It is amazing how themes run together and I think I have said it before on the blog about how a subject seems to maintain a solid thread in life for a time. This week it seems that the subject of what we expect of our youth in so far as work ethic, values, and skills has taken up much of the conversation I have had electronically and with some friends.
Yesterday I received an email from a reader that challenged the idea that Scouts are not allowed to use liquid fuel, like white gas etc. He made mention of my recent videos and said that I was irresponsible for encouraging our Scouts to use equipment that is “proven to be dangerous”.
So let me get that out-of-the-way first. “Proven to be dangerous”… By who?
Reader, do you honestly think that REI and other fine outfitters would have the MSR Whisperlite, the Dragon Fly, the Soto Muka, and the Trangia stoves on their shelves if they were “Proven to be dangerous”? Do you think for a minute that the Tooth of Time traders at Philmont SCOUT Ranch would sell the Whisperlite and Simmer light stoves as well as make available at the commissary Coleman White Gas. And finally Reader… Do you own a Guide to Safe Scouting and have looked up the policy found in the Chemical Fuels and Equipment Document published by the Boy Scouts of America?
It seems that our Reader, based on his email, does not feel that Scouts are “Responsible” enough to handle liquid fuels. He also feels that I act irresponsibly by taking the Scouts camping in the winter. “I find it hard to believe you would risk injury of your Scouts in camping in temperatures below freezing.” he wrote.
Now, I really don’t want to offend any good Den Leaders out there, but this guy obviously has not moved on the Boy Scouts yet even though he signed his email “Scoutmaster”.
I am not going to address all of the “issues” he has with me and as he called it “My brand of Scouting”, but I do want to discuss this as a matter of course in the conversation of week regarding our youth.
I know exactly where this “Reader” is coming from. He is of the class that believes that our young men (boys) are not capable of doing anything other than sitting in front of a TV watching Barney.
He is so afraid to let boys be boys that he is killing our young mens ability to function as men. I am sure that knives are not allowed in his Troop and that the Mom’s do all the cooking. He is of the mind-set that does not allow Scouts to build a signal tower and climb it. Him and his fellow non believers in youngsters are the ones that keep a good and sturdy rope bring 18 inches off the ground and find the need to “spot” someone who is literally inches from doom.
He is the reason that Scouts are not supposed to camp with their patrols.. ohhhh… hear that sound.. that’s Green Bar Bill rolling in his grave. This reader is why we have Eagle Scouts that can’t tie Clove hitches and max the minimum when it comes to everything in Scouting.
They don’t believe that a Scout is able to do anything that he and his buddies set their minds to. He has no sense of adventure and won’t let a young man push himself. He is the reason that we expect less from our youth and as a result get less.
As you may be able to tell… this really chaps my butt.
Our young men can do anything. They can use an ax, they can climb mountains, they can swim in open water, they can hike miles and miles and still have energy to sing and joke. They can ride horses and slide down a zip line. They can build fires and sleep under the stars. They can ride their bike for a 100 miles and camp along the way. They can scuba dive in the Florida Keys and canoe the Boundry waters.
But this guy won’t let them. Why? Because he does not believe in the power of a boy!
He Expects less and he gets less because he does not believe in them.
Expect more… get more!
Train ‘em, Trust ‘em, and Let ‘em lead!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
This past weekend our Troops plan was to float a portion of the Deschutes River in Central Oregon. We all knew going into this activity that there was risk as well as the opportunity to challenge our selves. What we could never plan for was how well the Scouts did in the adventure leading to the adventure.
The Big River Campground is three and half hours away from our meeting hall, so we left a little earlier than we typically do to give us time in the day light to set up camp and relax for the night.
An hour out of town one of the cars in the convey starts “acting up”, so we pulled over, checked out and pushed on. Two hours into the trip that same car came to its final leg in a town called Madras. The car was finished, could not move. So we parked it and started planning on first how to recover the car and then second how to keep moving to camp. We decided to leave the car where it sat, right behind the Sonic. The owner was kind enough to let us keep it there. The next part was a bit more of a challenge. We had to transport 4 Scouts and a Driver to Sunriver… another hour and half.
