Derek Hansen, Scoutmaster, lightweight backpacker, and as his website says “hammock enthusiast”, recently sent me a copy of his book “The Ultimate Hang”. It is an illustrated guide to hammock camping and a book that even the most experienced hammock camper or backpacker should have on their shelf.
I read the book, skimming through some parts and diving into others in a weekend. It is an easy read and Derek has made learning more about hammock camping fun and simple through great illustrations.
I started hammock camping after the 2010 National Scout Jamboree where Hennessey Hammocks had a cool display. What first caught my eye was the affiliation that the hammock campers have with Leave No Trace. Even at the National Jamboree the Hammock display was set up next to the Leave No Trace organizations (LNT.org) display and activity center. I had just finished the Leave No Trace trainer course and so pairing the two was a natural fit. I wish I would have had “The Ultimate Hang” when I started gearing up for hammock camping. Starting on page 34 Derek covers the principles of leave no trace. Perfect!
The book takes the novice and experienced camper step by step to ensure a great hammock camping experience. Now, it won’t say that in the book, but take it from me. If you do the things in the book, picking a choosing the gear that meets your needs and the set up that you are comfortable with, you will have a great experience.
That brings me to gear. Derek does not tell you what you should have. He demonstrates it all in this book. From whoopie slings to webbing and buckles. Bridge style hammocks to the “Bat hammock” he shows it all and lets the reader decide what he or she would be most comfortable in.
Even if you are not a hammock camper, there is something in this book for you. How to select a good camp site. The “Bearmuda Triangle” and an extensive discussion on tarps.
The book is interactive with QR codes that lead to web sites for more information.
Over all I find that this book is a great resource and a must have certainly for hammock campers, but for backpackers alike.
I highly recommend this book. You can order the book at The Ultimate Hang.com. At the website you can also get some fantastic advice, ideas, and thoughts on backpacking in the blog section. You need to check this out.
illustration from “the Ultimate Hang”
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: Backpacking, blog, camp skills, Camping, gear, Hammock, planning, stories, Winter Camping
Tags: Book review, fun, hammock camping, hammock gear, lightweight backpacking, The Ultimate Hang
Its been a few days since my keyboard and I sat together and jotted down some thoughts… It’s been a long week and a pretty eventful one at that.
Monday we had our weekly Troop meeting, and to be honest.. I have no idea how it went. I was upstairs with a group of parents and a couple of the Assistant Scoutmasters showing what is expected in the type of gear our Scouts should have. In particular the winter gear that we need to see on the next couple camp outs. I thought it went well. It can be an overwhelming discussion to some parents and I try to keep it simple and show the parent that you don’t have to take out a loan to get the right gear. I reinforced with the parents that is about the Right gear and Not a lot of gear. To many grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles feel the need to get all the cool gadgets for their Scout and not the right stuff. Anyway, that went pretty good and I think will be an annual thing with all of the new Scout parents.
Tuesday, I got an email from a reader that really made my week. The reader called me an opinionated a**. That’s ok, I can live with that.. what really got me was the reader said that “someone who gets paid from the Boy Scouts of America should watch what I say”. Now that’s where I draw the line. There are many good Professional Scouters out there.. but I’m not one of them. I pay to do this thing called Scouting and like it. I have not worked a day in my life in the employment of the Boy Scouts of America… nope.. I’m just a Scoutmaster, a run of the mill volunteer. And yep.. I am an opinionated a**… but it’s my blog and so unless I am spouting off nonsense contrary to Scouting’s Values and methods… ahhh.. it’s just not worth the time. But thanks for that nice email and I appreciate your comments… Kill ‘em with kindness my dad always said.
