As scoutmaster, I get to witness the development of young men outside the daily routine. Most of the greatest growth I've seen is during times of trial. This past weekend, we had a 'Wilderness Survival' campout with scouts building shelters and sleeping out rather than in tents. Well, with zero rain and beautiful, cool breezes blowing, there's not much challenge in 'surviving' a night. It was fun building and lashing structures, and teamwork was evident, but no urgency to perform was required.
People are like teabags - you find out how strong they are when they're in hot water. Most of the time, those teabags are a lot stronger than they ever thought they would be and without the hot water, they would never learn how much they could accomplish.
These are two pictures from our backpacking treks. The top is a young scout three years ago(now an ASPL and Junior in high school) struggling across a rain-swollen river. This was 3/4ths of the way through a 15-mile hike in a miserable day of rain. The bottom is another scout doing his first water crossing this summer.
These two scouts thought they needed help crossing, so I made sure I was there with them, lending support as needed. I'm downstream and a step behind so I could grab them, but not be in their way. I'm not leading them or making the way any easier for them than it was for everyone else. And, when we were across, they understood I hadn't really helped them at all - they made it on their own.
Sometimes a helping hand is one that is just ready and willing, not doing anything. The security of knowing someone is with you can be all that is needed for a scout to push himself and reach goals he just wasn't confident enough to reach alone. "Confident" isn't in the Scout Law, but it certainly is a goal I have for each scout.
PS: I'm wearing the same pair of BSA zip-off pants in both pictures - 4 years of hard scouting and they still work.
Posted: 6:46 09-03-2010 519 Previous Post Next Post
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