[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [at-l] Scouting and Growing Spirit in a Young Boy--Need a White Blaze

As I look back to my experiences as a Boy Scout, two observations come to

First, I did learn many skills that help me in the woods. First aid was
not the least. Of course over the years, many techniques have changed but
the confidence remains. In fact, it is sort of reinforced each time I
learn something that updates my knowledge. Mouth to mouth resuscitation
was a new thing when I learned it. But it helped me save a kid life a
year or two later. Many years later, I splinted the arm of a little
neighbor girl who feel from the swing set and broke her arm and
dislocated her shoulder. The paramedics actually complimented me on the
job. The military taught me a lot more than I learned as a Scout but I
still recall that my very first merit badge was for first aid.

The value of confidence that comes from good experience just can't be
over rate, I feel. I recall at aircrew survival school, the men with
"sleep in the woods" experience were not at all intimidated when they
dumped us in the wild to practice our skills. Most of us had been Scouts,
as it turned out. Those who were not and had not grown up hunting and
camping were, shall we say, filled with undue concern over lions and
tigers and bears. 

I didn't see it at the time but the skills I learned helped to shape
attitudes as I grew up. Personal responsibility and respect would be
among those attitudes. I think I learned good values and attitudes
because of the way I leaned the skills. We were in to tutorage of adult
men who were responsible and respectful. This brings me to my other

The life long impact of what I learned as a young fellow did not come
from Scouting as much as it came from the guidance of the men who were
our leaders. We respected those men because we knew them. They were our
fathers and grandfathers and the fathers of our brother Scouts. It was
easy to respect them because they respected us. We also respected them
because there was a price to be paid for failing to do so. Wow, what a
novel concept; Scouting was not a right, it was a privilege. Respect was
not an option, it was a requirement.......with consequences attached
which were well defined.

Before I allow my comments to stray into a dissertation on American
society, let me get to the point. Parental involvement is what made
Scouting valuable then and it makes Scouting valuable now. If there is a
Scouting program that has little parental involvement, particularly from
the fathers, the program unravels in a hurry. I'm aware of several
programs that are similar to Scouting in that they teach many of the same
wood craft skills, the same values and attitudes. They are usually
sponsored by churches and rely on parental leadership. I think these
other programs are as successful as Scouting purely because they have
that parental involvement.

I will end by saying it is not my intention to pass judgement on parents
who have to work. I know that in so many cases it is not an option. I'll
be kind enough to avoid the topic of fathers who will not spend
significant and meaningful time with their children. I will stand and
cheer each and every dad or mom,  grandparent or aunt or uncle or senior
neighbor who assists youths to group up by becoming involved in their
live. It is that involvement, that guidance, that caring which is a
beacon to steer kids in the right direction. 

Just so this will be trail related, Kinnickinic, I hope you do move to VA
to be with you grandson, with the whole family actually. The AT is a
great place to teach wood craft and many other skills. It's a great place
to be Grandpa. I think I'll take Tyler to get fitted for some hiking
boots, what size does a 4 month old wear?

Get the Internet just the way you want it.
Free software, free e-mail, and free Internet access for a month!
Try Juno Web: http://dl.www.juno.com/dynoget/tagj.
* From the Appalachian Trail Mailing List |  http://www.backcountry.net  *