Scoutmaster Musings - Purell - Friend or Foe?

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Scoutmaster Musings

Purell - Friend or Foe?
I imagine most of you have some Purell or similar product in patrol boxes or troop trailer. The gel magically kills 99.99% of germs and makes your hands nice and clean - or so the scouts seem to believe. :-)

I have an ongoing battle to train scouts to wash before preparing meals. In our troop, everything is done by patrol so I'm not directly involved with their meal preparations. But, I do see most of the patrols open their cooler and patrol box and start making a meal right after playing a wide game or doing some other activity. Seldom will a scout remember to wash his hands first.

Quite often, I'll see a scout squirt some Purell on his hands, rub them together and then declare he's ready to eat. The fingernails are still black and the dust has now become more defined as lines and splotches, but he's convinced his hands are clean.

We've had some scouts mysteriously develop bad cases of 'flu' right after a campout. And, it's usually just a 12 hour flu - their bodies dump everything out both ends and then they're ok. It sounds much more like food poisoning to me and I believe it is caused by lack of proper sanitation.

"A Scout is Clean" is an area where I will be asking our next SPL to concentrate on improving the troop. He'll know that we can have contests, games, prizes, whatever he wants to try to change the habits of the troop. I'm looking forward to see what his team comes up with and if it makes a difference carrying into next summer.

I'm even contemplating having him declare Purell as the official fire-starter rather than hand sanitizer. No, just kidding! In case you were not aware, Purell and similar products are about 2/3 alcohol and do a great job as a fire starter. During the day, the flame is very hard to see so accidental burns are a real problem. At night, I must admit it's pretty cool to squirt a line of it on a rock, light it, and watch the pretty blue flame dance away.

Scout On

Posted: 20:42 08-30-2007 181
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