This weekend our District held its annual Webelos Woods camp out. The attendance was very bad this year, some blamed it on a date change, while others placed the blame on Homecoming weekend at most of the high Schools in our area. Well, I should reserve judgement and so I will just say that the Troops that thought it was an important event, and the Packs that know that it is a good way to check out the Boy Scout Program took the time to show up. They at least put out effort to provide a program for the Webelos Scouts that will soon be crossing over. So kudos to those units that took the time to participate.
Our Troop had a dozen or more that attended giving a lot of junior leaders an opportunity to step up and lead. We set up our bi- pod climbing event this year which is always a hit. With the low attendance, there was plenty of time for everyone to climb as much as they wanted.
This is a big recruiting event for Troops, and in most cases a lost opportunity. It is a chance to show case your unit and develop relationships with Webelos Dens and Cub Scout Packs. Throughout the day I helped with Boy Scout Training evey once in a while peaking in on the Troop to make sure all was going smooth. It was.
After the training sessions and most of the activitues wrapped up a couple of Cub Scouters came to a few of us Scoutmasters to ask those critical questions, you know those questions that every one should ask when looking for a Troop to cross over. Is the troop Scout led? What kind of Outdoor program do you have? Is the Order of Arrow important to you and your Scouts? Are you a merit badge factory? You can always tell the folks that are looking for a good troop by the questions that they ask. So we stood and talked about our programs for about an hour answering any and all questions. It was a lot of fun.
After the big camp fire program on Saturday night, a Webelos den leader asked if I had a few minutes to talk with her Scouts. Of course I replied that I had all the time that they needed so we went to the dinning hall were a lot of folks had gathered to escape the chilly evening air.
I found a table and soon a crowd of parents, Cub Scout leaders, and one of my Assistant Scoutmasters had gathered at the table. The Q & A session picked up where it had left off earlier in the day, but more discussion about details of the progam and thoughts on discipline, expectations, and philosophy of Scouting became the subjects.
I shared my philosphy on Troops being different ice cream flavors and how they represent the different ways in which we deliver the promise of Scouting. I told the parents that while I would love for their sons to join my Troop, not all of them will like our flavor. I would rather see them join a different Troop were they will find a place that they want to be than join a Troop and not be an active participant and then drop out.
i told the group that the beauty of the Scouting program and allowing Troops to have their own flavor is that the boy can find his adventure. He can pick and choose that unit that he feels right in, the unit that will meet his scouting needs. It is how Scouting works for so many young men. I think that is a great part of this organization.
Then the boys came over… and that is when the fun began. They had great questions and shared stories with me. We had a great time. I hope that some of them come to my Troop. I would love to have all of them, but know that we just won’t work for some Scouts and their families. We spent the better part of an hour and half laughing, talking, an answering questions with those young men, it was a great evening.
I think that when we offer our program to young men that we need to make sure that we allow them to seek and find their adventiure. Scoutmasters should not be so quick to just expect a crossing over Scout to come to their Troop just because they always came from “that pack”. Scoutmasters should be willing to assist those young boys to find their adventure.
Based on what I saw this weekend.. they are looking, and I hope they found it with our Troop.
Have a Great Scouting day!
It has been a long while since I have talked about my backpack, and now that we are getting into the colder weather camping mode, I thought that I would update my progress to a 16 lb base weight in 52 weeks.
Well, here is the bottom line. I think I am were I want to be.
After all of this process I have found that this journey is not about weight and what other people have in their packs. It is about me and what I have.
I have shared the Hike Your Own Hike principle before and this journey has really made that come alive. But not just in reducing weight, but refining my attitude.
I am at 18 lbs base weight.. actually floating between 17 and 18 pounds.. so I am calling it 18. Can I shave those last 2 lbs? Yes I can, but I don’t think I am going to. Here is why. When I started this process, I shared the reasons for doing this. I have achieved those goals. My pack is very comfortable. It rides very well and it holds everything I need to be comfortable in the woods. At 17 to 18 pounds I can be comfortable and safe. I can enjoy the hike and arrive in camp fresh. I do not have to do without luxury items and I don’t have to worry about “weight penalties”. I can eat well, sleep well, and hike well. I can enjoy my time in camp as well as time on the trail.
Does this mean I am done playing with gear, tweeking, and testing? Nope, I am going to keep toying with the load, but what I have right now is a great set up and I am very happy with it. IF, I were to stop today and just say that what I have is what I have and that is what I will have to backpack with.. I would be very happy. BUT, I don’t have to say that and so I will keep playing with this great hobby.
Now so far as 52 to 16. I am done. I am were I want to be and have found my carrying load. Like I said, could I shave 2 more pounds. Yeah… but right now, I am not willing to give up that couple pieces of gear that are costing me the weight. That is not to say that if an equal piece of gear comes along that weighs less I won’t replace it. I more than likely will.
Hiking your own hike has become very important to me. Keeping up with what a magazine says or things that are shared on a forum or the look you get on the trail mean less to me than MY journey. A journey that I want to share, but in a way that encourages others to get on the trail on their own journey.
