Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Safety Briefing

As you know, I was released from my Scouting calling a few months ago. Even so, I have kept a handful of Scouting RSS feeds active. This Nat'l Parks Council Safety Briefing turned up in one of them. There's a Church-produced video embedded in the link that discusses one troop's experience with adverse weather (to put it mildly). I passed it along to the SP in the thought he might like to share it and the new Church Safety web page (linked through the above link) with the stake's YM (and YW) leaders.

I took a couple of things from this clip: (1) careful, thorough planning and preparation are essential, (the Troop in the video prepared for 8 months for their "hike") and (2) a willingness to listen to the Spirit, especially when circumstances change, is equally essential. This places a great deal on a Leader's shoulders, and it necessitates abandoning some "incorrect traditions" that seem to be prevalent (like the "just show up" or the "it's just my church calling" mentality). It underscores the idea that the most successful activities are not the carefully choreographed lessons that go off without a hitch, where boys and girls learn the lessons that we adults want Youth to Learn, but are those where real experience is gained; a testimony is one's experience.

The corollary here is that there's an equal share of responsibility on the youth, to prepare themselves physically and mentally for the challenges of their chosen adventures. For instance, to mitigate the risks associated with a rafting trip down the Green River and Desolation Canyon, watercraft handling and basic boating safety should be regularly studied, discussed, and practiced, say with canoes on a local pond or the (very calm) Jordan River. (In my opinion, such deliberate and appropriate preparation for a given activity should take precedence, even over Combined Activities, or DTG night - because a good Scoutmaster can make any activity night DTG night.)

There was a third takeaway I got from the above video: This Scout Troop obtained firsthand experience with adversity, and with relying on their Maker to help them out of it. You can't get that inside any Church building, no matter how great the basketball court may be - unless it's literally on fire. I believe that's the real value of Scouting: it's a real, practical application of the ideas and theories they get in Sunday classrooms; it's a laboratory in the truest sense. Rather than trying to eliminate risks, we mitigate them through preparation. We ought to prepare our soon-to-be missionaries to grab the bull by the horns, or the boots by the laces; to give them the skills and confidence to overcome risks and adversity, but at the same time, the caution to do so safely. Which sounds a lot like real life.

(Thanks to LDS Scouter for sharing this link)

Prepared. | For Life.™

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