Boys join Scouts for the Outdoors.. they join for the adventure and fun times that they are promised. Parents sign them up for Character development, life skills, and the values of the program. The outdoor program is the heart of Scouting. It is the place where the Scout learns, practices skills, develops friendships and a love for the wilderness and has fun.
I am sure by now that you have tore through the Aides to Scoutmastership… this has been a fun couple of days pouring through the writing of our founder. The more I dig in to the book, the more I know that the organization that BP was forming was centered on the boy and that his first and foremost goal was developing them to be good men. In the early years of the 20th century, England was a different place and boys were not allowed to just be boys. There are so many problems with suppressing the will and spirit of the boy and BP saw the destruction of boyhood and the effects that it has on manliness. I fear that this is happening again and its high time to take get it back.
The outdoor program of the Boy Scouts is how we do just that.
“In spite of teachers and parents, boys remain loyal to their own world. They obey their own code, although it is quite a different code to the one that is taught to them at home and in the schoolroom. They gladly suffer martyrdom at the hands of uncomprehending adults, rather than be false to their own code. “The code of the teacher, for instance, is in favor of silence and safety and decorum. The code of the boys is diametrically opposite. It is in favor of noise and risk and excitement. “Fun, fighting, and feeding! These are the three indispensable elements of the boy’s world. These are basic. They are what boys are in earnest about; and they are not associated with teachers nor schoolbooks. “According to public opinion in Boydom, to sit for four hours a day at a desk indoors is a wretched waste of time and daylight. Did anyone ever know a boy-a normal healthy boy, who begged his father to buy him a desk? Or did anyone ever know a boy, who was running about outdoors, go and plead with his mother to be allowed to sit down in the drawing room?
“Certainly not. A boy is not a desk animal. He is not a sitting-down animal. Neither is he a pacifist nor a believer in safety first,’ nor a book-worm, nor a philosopher.
Remember that the boy, on joining, wants to begin scouting right away; so don’t dull his keenness by too much preliminary explanation at first. Meet his wants by games and Scouting practices, and instill elementary details bit by bit afterwards as you go. “He is a boy-God bless him-full to the brim of fun and fight and hunger and daring mischief and noise and observation and excitement. If he is not, he is abnormal.”
I have made it pretty clear in writing this blog what my feelings are regarding how I think Scouting should be. I am a believer that Scouting is done in the outdoors. I know that there is a place and need for the merit badge program, but feel that it is over emphasized especially the “Filler badges” like fingerprinting and skating and those types of badges. Again, I know that there is a place and need… but sometimes I think they, and other non outdoor focused activities distract from the Scouting program.
Having said all of that…
The outdoor program provides adventure and opportunities that allow the Scout to develop skills that make them self reliant. The Scouts classroom is in the outdoors. That is were Scouting should happen. Scouts plan their adventures and carry them out in the outdoors. In short.. the outdoors is the center of the Scouting program.
The outdoor program is the fix for the boys and to Scouting. It is where we teach our Scouts the skills and an appreciation for the outdoors and adventure. It is were we let them play the game with a purpose and watch as they grow in leadership and we achieve the aims of Scouting. It is in the outdoors that boys develop character and practice citizenship and fitness.
As the Boy Scouts of America states; “Learning by doing is a hallmark of outdoor education. Unit meetings offer information and knowledge used on outdoor adventures each month throughout the year. A leader may describe and demonstrate a Scouting skill at a meeting, but the way Scouts truly learn outdoor skills is to do them themselves on a troop outing.”
There are many ways that the outdoor program can be executed. The key is to just get outside and do it. Make a commitment with the Patrol Leaders Council to add high adventure activities to the Troop plan. Make sure that every month has an outdoor overnight experience. NEVER Cancel an outdoor activity. Shame on the adults if they are the cause for failure of the outdoor program. The outdoors is a must for Scouting to happen. It is a must for the Scout to grow and meet the goals that Scouting has promised him.
Get out and play!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Those of you that have followed the blog for a while know that I am a fan and collector of Scouting literature. I don’t just collect the books, magazines, and other literature, I love to get into them and see how Scouting was, how Green Bar Bill wrote and what the program looked like over the decades.
A common phrase I hear often from “older” Scouters is how things were “Back when I was a Scout”. It seems that things were so much better back when we were Scouts. But then I got to digging in to the literature and what I have found is that the more things change.. the more they really do stay the same.
Yes, before I get hate mail… Scouting has changed a lot over time, but really, it has stayed the same.
In the 1959 edition of the Boy Scout Handbook the Boy Scouts of America talks about YOU, the American Boy.
