Peter Farnham (pfarnham@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Sun, 25 Aug 1996 22:11:12 -0400
Well, I've been away for the last ten days or so in Maine fo rmy usual
late August get-away to Down East. A lot of fun, great week at Swan
Lake, near Belfast, ME, but it's good to be back on-line again, too.
LFunny how in reviewing the digests for the last week I see names of
dozens of people I've never met face-to-face, but I think of as comrades
and buddies just from having gotten to know them a little around the
virtual campfire. Sorry for waxing sentimental. On to a few comments.
These cover a bunch of topics mentioned over the last week; I know this
is bad form, but rather than send out a bunch of messages, I'll get it
all out of the way at once. I'll separate the topics with headings,
though, so you don't have to read the whole thing (or heck, hit the
"delete" button now!).
YOSEMITE BEAR INCIDENT
Yes, this made the Bangor Daily News as well--a small item in the
national news roundup. A really sad story. I'm glad to see some
additional detail, though--the brief story I saw made it sound like a
bunch of bloodthirsty scouts on a rampage against a bear cub. It sounds
to me like a freak accident, frankly, lif the scouters are to be
believed. I must say, those are some aggressive black bears out there at
Yosemite. I understand from Appalachian Trail thru-hikers that the black
bears in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and far southwestern Virginia
are just as aggressive--to the point that chain link fences have been
installed at all the trail shelters, so at night the hikers pull them
across the front of the shelters (they go as high as the roof) and bolt
them shut. I'm told that the bears still paw around the locks, trying to
get inside the shelters to raid those tasty packpacks! It's all learning
and conditioning, of course. It also sounds to me like the the more
aggfressive bears in Yosemite need to be either hauled off to the far far
far back country, or else shot. The killing of such magnificent
creatures, of course, should only be a last resort. Anyway, I'm
linclined to believe the scouters that the whole thing was a freak
accident. I've been known to be wrong, though.
MORE SCOUTS IN THE NEWS
On a somewhat cheerier note, another incident was reported in the Bangor
Daily News early last week about a troop of scouts on a hike in the Maine
woods. One of the boys slipped on a rock while crossing a stream, and
"split open his knee." The scout leader sent a 15-year-old back for
help, which arrived in the form of a half dozen state wildlife officials,
who got the young man out okay.
The SM should have sent at least two boys to get help, keeping in mind
the rule of four when in the wilderness. Nevertheless, alls well that
ends well, and I'm pleased to report scouts in the news under somewhat
more laudable circumstances.
kTO TEST OR RETEST?
I find myself agreeing with Hugh on this one. The guidelines for
conducting a BOR appeqar to be in conflict. You aren't supposed to
retest the scout, but OTOH, you are supposed to as ertain that the
material has been learned (or wordds to that efect). I use the BOR to
find out how the scout is doing in the troop, what we can do to make
things more enjoyable for him, what he would change, etc. The SM can
test, however, it seems to me, during his conference. I'm not suggesting
something like "Johnny, tie me a bowline." Maybe ask him something like,
"Johnny, what was the hardest knot you had to learn?" And go fro;m
there. You should be able to readily ascertain whether or not he knows a
bowline from a sheepshank, and how to tie one as well.
In short, I think the BOR needs to work with the SM on this problem, and
make sure that the SM and the other people in the troop authorized to
sign off on requirements (Troop Guide, PLs, SPL, ASMs, etc.) don't sign
off on the requirements too cheaply.
Heck, that's it for now. Other things will undoubtedly occur to me
within seconds of signing off, but...they'll keep until tomorrow, I guess.
SM, Troop 113
GW District, NCAC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City