Dewitte A. Baisch (dbaisch@DATASYS.NET)
Fri, 6 Jun 1997 03:16:11 -0400
Ah, the ever popular Scoutmastermobile! Ask a Scout what kind of
vehicle his Scoutmaster drives and odds are he can describe it, maybe
not make and year (not important), and include it as a major prop in a
Scout-related story. The Scoutmastermobile, in those troops where
"outing" truly is three-fourths of "Scouting," is the workhorse of the
troop; carrying more gear, seeing more use, racking up more miles, doing
more of the dirty work, than most other vehicles along on an outing.
The fact that you are a Scoutmaster now says that being "imposed" upon
is not a consideration to worry about. You want something reliable to
get you+Scouts+gear from Point A to Point B, and back, with the
occasional Point C tossed in as well. If your vehicle seems to get more
work than other vehicles in the troop, that's okay.
What should the vehicle be? That is really a matter of expected need
and personal preference. Unless you have a CDL (commercial driver's
license) and a huge amount of liability insurance (check the back of a
Local Tour Permit for the amounts required), I'd advise staying away
from school buses. Not only are they more difficult to find parts for
when they break down, their lack of seatbelts scares me. Trucks,
especially extended cab, are quite popular, come in all price ranges,
and have good (you can stack gear as high as the local overpasses allow)
as well as bad points (a boy has a natural tendency to want to ride on
the tailgate whenever an opportunity presents itself). Plus, they are
great for hauling trailers (the MOST abused vehicle in the fleet).
Cars are okay, have their place, but seem to say, "I'm only going to
take so much stuff and no more." A happy compromise is a van. My '83
Dodge van has proven time and again that it is almost as indestructible
as it is indispensible. It carries people, gear, AND hauls the troop
trailer. It is a refuge on the coldest and rainiest of nights when the
campfire is dead. It provides a respectable amount of shade on the
hottest of days. We haul firewood in it, bags of aluminum cans to be
recycled, groceries picked up during Scouting For Food, as well as an
impressive number of backpacks. (Of course, the carpeting in my van is
long-gone, which is handy when there is a half-ton of wet gear to carry
No, my van doesn't have four-wheel drive, but then, neither does an old
school bus. When its time to go THAT far off-road, get out of the
vehicle and hike! Everyone has their favorite vehicle, and you will get
one that you'll either love or wind up hating. But once your vehicle
has become the veteran of a few camping trips, it will take on a
character of its own.
Good luck, happy hunting, and have fun.
Yours in Scouting,
Dewitte A. Baisch (Sandy)
Scoutmaster, Troop 411, Circle 7 District, Alapaha Area Council, Georgia
"..if it ain't raining, we ain't camping!"
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City