Before I get into this, I was listening to a podcast the other day. The host of the podcast was talking about kids today and some of the things that they have lost over time. Some of the heritage of America has not been adequately passed down to our kids. I remember when I was a kid that we played like we were on the wild frontier of America. I was Daniel Boone and some of my friends would play the roles of Davy Crockett and Kit Carson, and Wild Bill Hickok. We would fight the battle of the Alamo, build rafts and float down the “Missouri”. We built forts and tried to live the legends of American History. I once met Daniel Boone at Frontier land in Disneyland. It was a great day, you would have thought Daniel Boone came back just for me to meet him.
I think everyone I knew could sing every word of Davy Crockett. You remember.. he was the “King of the wild Frontier”.
I think watching the tv shows, seeing our hero’s at Disneyland, and learning about them in Scouting, School, and out in the woods shaped how we played the game with a purpose then.
Who are the hero’s today? Who are those Davy Crockett’s that the kids today run through the woods acting like?
The 1959 handbook talks about the American boy…
“Have you ever dreamed of hiking the wilderness trails that were worn down under moccasins hundreds of years ago? Do you hear in your imagination the almost soundless dip-dip of Indian canoe paddles or the ring of the axe of an early pioneer hewing a home out of the American wilderness? Have you followed with your mind’s eye the covered wagons on the trek across our continent? Have you thought of the men and women who built our country by their determination and devotion? You are the descendant of those people. You are the guardian of what they built. You are the American on whom the future of our wonderful country depends.”
Great writing. It inspired Scouts for years to learn about our heritage and not feel ashamed of being an American boy. It valued the spirit of the pioneer, the frontiersman, the explorer an encouraged the Scout to seek that adventure and become a part of the American Narrative.
We have lost that kind of writing in our current handbooks. Now the handbook gets the Scout to the next rank. But the more they change, the more they are the same. Where we have lost it is in us. We have stopped teaching them. We have stopped allowing them to be American boys.
“Today you are an American boy. Before long you will be an American man.” The ’59 handbook continues. “It is important to America that you become a citizen of fine character, physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” We all agree that there is no change there. The handbook, as in today’s handbook sets the course for the Scout to begin a life of values and adventure. “Yes, it’s fun to be a Boy Scout! It’s fun to go hiking and camping with your best friends… to swim, to dive, to paddle a canoe, to wield and axe… to follow in the footsteps of the pioneers who led the way through the wilderness…to stare into the glowing embers of a campfire and dream of the wonders of the life that is in store for you.” Do we make that promise to our boys today? Why not? Nothing has changed there. The world is not that much different.
I always tell our new Scouts as we sit around the campfire to watch the older boys as they join us in the circle. There is a magic in the campfire. It is a magic that no matter who you are or what your job is in the troop, it plays true every time. That magic is in the embers. It forces one to stare and quietly be a part of it. And sure enough, someone will join us in the circle and their eyes will immediately move to glow of the fire. Where once a loud noise came is now silent and engaged in the magic of Scouting. It is for us to not allow things to change. Scouting is rich in tradition, values, adventure, and spirit. The more things change, the more that will always stay the same. If we want it to.
I think that we need to go back and take a look at old handbooks. Look at the writing of William Hillcourt and how he could draw the imagination of the boys of America. Look how he engaged them to being a part of the rich heritage and adventurous spirit of Americans before them.
We have lost that spirit and way that pull the boys of America into this great adventure. It will be gone if we don’t share it. If we don’t allow them to be American boys.
Building rafts like Huck Finn and standing atop the Alamo defending an ideal. Hanging out in a tree house and hiking off into the wilderness in search of new land. We hold them back in the name of protection, we kill their spirit of adventure and call it safety. I cringe at the thought of not passing on our American spirit to this generation of boys.
They want it.. they just don’t know what it is.
The more things change.. the more the American boy is the same.. Let him be one!
“When you are a Scout, forest and field, rivers and lakes, are your playground. You are completely at home in God’s great outdoors. You learn to notice every sound, to observe every track. Birds and animals become your friends. You master the skills of walking noiselessly through the woods, of stalking close to a grazing deer without being noticed, of bringing a bird to you by intimating it’s call. You learn to find your way cross country by map and compass, to make a meal when you are hungry, to take a safe swim when you are hot, to make yourself comfortable for the night in a tent or under the stars. You become a true outdoorsman.” Boy just like when I was a kid acting like Daniel Boone.. the king of the wild frontier. This was Scouting when I was a boy… and it is Scouting now. We just need to remember that things really have not changed that much.. it is us that changed. The wilderness still calls, adventure still yells for our boys to come. Are you going to let them?
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Well, Camporee is over once again for another year.
