[February 24, 2019] A good news story. As most of you know, I volunteer to assist a Boy Scout Troop where I live. While winter camping out a week ago, I witnessed several older scouts help a new scout who was doing poorly at coping with the cold weather.1
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes…”2 As any person who works with children knows that teaching basic values is the most effective way to ensure these young people become responsible and productive adults.
“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.” – Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur
When one of our young scouts was having a hard time playing a sandbox baseball game, the senior patrol leader (15 years old) briefly stopped the game. That leader gave a hands-on demonstration on how to hit the ball better and how to take advantage of the slow pitch. The help didn’t stop there. Time was taken to let the young scout know that he was part of the team and would always be welcome to play with the older boys.
And there’s more. The younger scout was “too cold” the first night out. Another patrol leader went to the troop’s camping trailer to get one of our spare cold-weather sleeping bags. This U.S. Army down sleeping bag is great in keeping you warm. The next day, I asked the young scout if he was cold overnight and he said that he was “toasty.”
There’s more to this than the obvious surface that I saw. This young scout told me later, at a Scoutmaster conference, that he had the “best time of my life.” Why did I ask could anybody say such a thing when the weather was so cold and so inexperienced? The answer is rather simple; other scouts showed an interest in this young boy who was doing poorly. Except maybe for his parents, no one had shown him they cared.
Leaders help those who are doing poorly. That is one of the life’s lessons boys should be taught as a matter of course, not by accident.
- Cold weather brings a host of challenges for campers. Young boy scouts, 11 to 13 years old, are especially susceptible to the effects of cold weather. Lacking large body mass, fewer outdoor experiences, and underestimating what cold can do their bodies, young scouts make predictable mistakes anyone could make.