Just got home from a couple much needed days on the Pacific Crest Trail. My buddy Mark and I hit the trail on Sunday for a few days of lolly gagging south bound from Timberline Lodge down to Frog Lake.
Here is the video I shot.
I also shot some video on hammock stuff that I will be posting in the very near future.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
It seems as though there has been a lot of talk about hammock camping in the Scouting community lately. And boy does that make me happy.
I have been a hammock camper now since 2010 when I got turned on to the most comfortable way to camp at the National Jamboree at Ft. A.P. Hill. Hennessy Hammocks had a cool display set up and even gave hammocks to a troop to camp in at the Jambo. I thought it was a cool idea and decided to take one for a test ride. 2 days after I got home from Jamboree, I ordered my first hammock and besides our trek at Philmont I have not slept a night on the ground.
Hammock camping is much more than just sleeping in a hammock, it becomes a method or style of camping. As different as car camping and backpacking, hammock camping requires a skill set that is different than setting up a tent. Hammock camping requires the camper to have the skills to select a camp site, develop gear, and in most cases evaluate what is in the pack and how the items in the pack are deployed.
Now, hammock campers are not always backpackers, and they are not always looking for ways to lighten up the load, but what I have found is that some of it goes hand in hand. Recently on the Hammock Forums there was a poll conducted to survey the average age of hammock campers. The survey was obviously not scientific and did not ask what style of camping the participants use.. I found it interesting that on the forum anyway, that the average age was between 40 and 49 years old. Now in my opinion that age group is due to a few things. First, folks in that age group need lighter gear in their packs. This is the case with me. Knees getting older, the want to stay out in the woods, and in our Scouting world, keep up with the youngster. The hammock set up is lighter. Second, the hammock gear is such that it can be a little more expensive or requires some degree of Do it yourself. This age group seems to have both the funds and time and patients for the DIY projects.
So what does this have to do with Hammock camping in Scouting? Well, here is how I see it. In our troop since we focus on the backpacking style of camping, introducing hammocks to Scouts is a sure fire way to get them to like their time on the trail. The hammock set up as I stated is lighter. So, if the pack is lighter they have a better time hiking. Skills. Again, like I said there are certain skills that most hammock campers develop. Now, before I go on, yes you can get a Hennessy hammock complete with tarp that is out of the bag ready to use. But most hammock campers tweek, modify, and set up their gear to meet their specific needs, wants, and style of camping. This is a great opportunity to really get your Scouts into planning, adjusting, and thinking about the gear they take, carry, and use. It is a way to get the Scouts to really take a close look at their set up and make it their own. With that they take pride in their gear, take care of it… and oh yeah.. use it more.
Last weekend I went to the PCT trail days event. I got to talking to a vendor there that represented the American Long Distance Hiking Association. Our conversation led us to Philmont. When I brought up the magical backpacker heaven his eye lit up and he shared that his trip to Philmont as Scout propelled him to a life long interest and love of backpacking. 2 years after trekking through the Sange De Cristo mountains he hiked the AT. We got to talking about gear and that he spends a great of his time speaking to Scout troops about light gear and getting out on the trail.
So again, what does this all have to do with getting Scouts into hammock camping.? It’s different. There are so many Scouters that believe that the only way to camp is with Patrol boxes, cleaning stations, and big tents. The transition to backpacking and looking at lighter alternatives is a new trend that will take Scouting some time to catch up.
A step in the right direction is the Leave No Trace program. A program that supports hammock camping as a great alternative to reduce our impact. I’ll talk more about that in another post. But since the BSA embraces LNT, hammock camping is a nice way to promote it. How and why… well, once again it comes down to the gear and how we use it. Teaching our Scouts to use their gear to reduce impact, lighten their loads to have a better time on the trail and develop a love of camping and mastering their ability built the set up that works for them. That pride in ownership will keep them interested in the outdoors and Scouting. We have already seen this excitement in the Scouts of our Troop that have found interest in getting away from the conventional methods of camping and moving to tarps and hammocks or bivy’s . Once a small group start in, it becomes a point of interest and then more want to try it.