Wednesday I replaced the continuous ridge line on my tarp. I ordered 50 ft. of 1.55 mm Z-line spectra cord from zpacks.com. This stuff is amazing! It will hold 200 lbs.. not that I will ever have that much weight on my tarp.. but what it really did was cut weight. The old continuous ridge line was Nite ize cord. It is really good stuff too and I like the reflective taping in it.. but the Spectra is super light and tough. I only need 25 ft for the ridge line.. so I configured it like I had the old set up and went from 38 grams of line to 18 grams. Considerable weight savings.. and I am going to need it to get to my goal base weight of 16 lbs.
Thursday my kids ordered (with my help) a birthday gift for me. They ordered me a Solo Stove. I got a tracking number Thursday night and it will be here on Tuesday.. more to come on that one.
And here we are Friday night. I am getting my uniform together for tomorrows Trainers EDGE class. I am helping on the staff. Looks like I am teaching and being a guide throughout the day. It should be a great Scouting day!
I’m not sure if what I am about to say is for public consumption yet.. but I’m going to tell you anyway. I got an email the other day from Chris, our partner with PTC Media. Actually he is the leader of our network, but anyway, after months and months of no contact, Chris sent an email to all of the show hosts of PTC Media stating that essentially we are done.
The network will remain up and available so folks can listen to the shows, but so far as the future. Well, PTC has run its course. So what does that mean for me and my podcast. Well, after all the great feedback I received I did promise to keep it going. I will do one more show on the PTC network and then my affiliation there will be over. I will look for a server or a way that I can run a podcast from the blog but in the mean time I will continue to blog and produce the videos. For those of you that came to the blog via the podcast, please know that the blog was here first and has always been that medium that I have preferred. It was the blog that got the attention of Steve and an introduction to Chris and then a podcast. So the blog (which I pay for) will remain unchanged.
I want to thank everyone that supported PTC Media for the last 8 years and in particular my show. I hope that I can find the time and passion to put more out.
I thank Chris for given me the opportunity and the forum to talk about Scouting! It was a real fun ride and along the way I have personally met many of you and have developed some great friendships. Again.. nothing really will change in that regard.
Well, time to go and get a good nights sleep… I get to hang out with Phil and Adam tomorrow and I am sure I will need all the rest I can get.
Thanks for letting me get random with you. After all… I’m just an opinionated a**!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: #52to16, Backpacking, blog, camp skills, gear, Ideals, Just fun, Leadership, Methods, Oath and Law, podcast, respect, Scoutmaster minute, Skills, stories, Values, Winter Camping
Tags: backpacking, blog, opinion, podcast, PTCMedia, scout parents, Values, zpacks.com
It’s that time of the year when we all take a look back at our year and take stock in what we have learned, what we accomplished, and what we look forward to in the coming year. It is also that time of the year that all the “Lists” come out and WordPress sends us bloggers our report card.
So lets start with that. The blog is doing very well and it is all because of you the reader/viewer. Now I don’t claim to understand how blogs are rated and ranked, and I don’t know where the Scoutmasterminute.net rates among the really big blogs out there. I guess deep down inside I wish the blog was massive and only because then the world would see our Scouting world in the light in which we want it to be seen. I surf around at some of the blogs out there that are truly about nothing and see that they have thousands of followers, get millions of hits, and have what I consider sub par content. Scouting blogs seem to not get the views it should.
Resolve this coming year to tell a friend about a Scouting blog. It doesn’t have to be this one, but pick one. There are great Scouting blogs out there.
You can start with Bryan on Scouting. The official Blog of the BSA (Scouting Magazine). In typical well produced fashion the BSA has a nice product in this blog. I like that it is pretty interactive and does a nice job of telling Scouting’s story.
Then you need to check out the blogs of my Scouting friends. Scouter Adam for the Cub Scout folks out there, mixes up his personal touch as well as telling a great Scouting story. A stop in at the Boy Scout Trial is a nice site for resources, stories, and fun stuff. No list of Scouting blogs could be complete without Clarke Green’s Blog. That is a site that every Scouter should have bookmarked and visit often. Doug Metz has a nice blog out there also. I wish he would put more out there. He has a great story and I love to hear about his journey. Bobwhites Blather is another good site. I like blogs that stay current, are on topic, have fun, and speak to not only their Scouting world, but the writers other interests also.