“I only went out for a walk,and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” John Muir
I will be posting my gear list soon, along with the weights for you to see where I have landed. In the mean time, get your pack and go out and find your journey.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
This weekend our Troop set out again looking for adventure. It really didn’t dawn on me till we were an hour into the cave, but the cave represented that spirit of adventure that seems to define our Troop. Stepping outside of our comfort zone, pushing the limits of what we think we can’t do, testing skills, learning new ones, pushing the boundaries of our leadership know how and of course having fun.
We camped out in the middle of now where just outside of Carson, Washington. A place that we as a Troop rarely venture. Friday night we camped at a horse camp. A horse camp in that there is places that you can tie up your horse, other than that.. it was a camp site, like any other. Saturday morning we got up, packed, and started backpacking our way down to Lava Caves. It was only a 2.3 mile hike, but it was through some of the most beautiful forest I have hiked though.
We arrived at the camp site and things set up. There was a threat of rain, so that motivated the boys to get camp set, that and the fact that they really wanted to get into the cave.
Helmets went on, head lamps checked and we entered the edge of the cave entrance. I took a look around at the Scouts as they entered the cave. Some of th boys had a look of uncertainty while others were ready to jump right in. Once we got to the point were the world turned black I could see the more timid of the Scouts staying real close to the older guys.
We got to one area in the cave where the guys decided to get everyone close and turn out all the lights. The spirit of adventure had called. All of the lights went out and we sat in pitch darkness, no wind, no birds, no rain, nothing. Dark and quiet. Then a nervious request to turn the lights back on.
We turned them on and continued into the depths of the Lava cave. A cave that was carved out by the flow of hot lava thousands of years ago. Untouched by anything other than an occasional cave explorer. By the time we hit our next break in a big room of the cave, the youngster that asked for the lights to be turned on now led the crowd to get the lights off again. We stood again in the dark and quiet, this time a few of the guys chimed in with how cool it was to be in a cave on a camp out. While they all agreed that they would not want to camp in the cave, it was cool to be in there.
This morning during our Scouts own time before we headed home, we talked about the power of nature. From the 2.3 mile hike through gorgeous forest to time spent in a cave carved out by the hot mass of lava. It is that same power in the Spirit of Adventure that drives us to do cool stuff, seek out adventure and push our limits. It is that Spirit that separates our Scouts from their classmates. It is that spirit that has defined our Troop and keeps them coming back for more and sharing their adventures with friends that come out and join us. It is the spirit that makes us a Troop that will be around for a long time always looking for adventure.
When our Troop first started they made up their troop song or cheer, they have since changed it to a real cool cheer, but the first cheer of our Troop had in it a line that set us on a course of adventure. “We’re the Scouts of 664 and this is our Troop yell… we’re looking for adventure, we’re on the Eagle trail…”
The Spirit of Adventure.. alive and well.
HAVE A GREAT SCOUTING DAY!
I’m sorry if this week is real video heavy on the blog… but sometimes video is a great way to get the information out there.
This video is all about the basics of hammock camping. I have been getting lots of questions as to what type of gear to have and the way I set up my hammock. Well… here it is. I set it up this way every time. It is simple, easy, and super comfortable. This set up has reduced the weight in my pack, made set up and take down a snap, and is perfect for me.
I am not suggesting that you run out and get what I have, although I have provided the information and places on the were you can find what I have in the event that you really like my set up.
I would strongly encourage you to “test drive” as much as you can. Hammocks do not all lay the same and have the same comfort. I have two hammocks and prefer one over the other in the comfort department.
Another example of fitting the hammock to your needs is your body type. Weight and height play a big part in the type of hammock you get. I have a 1.1 double layer hammock. If you exceed 230 lbs, you may need 1.7 nylon for the added strength. You may need a longer hammock. The longer (11 ft.) hammocks are very comfortable. Find people in your area that hammock camp and lay down in theirs to get a feel. Go to hammockforums.net and read up on what the folks that use them all the time say. Ask questions.
Hammock camping is not for everyone. But it is for me and I love to talk about it. I do not know anyone that hammock camps that hates it. I get the best nights sleep in the hammock and I love the challenge of toying with my gear, tweeking things here and there, and getting out in the woods.
I hope this video is helpful.
If you have questions or comments, leave them in the comments section or drop me an email, I will be glad to help you out.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Ran into this today while bouncing around YouTube… after spending the last 3 and half days on the PCT, I really got the Philmont itch, the Tooth of Time is Chewing on me.
Our last night at Philmont at the closing camp fire they played this song and it has become one of the lasting marks Philmont left on me.
Enjoy the music and the video. Man I really Wanna go back to Philmont!
In this video I demonstrate the way that I carry and purify my water.
Water is an essential part of backpacking, and in the discussion of hammock camping systems this becomes a large part of how we camp and the gear we use within the system.
My philosophy is to keep everything simple. This water filtering method is just that.
Have a Great Scouting Day!