[July 15, 2019] As a young boy, I had a lot of fun in the Boy Scouts of America. Along the way, I learned about the meaning of a person’s character, leadership skills, the importance of physical fitness, and that while most people are different, they still have similar needs and wants. I suspect these lessons are already being learned as we survived our first day in Scout Camp yesterday.
My intent this week is to write about Scout Camp; not so much about our activities but leadership lessons the boys obtained. Anyone who has camped with young boys knows that there will be stories told around the campfire each night that will be entertaining and meaningful. I hope to pass along a few. I will not write each day about Scout Camp, but we will be here nonetheless.
The motto of the Boy Scouts is Be Prepared. The founder of the scouts, Sir Robert Baden-Powell (in the notes below, I included Powell’s description of the scout’s motto). One question that comes to the mind of readers of this blog will certainly be whether our boy scouts were “prepared” upon arrival at camp. The most asked question will be, “Did they bring everything they needed?” The answer is yes; with only a few minor items forgotten.
What is important here is whether they were ready in mind and in body. This distinction is no trivial matter. Most folks think of being prepared as bringing the right stuff with them (tools, clothing, bug spray, etc.). It more properly means whether the scout is ready to face the challenges of his new environment.
“The uniform makes for brotherhood since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country.” – Robert Baden-Powell
Success at Scout Camp begins with every scout starting on the same playing field. A requirement for one is a requirement for all; there are no exceptions. Merit Badges are awarded for completing a very specific list of prerequisites. No one is awarded a badge for 90% completion; it must be total; 100%. Likewise, in competition with other scout troops, each troop must win a race, answer questions correctly, or show their skills (like starting a fire).
Were all our scouts ready in mind and body? I think all our adult leaders would say no, they were not. That is okay. Some had trouble passing the swim test; necessary for all water sports. One got a little too much sun and was burned but not too badly. Another physically struggled to complete the required number of laps in the pool; he was out of shape physically but finished.
At the end of the day yesterday, we were all a bit tired. That didn’t stop the boys from starting a campfire (the temperature was still in the high 80s and very humid) and staying up late talking with their friends. That’s part of the excitement of summer camp for boys. Tonight, I suspect the boys will be in bed by 10 am since we woke them at 6 am this morning for showers and personal hygiene.
Today is another day and our first day from sunup to sundown. I plan on writing about how these full days go and whether any of us were truly prepared in mind and in body. Look for this update on Wednesday. Several weeks ago I noted that there are questions that I will answer (see link here). More on that later.
Note: The scouts’ motto is founded on my initials; it is:
BE PREPARED, which means, you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your DUTY;
Be Prepared in Mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.
Be Prepared in Body by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.