don newcomb (newcomb@US1.MSRCNAVO.NAVY.MIL)
Tue, 28 Mar 1995 15:57:51 GMT
One or two people have mentioned either privately or to the list that they
felt that my response to the question about whether it was better to
power the troop's refrigerator with a generator or solar power was too
strong for this group. Perhaps it was. I was angry! The way I see it,
the idea that a troop of Scouts needs to take a refrigerator on a camp
out is nothing less than a total repudiation of everything Scouting
stands for. Think of how you might respond if I asked where I might
find toilet paper with American flags printed on it because we need it
for a campout. Perhaps I might have some good reason for needing such
an item but the mind reels at the prospects.
Let's all ask ourselves, "Why do we take them camping? What is camping?
What purpose is served? What lessons learned?" or better, "Why did
Baden Powell hit on camping as an essential tool in his program?"
I often tell our Scouts, "Camping teaches you what you need to remember,
backpacking teaches you what you need to forget." Camping teaches a boy
how to organize his life for survival. Like it or not, society does
not always provide the comforts we in America take for granted. Stuff
happens. Tornados, blizzards, wars, strikes (of refrigerator repairmen).
When this happens, people who have not learned and practiced survival
become helpless, hopeless children who become incapable of anything
except waiting for someone who can fix their problem for them. The
person who knows his survival skills not only takes care of himself and
his family but also is free and confident in his ability to come to the
aid of others. This is why we take them camping.
The idea of camping is to teach the boy that he does not need a
refrigerator to survive. When the adults insist on taking a refrigerator
camping they have thwarted the entire object of camping. They might
as well check the kids into the Hilton where the food is better.
All Scout leaders should give up the idea that their objective is
to make campouts as much like home as possible. The objective is to
make camping as much UN-like home as possible (and still safe). In
this way the Scouts will learn the essential lessons of how to survive
in unusual circumstances.
Now, I'm not suggesting Army Ranger training for Boy Scouts. But you
would be surprised how many boys go through their entire Scouting
experience and never learn that you can drink water that did not
come out of a tap! What happens to these boys the day the water stops?
What have their Scout Masters taught them, except perhaps a total
dependency on an all too fragile infrastructure?
Examine the program's objectives. If this project or that piece of
equipment does not promote those objectives then leave it at home!
Donald R. Newcomb * firstname.lastname@example.org
Naval Oceanographic Office * email@example.com
Stennis Space Center, MS 39522 * Voice: (601) 688-5998
FAX: (601) 688-5485 * DSN: 485-5998
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City