We just returned from a fantastic weekend at Camp Cooper up in the Coast Range.
Friday night Camp Cooper greeted us with a light rain, but not enough to dampen the spirits of the Troop 664. Saturday morning the rain turned to down pours, and still the Scouts of 664 drove on. Sunday morning we awoke to a fine dusting of fresh snow, a thing of beauty.
It was a fantastic weekend for those that made good choices. those that took chances had a little different experience, while those that stuck to fundamental Scout skills had a pleasant weekend.
There is a huge difference between making sound choices and taking chances.
This weekend was a great example of that principle.
Scouts knew that it was raining, when it rains you get wet…. UNLESS… you make a choice not to. You can choose to put your rain gear on… you can choose to put your boots inside your tent… you can choose to keep your gear under a cover… you can choose to zip your tent door and set it up with the door away from the wind.
You can take a chance that the rain drops will miss you. You can take a chance that your boots will stay dry as you hear the pitter patter of the rain on your tent. You can take a chance that your gear will stay dry sitting outside, and you can take the chance that the wind will not blow any water into your tent getting your sleeping bag wet.
Scout skills. As a scout develops and advances to First class he should be developing sound skills. First Aid, Cooking, Knot tying, and Camp craft. He should begin to become a good (seasoned) camper. The implication here is that he has developed skills that he can put to use in the outdoors, another way of saying he has learned enough to make sound choices.
Seasoned camper know that the experience of camping is better when done right. Just because you are in the heart of the wilderness, you do not have to suffer and be miserable.
Skills like developing a priority of work in camp. Getting the tents set up first, then the cooking area, and constantly improving your campsite. Developing in camp routines, like keeping all your gear in the backpack until you need an item. Packing your backpack so as to have easy access to the stuff you need. Putting your sleeping back in its stuff sack when not in use, creating a campsite that meets the needs of the task and the comfort of the patrol.
By the time a Scout is First class he should know these things and demonstrate them on a consistant basis. This is Scouting. All of this teaches the Scout to make sound decisions and choices that not only effect him, but others. It teaches and reinforces responsibility. It develops an attitude of caring for himself and his gear and working and living in a small group.
It is a good idea to develop these skills early before bad habits settle in. Breaking a bad habit may never happen in the life span of a Scouts stay in Scouting.
Of note: It is important that the Adults in the group develop and demonstrate the same skill sets. It is not ok for the Adult leaders to teach one thing and do another.
Making the Choice to be a Good camper is a heck of a lot better than leaving your camping experience to chance. The right Scout Skills, practiced with consistency will help you in that endeavor.