There is a lot of talk about hammock camping in Scouting right now. Maybe this talk will lead to Scouting fully embracing the hammock camping style and making it part of the norm.
Over the next couple posts I am going to discuss hammock camping in depth. But here is a great start. There is a guy on the hammock forums that put this all together and I love it. It is a great way to get started in hammock camping and teaching it to Scouts. MERIT BADGE
Check it out and let me know what you think.
Have a Great Scouting day!
Living up here in Oregon, we spend our fair share of our camping time in the rain. Rust-Oleum has a product called Never Wet that is designed to not only protect but shed water, dirt and grime off of what ever you coat.
I thought, this should work on my tarp… so I purchased the product and sprayed the never wet on my tarp.. here is a video of the results.
Now that I see how well it works.. I may spray my backpack. The only thing I am not totally in love with is that it left a few blue spots on the tarp.. But the longer it hangs the more they are fading away… so time will tell.. But I can tell you that it works and I am certain that it will assist in packing in the rain. Can’t wait to see how well it works in a driving rain.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Well, it has been a long time since our last post.. I’ll get you caught up real quick and then move on to the subject for this post.. Resetting…
As you know if you have been following the blog for some time, my youngest son is a great football player. The month of June was very busy for us as each weekend took us to a different college for visits or camps. It was a long month and we spent lots of time on the road hitting 4 states and more than an hand full of schools. Football season kicks off this Friday and it will be fun to see him give it his best in his senior year. I am sure there will be more on that subject as the season progresses.
July was a busy one for the troop. We went North to summer camp and had a spectacular time. Before we knew it.. it was August and time to get ready for the coming year in Scouting.
So here we are… back in the saddle and ready for another great year. This year wil mark our Troops 10th year and my 10th year as a Scoutmaster. I am excited. It is also a year of transition in our troop. Over the last few months we has been seeing the natural attrition of leaders.
Two of the Assistant Scoutmasters have transitioned to leadership in the Venture Crew while I will be losing one of the Assistants due to the Non Discrimination policy. What does this mean for me and the Troop… I am getting new Assistants. I went to the Troop committee and asked them to support our search for three new Assistant Scoutmasters, and the search begins.
So what is it that we look for in an Assistant Scoutmaster? Well, here are some of my thoughts on the issue.
First. The leader needs to be able to work with kids. They need to be friendly and approachable and willing to exercise patience when watching the Patrol method in action.
Second. They MUST buy into the Patrol method and Youth Leadership. If they don’t accept that then they can not be an Assistant Scoutmaster in our Troop. This is key in developing leaders and having a Troop that works the way Scouting is designed to work.
Third. They MUST be trained. They need to go to all the required training by the BSA. They need to make a commitment to the boys of the troop that they are willing to put in the time to help them be better. Training is one way they do that.
Fourth. TIme. They need to commit to at least 6 of the 11 camp outs and be available on Monday nights. A lack of commitment here and they can not be effective ASMs. I don’t need Dads… I need help teaching, coaching, training, and mentoring young men.
That is the basic criteria that I have initially come up with in our search So far I have one that has stepped up and will be a great fit.
I am excited for this phase of transition in our Troop. Fresh eyes, ideas, and attitudes that will make our troop so much stronger and bring more fun for the next 10 years.
Thanks for hanging in there over the summer and being patient with the blog.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
There are many styles of leadership. There are those that insist that leaders must lead from the front. There are is the camp that won’t have those they lead do anything that they would not themselves do. There are screamers, directors, instructors, and those that won’t make a decision without consent and debate. No matter which style you find in those that lead your unit it is important to teach fundamental leadership skills. We are assisted with the EDGE Method in Scouting. I call it Pushing and Pulling. In my many years of leadership in both the military and Scouting I know a few things for certain. We find ourselves tailoring our leadership style based on those that we lead.
Sometimes we have to [figuratively]get a rope and tie it around the waist of the led and pull them along. That lends itself to guiding and being an example. When we pull from the front we show those we lead what we expect, generate motivation, and encourage the follower whole maintaining control, discipline, and getting the task accomplished.
