Thursday, August 9, 2012

Go Camping

No, really, go camping.  Pack your pack, hit the trail, find a nice spot on your chosen path, and enjoy nature.  Learn about the stars, or local history and lore.  Whatever you do, get out of the jump-in-the-car, race-to-the-campground, sleep-in-a-tent and race-home-again-by-ten-the-next-morning rut. The only thing you really did there was sleep in a tent.

So What?

Scout camping should accomplish something. Climb a mountain, clean up an area, perform trail maintenance, do some wetlands restoration.  Learn something new.  Explore.  The typical 4-to-10 outing only accomplishes eating, farting and sleeping. So take 36+ hours and actually do something.  The office will still be there when you get back on Monday.

My two 11YO Scouts are going backpacking tomorrow (I'm going too, of course).  It's a short trail, only 3.6 miles of a gradual, 1,000' ascent to a meadow, but it's something they haven't done.  It's a challenge to finish.  It's a place to explore.  It's an exercise in planning and execution.  It's a chance to learn how to do it better next time.  It's a reason for there to be a next time.  Checking a requirement item off of a checklist is not a reason for any teenager to do anything.

Reasons I went camping as a Scout (from ages 10-18):
  • It was fun
  • To see new, exotic (to me) places
  • To climb tall peaks
  • To rappel down them again
  • To explore a cave
  • To do things I couldn't do at home
  • To do something new
  • To sit around a campfire
  • To be with my friends
  • To ride a mountain bike
  • To face down a challenge
  • To get away from parents, brothers and sisters
  • To eat good food
  • To go fishing
  • Because I could
  • To pass off requirements

Things that happened along the way:
  • I learned new skills that I still use today
  • I overcame those challenges
  • I built life-long friendships
  • I became a better person
  • I built a collection of treasured memories
  • Advancement
  • My testimony grew

"Many people are in a rut,
and a rut is nothing but a grave -
with both ends kicked out."

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