Scoutmaster Musings - Pyro Scouts

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Scoutmaster Musings

Pyro Scouts
I know you have them in your troop, too. A few guys that just love to set up, light, and then play with the fire on every campout. For these guys, a fire can never be too big, too hot, too smokey, or too much fun.

Last weekend, we had one scout that squatted by the fire with a long stick for at least two hours while dinner was being prepared, eaten, and cleaned up by his patrol. He did take a break to grab some food, but that was it. Of course the stick didn't stay in the fire the whole time. He spent his time prodding, poking, and stirring the fire - in his own little world, enjoying every minute.

I've learned that these scouts are often not the outgoing natural leader types. More likely, they are quiet and curious. And, they tend to have more patience than others. So, to challenge them with an obvious reward, I bet them that they can't start a fire using some primitive means - flint & steel, fire piston, magnifying glass, bow drill, or whatever. The reward is that they get a great fire to play in and I might sweeten the deal with getting to be first for making their dessert burrito or other snack.

Next summer, the PLC has planned a 'Wilderness Survival' campout and I'm hoping they will include primitive firestarting as a skill - no matches or lighters, and no fire means no hot food. Our troop has a selection of firestarting methods for the scouts to practice. The Sparks Fly flint & Steel sets are really great kits for learning to make fire (they're $17/each for a dozen). Our scouts have had good success in making their own charcloth and then lighting it with sparks they make. Only a few skinned knuckles along the way.

If you've got pyro scouts (and I know you do) rather than constantly pulling them away from the fire, why not have them strengthen their skills by trying different firestarting methods?

Scout On
Posted: 13:56 06-13-2008 340
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