I could list site after site that I am sure do not get enough visits and would love to see more. You can get a great idea of the Scouting blogs that are out there by visiting my friend Gregg’s Half Eagle.com. I would be remiss if I did not give a shout out to the guy that pretty much got me interested and encouraged me to keep it going. Steve. His Blog has been out there for a long time. Steve has a unique take on Scouting from the perspective of a small town and small troop that has been there and done that. Steve was a Scoutmaster for 30 years and just can’t walk away. And for that we are all better.
If I left you off the list it is not intended to slight you or say that you do not have a great story. The list I just named was pretty much in the order they appear on my favorites list.. which is pretty random at best. There are great blogs out there.. but google Scouting blogs and see what you get. We need to be up on the top of that list.
The point is we need to get better at supporting one another. We need to tell Scouting’s story and get Scouting out front in a positive light.
Today I did receive my “Year in review” from WordPress. They give an option to share, but the numbers really do not mean anything unless they are placed in context. So I thought I would share, but in the context of you the great reader.
This blog was visited 52,000 times this last year. That to me is pretty darn good. But once again, I think it is to the Choir that we preach. And yep, the Choir needs to hear the sermon, but telling Scouting’s story and sharing tips and tricks for the trail is something that I want more to see. Believe me when I say that my ego does not this blog. I do it cause I like it and it is helping I am sure. In some small way 52,000 views lended a hand in someones Scouting life or life as a camper.
I was surprised to see that I only posted (as of yesterday) 133 new posts to the blog. And then upon further review I noticed that there were some real thin months for blogging out there.
So for 2013 I resolve to write more and post more to the blog.
2013 saw a major increase in feedback to the blog also and I want to thank everyone that made a contribution to the conversation. I especially want to thank Allan Green. Allan was the top contributor to the blog, lending his comments and feedback more than anyone else. Thanks Allan. Send me your address and I have something for you.
This year in Scouting for me took me to Philmont. Scouting’s paradise and I fell in love with the trails, the mountains, the canyon country that is the Sange de Christo range. The trip to Philmont for me was extremely special in many ways. Taking 2 crews from our Troop on an adventure of that magnitude was a challenge and an experience of a life time. It was not a once in a life time adventure, but a mountain top experience that touched me spiritually, physically, and mentally. I got to see the very best in Scouts and Scouting while watching our crew grow and develop and have a lot of fun. Philmont was the Scouting high light of the year for me.
Our grew again this year, and we lost some boys along the way. But in the end, the program got stronger and the Scouts got better. Youth leadership met many challenges this year and came out better for it. With a great plan going into 2013 I look forward to the many adventures that lay ahead.
Personally I grew this year. My relationships and my friendships are stronger.
And then there is the obsession with my backpack.
I have set a goal to reduce volume and weight from my pack. This is going to be a lengthy project and one that I will have fun doing. Playing with gear, testing new items and ideas and developing a lighter philosophy when it comes to hitting the trail. I look forward to that and sharing that with you here on the blog.
2012 was a good year. 2013 is going to be better.
Resolve to make changes in your life. Resolve to make your world better, your self better, and those around you better.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
More Scouting Blogs that I failed to add to the post:
Scouter Mom’s Blog
Scoutmaster Shawn’s Blog
Phil Pecks blog
Nick from across the pond
Bryan Spellman’s blog
Kevin Devin’s Blog of his interest!
And there are a bunch more.. make sure you visit them. Hit the like button and share them!