We squeezed one more small Scout into a seat belt and left the remainder at the Sonic with the driver. The rest of the Troop moved on to the campground.
On the return to the Sonic from the campground one of the ASMs that was the shuttle car struck a deer on the highway. The deer was extremely hurt and so a call to 911 sent the State Police to the scene. They took car of the deer filled a report and the ASM was on his way back to Madras. Not a scratch on his car.
They loaded up the car and turned around heading to camp. By the time they arrived in camp it was 3 AM.
So where are the Scouts during all of this… well most of them do what all Scouts do when they get in the car… sleep. But what was surprising was the first year Scouts that proved that they wanted to be helpful. They volunteered to stay back. They helped unload, move and reload gear, they seemed to be everywhere doing everything. Hats off to them.
The adventure on the water was amazing. We floated the river returning back to camp around 6:30 PM. Needless to say spending a day on the river, a lot of the boys having a limited amount of sleep made for a real quiet night in camp on Saturday.
On the way home we rearranged all the kayaks and stopped into Madras to get the broken down car. We got it into the boat trailer, again the Scouts of the Troop giving 100% in chipping in to help as went and got the Troop Cheese Burgers and Fries.
We ate and returned home. Stories to tell and adventure had by all.
That’s what its all about.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Planning and Preparation are the keys to a successful anything.
We are in the process of planning an preparing for our next canoe trip…
There is much to plan for and preparations for a canoe outing is extremely important, especially when you are in Scouting.
Some of the considerations when planning and preparing for a canoe trip are:
In our case we are treating this like a backpacking trek. So we are planning for cooking in buddy teams and taking prepared meals. Freeze dried foods, and pre cooked meats always last longer and are easier to prepare on the trail. The weight is reduced also and there is less garbage. Remember, that a canoe trip is very much like a backpacking trip in that we still practice leave no trace and we pack out what we pack in.
Where are you going to get water. You can haul your water in the canoes, but you add weight and risk the balance of the canoe being compromises, especially when taking younger Scouts or novice canoers out.
How about pumping your water using a filter. You are on a canoe.. in a river.. water all around you. Pump it, you have an endless supply that does not weigh anything in your canoe.
Its beginning to get warmer and warmer, and hot days on the river require less gear. Its time to put away the cold weather stuff and break out the shorts and t-shirts.
Fleece is still a good idea in the evenings, but you can put away the heavy sleeping bag and parkas.
Water proofing your gear is essential. You want fry gear when you get into camp. No matter how hard you try, water gets in canoes, water proofing your gear will keep it all dry and secure for the float.
Lets go back to clothing. Clearly the season will dictate the clothing you wear. As we approach summer we can adjust to summer clothing. Remember however that we want to wear clothing that protects us from the elements. Severe sunburn can occur on open water. Light cotton clothing or tech fabrics to cover the skin will provide a light weight protective layer that will ensure comfort and keep you from getting burned. And make sure you wear a hat.
Life jackets are required and need to be worn by youth and adults when canoeing.
Put in and take our points. Consider where you are going to put your canoes in.. how far you want to travel (per day), where you are going to camp, and how you are going to recover the canoes once you pull out of the river.
Transportation plays a major role in canoe adventures. You will have to plan a lot of coordination between cars and canoes.
If you are planning a weekend float. The canoes can be dropped and the cars will meet you at the end. How may cars do you need to get the Scouts there? How many canoes and trailers?
These are all need to planned, mapped and agreed upon before setting off down the river.
Always check the weather before you go… and a few days before you go. Have contingency plans for “worse case scenarios”. What happens if we dump a few canoes? Do we stop get dried off… or do we keep going and dry at camp? What happens if loose a paddle? What do we do if we over shoot our camp area? How do we communicate with the car and trailer crew? Sit down and make yourself a list of ever possible thing that you can think of that can go wrong and try to answer it. You may have to dig for a solution, but you need to have the solution in mind before something happens.
Canoe Trips can really enhance your Scouting program. They are fairly easy to plan and locations are easier to find. The Scouts love it and even on bad trips, they have fun… and thats what its all about.