Here are some thoughts on the weekend…
First and foremost I need to tell you that pride is just one word that comes to mind when it comes to how I feel about the boys of my Troop. Now, you may be saying to yourself… yeah Jer.. You say that all the time.. and yes, yes I do, but this time it is a “Coming of age” kind of pride.
As you also know, our troop camps using a “Backpacking style” of camping. We don’t have patrol boxes, we pack it in and pack it out, and we insist on boy leadership. We teach our Scouts to be self-reliant and to think and do things for themselves. Above all we have fun.
Our senior Patrol runs the Troop and is trained and guided to make sound decisions. They are not always right and they certainly are not always popular, but in the end the Troop seems to meet its goals.
Maybe it’s me, but for more than a few years it seems that our Troop has been sort of black sheep within the district. Until recently the only Troop that camped strictly using Backpacking methods. This year we noticed that a few more Troops are adopting our style of camping.
There are certainly advantages and disadvantages of being a backpacking Troop in a car camping district.
Super fast set up and take down and smaller footprint. I think this one and cooking are the two things that other Troops can’t wrap their heads around. We got into camp at about 7:30 PM. Within an hour we were all set up and working on the gateway.. we will talk about the gateway later. The camp site gets up quickly and allows for the patrols to get to the business of having fun.
This morning, the Scouts hit their typical Sunday routine. They woke up and started packing. Once packed, they cooked breakfast and finished camp chores. The troop was pretty much ready to go, but given a set schedule for camporee made the choice to lolly gag around camp. This is both a disadvantage and advantage. Lots of time, and nowhere to go when it comes to waiting on the rest of the schedule.
Cooking and clean up is easy and not without a good meal plan. A big misconception is that backpackers only eat freeze-dried cardboard. Not so. If you can cook it on a green stove, you can cook it backpacking and this was demonstrated all weekend as the boys cooked great meals
Lighter loads made for easy load out and pack up. I figure this is where many Troops have a problem with the way we camp. Immediately after closing ceremonies we were loaded in the cars and on our way home. As we drove off we could see the “heavy Troops” still taking down camp and loading up the trailers.
Now, I don’t really have a problem with the car camping style.. it’s just not for me and certainly not for our Troop. It is nice to wake up cook, clean up, pack and hike out. Makes for happy Scouts that, at the end of a good weekend can look forward to easy tear down of camp. A couple of our Scouts were talking with one of the troops next to us. They reported that the Scouts were not happy that they had at least an hour of clean up, tear down, and then put away once they got home. It is so much easier to load a bunch of backpacks into the truck and drive away.
To be honest, I find no merit in making the Scouts unhappy.
Our Troop never scores well on the camp site inspection, largely in part to the fact that the folks doing the grading don’t know what to look for. They are looking for patrol boxes, watch stations, and tents that are all pitched in a row with even spacing and Canopies to cook under. We don’t get scored high because our cook kits are put away after each meal and our food is hung in bear bags. They don’t see the little bottle of camp suds that we use to clean our pots and mess kits and they are not used to seeing single person tents or tarp set ups. So we have grown accustomed to just camping and having a fun weekend at camp o ree. The Scouts don’t seem to mind that we don’t “win” each year, but it is clear that they have a great time. That is not say that the Patrols don’t come away empty-handed. Each year they show well in the events and always take home ribbons. But as a total score, I am afraid that we won’t get the grand prize until the committee decides to grade backpacking troops fairly. This is going to be an issue in the near future as more troops are adopting our style of camping.
We had a large group of Webelos camp with us this year. A Troop guide volunteered to be their guide all weekend and he did a spectacular job. I think of the 8 Webelos, we should get at least 6 of them to cross over into the Troop. They are motivated and liked the way we camped and had fun. The Dad’s that camped with us from the Webelos seemed to have a good time and were impressed with the way our boys ran the troop. It was a good opportunity for them to see the Troops of the District all at once. It was really good for us when they noticed a couple of troops that had the moms and dads doing all the cooking for the boys. ”That is not the way Scouting should be” said one of the Dad’s. I could not help be agree.
Where are the judges when the Scouts are not doing their own cooking.. but hey to each their own. That’s not how we do it. Green Bar Bill is flipping in his grave.
Our Scouts did a great job this weekend.. Perfect, No… but perfect in the way we do Scouting.
We had a real fun time this weekend and like I said at the beginning.. I am proud of the Scouts of my troop.
Our Assistant Senior Patrol Leader got an opportunity to lead the Troop this weekend and continued to develop into a good leader. He stepped up and did a nice job. It was nice to work with him and teach him some leadership techniques. Watching him apply them was rewarding for both him and I. Real proud of him… he will be a great Senior Patrol Leader.
