves and techniques, and Dinner in Dutch ovens. All three meals were judged.

From french toast with gourmet bacon covered in whipped cream and strawberries to perhaps the best pork roast I have ever eaten, the Scouts did a fantastic job and had a blast doing it. They really poured their hearts, skills and minds into the competition and did their very best to win.

In the spirit of competition the patrols were helpful and worked together. When it came to recipes, they were safeguarded and kitchens were “Off Limits” to everyone except the judges.
(Boys rules). They broke out with garnishes on the plates and fancy home made noodles, they really did a nice job.

And at the end of the day.. there is only one winner of the competition, but they all win because they all tried, they all learned, they all developed, and they all know what they need to do better next time.

I do not understand why some folks are dead set against competition, why they think little Johnny’s feeling might get hurt and he will be scared for life. To folks that think that way I am afraid they are setting their kid up to fail.
You do not have to be cut throat to compete. Competition at the heart of it is healthy and drives us to be better. Why is that wrong? In the game of life that is how it is. Why not prepare these young men now for what lay ahead? Are we not here to Develop Character, Citizenship, and physical fitness? Are we not here to teach these Scouts to make ethical decisions? Are we not here to turn these young men into good men?

The Boy Scouts of America encourages Competition. “Patrols will sometimes join with other patrols to learn skills and complete advancement requirements. At other times they will compete against those same patrols in Scout skills and athletic competitions.” (the Patrol method from the BSA Website) We have inter patrol competitions at meetings and we compete against other Troops and Patrols at Camporee. Competition is healthy, it has been a part of Scouting for almost 100 years and will continue to be a strong part of the Scouting program.

So HOG WASH to those that dislike the competitive edge. I know after this weekend, I love it.. and that amazing pork roast too.

Happy Scouting!

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