Categories: blog, camp skills, Camping, comments, Cooking, gear, Hammock, Journey to Excellence, Just fun, Leadership, Methods, planning, podcast, Scoutmaster minute, Service, Skills, stories, Values, Wood Badge
Tags: backpacking, Blogging, Boy Scouts, New Year, New Years resolutions, Scouters, Scouting Blogs, Scoutmasters, Ultra light, WordPress, Writing
Under the Dining Fly
It was our third night on the trail at Philmont. We had hiked into Harlan Camp from Dean Cow that afternoon. It was a monster hike taking us out of Dean canyon, under the highway, over the Cimarron river and then back up through Vaca Camp and then into Harlan. We got into camp with enough time for the crew to reload shot-gun shells and then shoot some. After camp was set up and dinner cooked, it was time for the Burro racing event and then settling into our nightly in camp routine. Part of that routine was our nightly round of Roses, Thorns, and Buds. A great time of reflection and a nice time to get something off your chest. By day three on the trail we were all dealing with what they call “Day Three syndrome” at Philmont. In reality it didn’t really hit our crew that hard, but the back to back long days and lots of miles were taking its toll on the crew this evening.
After the Burro racing, the crew made its way back to camp and got the “oops bag” hung. As was the common trend the rain was heading in for the evening. We dodged it on the hike that day, but the clouds rolled in quick and it began to thunder. The crew thought it may be a good idea to do Roses and Thorns under the dinning fly. Now if you have never been to Philmont you may be thinking pop up or big tarp. Nay Nay.. at Philmont the dining fly is about 3 feet off the ground. It is a 12 X 12 tarp with grommets all around. It is pitched low using trekking poles. It is the first thing to be set up in camp and is the host of the crews toilet paper for those trips to the Red Roof Inn in the middle of the night.
Needless to say it is a tight fit when you get a whole crew under the fly… but we did it. We got under right as the rain started.
And it rained, hard. And the thunder boomed, and then the lightning started. A spectacular show of light in the sky. The crashing of the thunder kept the Scouts of the crew oohing and awhing why we shared our Roses and Thorns. The show really picked up as we wrapped up our nightly discussion, but the rain was telling us to stay put. So, as darkness fell on our camp, the jokes added to the symphony in the sky. All the while one member of our crew took the time to count the flash to boom. Announcing each lightning strike with the distance. It started to get funny as the distance announcement seemed to always follow the punch line of a joke. Then, just when we thought the laughter could not get more loud, here came the gas. Yep, whatever we had for dinner started to revisit us in the form of an aroma that would gag a skunk.
And the rain kept coming down, harder still and the lightning became more frequent. And then it was a flash of light, a boom of thunder, a fart, and .. “Wow! That one was 1 mile away”. Then again, a flash, a boom, a fart… “Wow that one was 6 miles away!”.. and then a Flash, a boom, a fart.. and another voice chimed in.. “Wow! That one was three feet away!” An eruption of laughter! It was laughter that I had not heard in years. The crew laughed so hard most of us were in tears.
Then silence. Just the sound of rain on the tarp, the crash of thunder, and the sighs of a group of backpackers that were having the time of their lives.
We laid there under that tarp for another hour or so and finally it was time to get to our tents. The rain never let up that night and as we climbed into our sleeping bags the only sound we heard besides the rain was voices from inside the tents looking forward to another great day on the trail at Philmont.
It started to sprinkle here today, for just a minute. And just for a minute I thought of that night at Harlan camp. A flash, a boom, and a fart.. How far was that?
Have a Great Scouting Day!
As everyone that reads this blog knows, the BSA’s new(er) slogan is as the title reads… “Prepared. For Life”. I have often stayed away from advertising gimmicks and jingles.. “An Army of One”, and “Be all that you can Be” come to mind. But this one hit home as I thought about how Scouting does impact our lives. Yesterday was my first day back from vacation and so I spent a little time catching up on emails, reading my favorite blogs, and cleaning camping gear. My good buddy Adam posted a piece about his vacation last week. It is a great article and illustrated just how Scouting is Preparing us for life.
I was and I suppose still am reluctant to tell this story in light of Adams blog post, but once again I find myself in need of sharing this wonderful thing called Scouting.
