That’s where you will find adventure and success. Life is hard enough for an 11 year old with out standing on the edge of a cliff. But that is where the Scouts of Troop 664 find themselves every year when we climb at Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon.
Here is what happens. A young man gets ready, harness and helmet on.. he is looking for adventure and sees the older guys doing it.. it looks fun, but that is a long way down. He’s been through the training, knows all the knots, the commands, and how he is going to lean out, get into a good “L” shape position, and start his decent. He knows that he has all the skills necessary to go over the edge. But then his brain asks him the question; “ARE YOU NUTS?”
This is when it happens.. It? What “it”? This is where the Scout learns about himself and how far he is willing to go, but then when he reaches that point.. he takes just one one step. He tests his courage, his inner strength, and his will to trust.
On this face of rock he will be tested by himself and come out victorious. Every small step is huge victories. The tears that run down a dirty cheek soon give way to smiles and high fives! He has conquered a small part of his mind and now is more confident. He walks just a bit taller on the way back to the truck even though he is tired and hungry. He has an adventurous story to share. Him and his patrol mates did something that their class mates won’t do. Monday at school he will show pictures and tell of his great adventure.
So here is what I know for sure. The old Scoutmaster handbooks talk about what makes a boy… Paraphrasing… He likes to be with his friends, he likes to feel important, he wants to share work and play hard, he wants to make decisions and but likes to know he is supported by his friends and adults. He wants action and fun! He wants to run, play, fight, and generally be on the move. HE craves adventures and changes in his surroundings. He wants to experience new things, feel the wind in his hair, the sun in his eyes, and is looking for that great escape for the everyday things in his life. He wants to learn and see new things and have new experiences. He looks up to somebody and has a vision of what he wants to be.
I paraphrased that from the 1965 Scoutmaster Handbook. Everything applies today. 100%! Get them outside and provide adventures that will test them, push them, make them think and grow and you will have done what the boy wants. That is Scouting my friends.
This weekend my Troop spent 12 hours climbing, rappelling, and practicing rescue techniques at Smith Rock. We camped on a ranch in Madras and had a ball. I got to see a lot of growth this weekend. And when the parents came to pick up the guys on Sunday, I wish you could have seen the young men, smiles from ear to ear anxious to tell the story to mom and dad.
The moral of the story… boys are boys. From 1910 to 2011 the only thing that really has changed in their Scout uniform, what is inside is just as healthy and wanting as ever before. Seek those adventures and somewhere between a rock and hard place they will find themselves.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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