Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Inflated Pants, was First Class req. 9b, c, d
Inflated Pants, was First Class req. 9b, c, d
Fri, 25 Jun 1999 00:48:57 -0400
The skill of inflating one's trousers or shirt may seem a bit out of date,
but then again many of our Scoutcraft skills probably seem a bit medieval in
the midst of the information revolution. Whether or not the skill has
reached past its prime can be debated, but so long as it helps Scouts
develop self-esteem and as sense of accomplishment it is helping foster
positive growth, which is not a bad thing. :-))
War Story - we learned the skill of inflating our pants at the pool at Camp
Cary in the early 60s. It was pretty tough to get the hang of it for some
of us with less coordination than enthusiasm, but the waterfront director
was tough and kept us at it until we could do it. That was back in the days
of silent swims that also left a young fellow feeling like he could do some
pretty neat things that maybe the other kids couldn't do on a good day.
A couple of years later the Troop was embarked on a fall canoe trip across a
fairly large resevoir with just enough current towards the sluice gates to
keep things moving. Well as luck would have it one of the boys got a bit
rowdy and pretty soon a couple of canoes and their crews were splashing hard
at each other. Yep, they had PFDs on and dang, they were getting in the way
of really doing some good splashing. So a few were unclipped so the wearers
could get a better swing. Predictably these vigorous water warriors were
the ones whose canoe tipped over. When they hit the water they and their
PFDs went opposite directions. Both fellows surfaced, and realized it was
pretty deep. The canoe and PFDs were drifting away from them. So what did
they do? They shucked their trousers, inflated them, and waited for help.
They might have done just as well to have tried to swim after the canoe, but
the water was cold and it was a bit of fright. What they learned helped them
take charge of the situation and not panic.
They weren't in the water for long before being helped out and then
involved in recapturing their canoe and PFDs.
They did a few stupid things to begin with and probably weren't in immediate
danger, but it always put in my mind that it was a good thing to have
learned the skill at least for these two.
Mike Bowman, Vice President
U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.