Last week we spent at Glacier National Park. If you have never been.. GO! It is truly an amazing place. So as you can imagine when I go camping I go prepared. We are ready to sustain for a week in comfort and have a good time out in the woods. This time was no exception. Since it was family time, I went a lot heavier than I am used to, the big cabin tent, the big stove, the coolers etc. But I still had my day pack which had my 10 essentials in it and since we were in Glacier NP, a canister of Bear spray.
One afternoon as we sat in camp, a scream came from the road in front of our camp site. The boys were throwing a football around and one fell. HE ran straight into our site crying. Why our site and not to his parents.. I don’t know. Maybe instinct told him that I had just completed the Wilderness First Aid course, or that I was a Scoutmaster, or he had no idea where he was.. either way.. here he ran into our site bleeding from the hand.
I had him sit down and told him to look me in the eyes. Josh, my youngest son, had already got to my day pack and retrieved the first aid kit. I told this youngster to relax and that he was going to be fine. His alligator tears started to dry and I just kept talking to him. Found out that in three days he would be turning 9 years old and that he was from Canada.
All the while I gloved up and started treating his cut. He had fallen on his hand and took a good layer or two of skin off his palm. Cleaning the area and bandaging with non stick pads I was done with the bleeding part. Then I started looking for possible fracture. He asked why I was poking and pressing on his wrist and hand.. I told him I wanted to make sure he was ok. He was. Right about that time, his dad came into our camp. He said he had heard the scream and started heading in this direction. I told what I had done and that I think everything is going to be ok, keep it clean and if he needed I would change the dressing the next day.
He saw the Scouting stickers on the back of my truck and made a comment about them stating that his son had run to the right place. “Who else would be ready to anything”, he said referring to the stickers.
So all of this got me to thinking about just how we Prepare our Scouts for life.
It’s not just first aid and camping skills, but as the mission statement states, Making ethical choice throughout their lives.
I often talk in this blog about character and making choices. Being fit and healthy, being of service to others, and of course skills that will help them get through life.
Scouting is a great platform for this learning, discovery, and practice of the life skills that these young men will need as they go through it. Being Prepared for as Baden Powell said.. Anything.
So it’s not just about camping and fun. It truly is a game with a purpose and all of us should remember what that purpose it. This new(er) slogan.. Prepared. For Life. Is the Boy Scouts of America mission statement in three words. It is our call to action as Scouters. It is what we are here for.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, comments, fitness, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Just fun, Leadership, Methods, Scout Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute, Service, Skills, stories, training
Tonight my son was presented his Eagle Scout Award. I can not express in words how very proud I am of him. Over the past 11 years him and I have been on a great adventure. At times the trail was rocky and hard to navigate. At other times the trail was smooth and wonderful to pass.
Over the past couple days we have been gathering the memories of his Scouting career. He had a great experience in Scouting and I am glad that I was able to come along.
This video is the presentation that we showed at the Court of Honor tonight. After the video he was given the Eagle Challange and Charge and repeated the Eagle Oath. This was presented by my father, John’s Opa and our Troops Eagle Mentor. He was presented his Eagle Certificate by my father in law, an Eagle Scout. The voices you hear in the video are my wife (John’s mom), his twin sister, and me. John’s brother, currently a Life Scout was the master of ceremonies. There was a great crowd of Scouts, Scouters, family, and friends in attendance. I am a little biased, but it was one of the finest Eagle ceremonies I have seen. John delivered a wonderful speech about his Scouting experience and thanked many people for helping him along the way.
Enjoy the video. I am so proud of this young man, he’s the kind of young man you would love to have as your son… but he’s mine and I am proud.
Categories: Advancement, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Leadership, Oath and Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute, Service, stories, Values
Spending time with your Scouts on C.O.P.E courses is a wonderful experience. Scouts are challenged to step away from what they know is comfortable. The team building exercises and challenging tasks push Scouts to push themselves, not only for the sake of pushing themselves, but for the sake of the team. Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience courses test the Scouts to do their best.
