The world our youth grow up in today gives them plenty of opportunities to fine-tune their minds and reflexes with computer and video games, but very little time to get out into the actual world to participate themselves. Developing outdoor skills contributes to the development of “whole people”, who become self-sufficient members of society. We encourage exercise of the mind and body, as well as an appreciation of the outdoors. There is an enormous difference between watching someone do something on TV, and having the skills and confidence to do it yourself.
We strive to have our Scouts develop true proficiency in outdoor skills. Outdoor skills are a natural part of our scouting program and true proficiency in outdoor skills has many benefits. Outdoor skills serve our Scouts not only while camping, but in all aspects of their lives and helps to build self-esteem, pride, and respect. It also leads to self-confidence. When Scouts have confidence in themselves, they feel more secure, are more self-sufficient, and have more FUN, particularly in the outdoors. They know they have the skills necessary in case of an emergency. It's not coincidental that our Scouting program encourages the development of these abilities.
A proficient Scout can make everyone in the group, including other Scouts, friends, and family, feel more comfortable in the outdoors. However, proficiency takes practice. We evaluate our Scouts’ efforts based upon their performance during our numerous outings. When their performance does not meet our standards, we work with them to help them improve. As our older Scouts become more proficient, they begin to teach their skills to younger Scouts and both benefit as a result. Proficiency is what allows our Scouts to go backpacking in the wilderness. Many programs take youth into the woods and go camping. Our Scouts have acquired detailed knowledge and skills about backpacking far from civilization.
We have high standards of safety, but things can and do happen in life. The mountain men and pioneers travelled great distances across dangerous lands using their own wits and skills. While our Scouts may never experience the hardships of those individuals, they are safer when they have the confidence that they too can rely on their skills and training to help them through the tough times.
In order to develop the necessary leadership, problem solving, and communication skills that are essential when travelling with a group far from civilization, we occasionally challenge our Scouts at Troop meetings with activities purposely intended to appear straight forward, although they are not. This requires them to develop their abilities to work as a team, as well as anticipate and react by combining previously acquired information and skills with new unrelated ideas. These abilities, critical in the backcountry, will also give them the capacity to achieve throughout their lives more than others.
We are fully nondiscriminatory in our development of a Scout's outdoor skills. Some Scouts may be unable to carry a heavy backpack and others may not like to do so. There is always a way for a Scout to participate, and as in all areas of our Scouting program, we make it work so every Scout can develop confidence and learn valuable skills.
"The ultimate camping trip was the Lewis and Clark expedition." - Dave Barry
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Since March 17, 2013