While on the other hand sometimes we have to push. We need to get behind those we lead and push them along. Providing motivation and extra encouragement along the way. We find this in those that have trouble self-starting and finding motivation enough to do it on their own. Pushing lends itself to the Explaining and Demonstrating part of the EDGE method. The leader takes a “Hands on” approach with those he leads and is very visible in his leadership. The leader is digging in and leading from within the unit. Not out front and not bringing up the rear. The leader is right in and among the patrol.
This leadership takes the right skills and the ability to maintain balance with each member of the patrol. Some members may not need the direct hands on direction, while others may need a lot of it. When we push we need the help of other members of the patrol to encourage those that need the help.
There are a lot of different leadership styles and each of us finds that style that best suites our personality and that of those that we lead.
Whether we are pushing or pulling, we need to remember that leaders are leaders not boss’s. We don’t have dictators and we remain focused on accomplishing the task at hand.
It is our job as Scoutmasters to teach, coach, train, and mentor our Scouts and encourage them to find their style of leadership. They need to be given the ability to push and pull and develop the EDGE method in their leadership. That will lead them to success.
I appreciate your comments.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Well, it has been a while since I posted last, and if you don’t mind, I will bore you with the “why” I have been off the blog grid for a while. As you all know, if you don’t you must be new to the blog… and if you are.. welcome aboard… but as you know I have some pretty amazing kids. I am not shy about praising them and am their biggest fan. Our youngest son as you also may be aware is a darn good football player and is in the throes of the college recruiting dance. Yes I said dance. There is a process, a flow, and rhythm to this dance and for the better part of the last two years we have been learning the process and becoming very engaged.
For those of you that wear many Scouting hats and spend what seems to be endless weekends doing Scouting let me share with you my last month.
We attended the Football University Combine, then the following weekend the Nike SPARQ combine, then the Nike Football Training Camp, then a visit and camp at Boise State University, then this last weekend we were at a visit and camp at the University of Montana. Tomorrow a mini camp at Portland State University. This weekend Josh has a 7 on 7 tournament with his team and then a trip to the Northwest Elite Showcase in Bellevue, Washington.
Among all of this we also emailed 150 University Football coaches, filled out 200 prospect questioners, had a Scout Troop meeting every Monday and two camp outs including Camp o ree. Needless to say, it has been a busy month and a half.
All of this to say that the blog suffered in the process.. yes, my wit and charm and dynamic writing took a back seat to my son.
Before I got real busy the blog became a source of much frustration and some of the readers/ contributors to the blog sucked the life out of me with the whole “Gay” issue. I am not going rehash that.. don’t even try.
Tonight at the Troop meeting I talked with the boys about one of life’s lessons that I have learned watching my kids grow. Our Daughter is a great kid. She played in the band in high school and is a charm to be around. Our oldest son is now in the Army. He is an Eagle Scout and wrestled in high school. And our youngest is a good student and 2 sport athlete as well as Scout. I tell you all of this to illustrate the point of the competitive edge.
That attitude that will get them farther in life than the person that does not have drive, the person that has not been tested physically,mentally, and knows how to challenge themselves, met the challenge and never give up.
During the Boise State camp I listened as a Coach told the players that there are winners and losers in life. We do not get participation ribbons for showing up. Rewards come from challenge, hard work, and pushing ones self to being better than the person next to them.
It is the difference between playing at the next level or not. It is the difference between becoming and Eagle Scout or not. It is the difference between leaders and followers. It is the competitive edge that drives us to be better. I have said it before and I will continue to say it as long as I am a Scoutmaster or leader… You promise to do your best.. not your good. That becomes the difference… that is the competitive edge.
Ok.. off the soap box, but it is a life lesson worth teaching to our Scouts. We want them to be better than their classmates. We want them to be better than the average. We want them to play hard and compete and work hard in the classroom.
We can all agree we want the best for our sons and we want them to be great members of our communities. Sports and Scouting work together, hand in hand in shaping them to be the very best they can be.
Ok.. for enough for now.. I am back in the swing.. at least for now. Thanks for hanging in there with me and the blog.
Have a Great Scouting Day!