The other thing that C.O.P.E teaches is the idea that Scouting is among other things a “Personal Experience”. Now it is wrapped up within Patrols, Troops, and buddy teams, but at the end of the day, it is up to the Scout to demonstrate self-reliance and have an attitude that he is willing to accomplish any task that he gets the personal experience. Our Method of Advancement is one way that is completely a personal experience in Scouting.
The Scout is responsible for his advancement. If he wants to be an Eagle Scout, there is nothing in his way except for himself. The requirements are clearly outlined in his handbook, he has the support of his Adult leadership, and he is driven to complete the task. Advancement is up to him. Not his buddies, his Scoutmaster, or parents.
The merit badge program is much like the advancement method in that it to is a personal experience for the Scout. There are required merit badges, but by and large with the large amount of badges spanning every vocation, hobby, sports, and skills, the Scout can pick and choose what he likes, wants, and needs to move forward with his Scouting experience.
Last night I talked with many of the new parents about Summer camp. They had questions about merit badges and what we expect the Scouts to do… more so… what merit badges I expect the Scouts to earn while at camp. My answer was received better by some parents than others. My answer was that it was up to the Scout on what he earns and how many merit badges he try to earn. My expectation is that they have fun at Summer camp. If that means 6 merit badges or no merit badges I am ok with that. “But we are paying a lot of money for summer camp” a parent said… yes I understand that. What do you think you are paying for? In my opinion we pay for the personal and shared experiences that are found only at Summer camp. Summer camp is a week-long C.O.P.E course. There are challenges, skills, and tests all week. How the Scouts handle those both as individuals and as a team determines the success of the week at camp. Merit badges and how many the Troop can earn is not the measure of success. In the end, not one merit badge will lead to a memory that they share. I can tell you stories all day long about the summer camps that I attended from 1978 to 1984. But I can only tell you 1 story about a merit badge, and it really had little to do with the badge, it had more to do with me falling asleep and getting lost while trying to earn it. My expectation is that the Scouts have fun and build a catalog of memories. I want them to have a great Personal Experience in Scouting.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: Advancement, blog, camp skills, High Adventure, Ideals, Just fun, Methods, Skills, stories, Summer Camp, teamwork, Values
In this show I have a lengthy chat with a fellow Scoutmaster and great Friend Bob Pierce. Join us as we talk a little bit about everything. Jamboree, Dutch oven cooking, Troop Guides, JLT, Anuual planning, Parents and Philmont just to cover some of the bases. It’s what happens Scoutmasters get together and shoot the breeze. The show was recorded on location at the Annual rendezvous of the Order of the Arrow at Camp Meriwether, so the crashing of waves and other camp sounds fill the background of this nice talk with my buddy Bob.
Hope you enjoy the show.
Please leave some feedback, drop us an email, or leave a comment in the comments section. Thanks for listening.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: camp skills, Character, Cooking, gear, High Adventure, Jamboree, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Order of the Arrow, Patrol Method, planning, podcast, stories, training, Webelos to Scout Transition
Over the last quarter of the year last year (2011) we received a bunch of new Scouts into the Troop. They all seemed real gung ho about joining and could not wait for the adventure to begin.
We are preparing for our first winter camp out with the new Scouts right now. In two weeks, we will be taking them up on Mt. Hood for their first weekend with the Troop and after the last few weeks and what’s left of January worth the training, they will step off on their Scouting adventure.
Last night at the Troop meeting the Scouts demonstrated layering. Each Scout showed up and was inspected by the older Scouts in their winter clothing. They were given a pass or no pass on their choice of winter clothing. They all did great.
I gave out a bunch of spare stuff I have been collecting and outfitted about 5 Scouts with pants, sleeping bags, and other cold weather items.