Our Senior Patrol leader was torn this weekend between the Venturing Crew that he is a member of and the Troop. He did a fantastic job this weekend, but I could tell that he was torn when the Crew earned the Top spot for Crews this year.
Each Scout learned something this weekend and once again tested leadership and skills. It’s those things that make me a proud Scoutmaster.
Have a great Scouting Day!
<Insert tongue in cheek>
If you have 4:06 now is the time to sit and watch beautiful burn patterns on alcohol stoves. Yes, we are getting back into the swing of real pressing issues. Gear!
I picked up the Trangia stove recently and other than taking it out of the box have not really messed with it.
The Trangia stove looks, feels, and measures exactly like the Esbit stove that has become my favorite.
So I threw 1 fl. oz of denatured alcohol in each of them and sat and watched for 8 plus minutes as they burned. I wanted to see which would go out first. Maybe there is a jet pattern difference that would cause a difference in burn rate. Maybe there was a material design internally that would cause one to burn faster than the other. Really though… oh… no… you almost got me… you have to watch to see who wins.
Enjoy the video.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Today I saw a tweet from a guy I follow. He is an AT section hiker and shared this video, a humorous look at the MSR Reactor stove. I have never used a Reactor, but I have seen them and think that they are pretty neat. They are way to big for me and not really my cup of tea when it comes to stoves, but the video is funny and as I have stated before reinforces some of the reasons I am not a big fan of the Jet Boil.
All of that to say… Enjoy the video.. I thought it was funny.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Thank you all so much fo your response to the 1000th Post Give away! It was nice to read all the comments and I thank you all for continuing to read the blog. I hope that you all get as much out of it as I get putting into it. Every day we learn something new, share something that we think, and have fun together in this great online community.
So without further delay.. The winner of the Imusa Mug Cook kit.. which includes a 12 cm Imusa Mug, an Esbit Alcohol Burner, a fuel bottle, windshield/pot stand and a base pad for those chilly mornings when you need to have a tad bit more insulation..
Congratulations.. email your address and I will get your cook kit in the mail! I am sure you will love this kit as much as I do.
Ok.. now that that is over.. I need help finding some video editing software. I got a new camera and it records in .MOV format. I need software that is easy to use so I can get the Sunday Coffee videos up on time. I love the camera… not to jazzed about not having editing software to edit and save the video.
If you know of some, please drop me a note… free would be a great price.. but whatever.. I need it quick.
Thanks all once again for the comments!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Had all the stoves out today and it got to be about lunch time… Well…
Here’s some Bonus video of a nice lunch meal on the trail… Oh and the Cheese cake (left over from the Cheese Cake factory).. a great bonus to the lunch. YUM!
Enjoy and Have a Great Scouting Day!
This week we talk about cook kits, more to the point of stoves and the pots I use with them.
We also get into a bit of Knife talk and have a nice cup of Tea.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
This weeks Sunday Coffee with Scoutmaster Jerry is full of coffee and adventure..
This weekend our Troop camped out up at White River on Mt. Hood. It was a great time and lots of skills practiced and learned.
Sunday Morning around 4:00 AM our Troop encountered an unexpected attack. We typically camp on the other side of a creek that flows adjacent to the White River snow park. This is a good location as this camp out is always the first Winter camp out in snow for the new Scouts. The location provides a good bail out plan and the comfort that the cars are not to far if we need them. Anyway… this year the snow bridge was gone so we picked a camp site a bit closer to the parking lot. We have camped there before, but this year was different. At 4:00 AM the Oregon Department of Transportation snow crew cleaned up the snow park. They plowed the parking lot and then sent in the snow blower Now I don’t know about you but I had never felt the wrath of 100 lbs of snow shot from a cannon before.. until this morning!
Hope you enjoy the video.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Today’s Sunday coffee is gear heavy. eerrrr light.
This week I once again received a few pieces of the Birthday list. Dutch Hooks to add to the z line for the tarp and my new stove the solo stove.
Here are the links to see these items close up.
Z line (Spectra)
Dutchware – Dutch Hooks
2QzQ – Grizz Beak
The Ultimate Hang by Derek Hansen
I will be doing a complete review of both the Solo Stove and the Book “the Ultimate Hang” in the very near future, but at first look and read they are both items that you need to add to your gear bag and book shelf.
This week I have been away from the blog a little too much. It has been one of those weeks, but rest assured all is well.
Next week some time I will be posting my final podcast with PTC Media… then it will be up in the air as to how I keep the podcast alive. Suggestions, let me know.
OK.. enjoy the video.
Have a Great Scouting Day!