Last weekend I sat down with a rather large group of brand new Scouts. Most of them came from the ranks of Cub Scouts, but some had not and so getting into the habit of saying oaths and pledges for the most part is something to get used to. We pledge to do our best, we say the Scout Oath and Law, and we learn and pledge to be good stewards with the principles of leave no trace and the Outdoor code.
Now, the fellows that had earned their Arrow of light did a real nice job with the Oath and Law, new others picked it up alright, but they all struggled with the Outdoor code.
Some told me that they never heard of it, while others said that they just did not spend time learning it. That’s ok I told them, in Boy Scouts not only will you learn it, but you will live it.
It’s a simple pledge, that I fear to many Scouts and Scouters take either lightly or not at all. I have heard Scoutmasters that say, we have leave no trace, why do we need the Outdoor code.
Well for starters, its simple and easy to learn. IF it is simple and easy to learn, it’s more than likely something the Scouts will use.
I teach the Scouts the 4 C’s. Careful with fire, Clean in my outdoor manners, Considerate of others, and Conservation minded.
OK.. Careful with fire.. we all get that. Clean.. yeah, we know to pick up after ourselves and leave it better than we find it, Considerate of others… that can be a challenge sometimes, but we know when quiet time is, and we know how to camp in smaller groups etc. But Conservation minded? This is a concept that many of the young men did not seem to grab ahold of. They know about the environment, after all, that’s all they hear about in the Schools and on TV. How we are running out of water, there are no more trees, and that we are all going to fry because of global warming.. errr.. climate change.
Well that is a real hard sell here in Oregon.. lots of trees, plenty of water, and it seems that the temps are never going to rise. Anyway… we all know about being Environmentally aware, so what is with this conservation minded thing?
I consider myself a conservationist. I believe that the outdoors is there for us to enjoy… but we need to take care of it. I believe in being a good steward of the land and our resources. Like the loggers here in Oregon and around the US.. for every tree they cut down they plant 11 more. This is good stewardship. Instead of blazing trails, we stay on established trails and we do not create new trails by cutting through switch backs. We stay out of sensitive growth areas, we do not harm the land with fires when we don’t need them, we pack it in and pack it out. We take fewer cars on outings. Yeah, we fill every seatbelt before we add a car to the list, does this mean that some adult do not get to go.. sometimes, but it is all apart of how we can do our share to be conservation minded.
And then there is the service. We repair trails, we clean up our nature area, we learn about the land we camp in and how we impact it. Conserving what we have and not wasting our land, water, and other natural resources is being conservation minded.
It is when I sit with the new Scouts that I have an opportunity to share the BSA’s view point on this and teach them the outdoor code. It is simple and easy to use. I learn alot about them, and they learn alot about why we pledge the things we pledge.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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