Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lecture me this

At last night’s Coyote Patrol meeting, I laid out a pile of clothing and asked the boys to sort through it for stuff they’d take on a cold-weather outing. Now, I don’t have any top-line down-filled parkas from "Really Expensive Items" (apologies to Dave Barry), just a whole lot of stuff left over from a deployment to Manas Air Base, in Kyrgyzstan. We’re talking thermal underwear, poly-pro long-johns, thick long-sleeve t-shirts, Gore-Tex parkas and snow pants, combat boots and a field jacket with fleece liner. I added to this things like ski caps and gloves, fingerless gloves, snow/moon boots, a poncho from my mission in Guatemala, my Kmart winter coat, jeans, work-out sweats, tennis shoes, &ct., &ct.

They did a good job of sorting through the dross (tennies out, moon boots in), but did wind up selecting two each of outer layers and insulators, not to mention three or four base layers. I asked them if anyone had seen “A Christmas Story” as I put it all on and demonstrated my best “Randy” impersonation. It was a good visual! We had a good discussion about having enough for the job, vs. having too much (ok, you can always divest a bit) or too little (not ok, you can’t use what you don’t have).

This was one of those “what am I going to do tonight in my role as 11YOS Leader/Troop Guide?” and recalled a similar experience at Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills, where a big pile of gear was laid out, and a few of us selected what would be appropriate for an overnight backpacking trip. We sorted, then explained our choices, to the scrutiny of the rest of the class. Overall, a good experience.

Boys are visual, experiential learners. They do better when they can see, rather than hear about something. I could guided a discussion about all about layering, or even just sat them down and told them the "right" way to do it, but seeing it firsthand left a much better impression, and got their creative juices flowing. And they laughed about it, which gets some good hormones into the brain, and should aid in remembering it. Now when we go out to Farmington Bay for some wildlife viewing, they’ll have a better concept of how to stay warm.

Prepared. | For Life.™

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