When these new guys crossed over in November we talked about gear expectations and what they needed to have versus what we would provide. I explained to them that they were joining at the perfect time.. Right before Christmas and gave them suggestions for their Christmas wish list.
So last night as I talked with a few of the new parents and answered their questions and concerns the subject of gear came up. It became obvious that lots of camping gear appeared under the Christmas trees of many of the Scouts.. nay.. all of the Scouts got some piece of new gear.
One of the new Scouts came up to me and said he was excited about the up coming camp out. He asked if he was going to be cooking for himself and his buddy on the trip.. I replied that most certainly he would be cooking if he was going to eat. He got a huge smile on his face and said . YEAH!!! I got a stove for Christmas! So I asked him what kind.. “The Jet Boil SOL” he said. Now, I have said before that I am not a big fan of the Jet Boil… but these new units are much improved.. so I may be swayed a little. Then the little guy got me… he said he’d been cooking on his new stove at home. I said fantastic. His mom chimed in stating that he had made spaghetti and a few Mountain House meals.. then the Scouts told me.. “A MINUTE 45!” I said “Whats that?” He said he can do Hot Choco in 1:45! His smile was from ear to ear. Just then, I had a crowd of the new Scout patrol around me.. They were all sharing with me all the cool camping gear they had got at Christmas. I was smiling and laughing with them.. and of course shared the list of cool camping gear I got for Christmas too. One of the mom’s told me that I had created a gear monster! SCORE ONE FOR THE SCOUTMASTER!
These new kids are ready to go and pumped up! They are embracing the adventure and I look forward to many adventures with them!
Last night’s Troop meeting was the Scoutmaster Pay off!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
There once was two young Indian braves that were best of friends. They grew together, hunting, playing, and learning to be men in the tribe. Over time, both of these men caught the eye of a young women in the tribe, and they both began to try to win her heart.
As time went on, the young women favored one over the other and they began to court. This angered the other friend and he began to speak of his friend in ways that ultimately destroyed their friendship and the honor of young man preparing to be married. He said vicious things about his family, he talked about this character in ways that ruined the reputation of the brave.
One day as the two former friends passed, he noticed that he had truly hurt him, a tear was in his eye. The brave that slandered his fellow tribesman ran to the Wiseman of the tribe.
He asked the Wiseman if there was any way to repair the damage that had been done.
The Wiseman instructed him to go and climb to the highest peak, there he would find the nest of an Eagle. In that nest would be feathers, he was to gather up all of the feathers and bring them back to the village.
The young brave set off of the journey to the highest peak. Days upon days, he walked, always thinking about the things that he had done. He reached the mountain and began to climb until he finally found the nest on the peak. He gathered the feathers and started his journey back to the village.
He was greeted at the village gate by the Wiseman. “I have done as you instructed” he declared showing the feathers.
“Good, now return to the peak and let the feathers go.. let them fly to the North and the South, the East and West” said the Wiseman.
And so the brave turned and started his second journey to the peak. He arrived at the mountain top and let loose the feathers. They blew in every direction.
Upon returning to the village, the brave once again was greeted by the Wiseman. “I have let loose all the feathered and they have blown across the land” said the brave. “Good, my son, now go and pick up all of the feathers that you have scattered” the Wiseman replied. “That is impossible, I can never find, nor pick up all of the feathers that I have spread across the country side. There are to many, and I do not know where they have gone.”
“Such are your words” the Wiseman began, “Once you loose your words, like the ringing of a bell or the letting go of the feathers, you can never take them back or collect them again. They are gone, in the wind, and where they land you will never know. Hurtful words and words that bring pain and disrepute can never be taken back, so if you are to spread your words, make sure they are good and helpful. Words that heal and are friendly.”
The words of the Wiseman are so true. Words mean nothing, until they touch the ears of the listener. Make them count.
Think before you talk and be watchful of how you speak.
All of us can learn from this message, I have.
Have a Great Scouting Day!